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Use iOS 14 Widgets For Productivity

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

iOS 14 widgets have taken the world by storm. Learn how to use them to be more productive.



Widgets have taken the world by storm since they were launched with iOS 14. If you take just a few minutes to configure them, widgets are very helpful for keeping track of projects throughout your day. Keep reading for the basics on how to set up your widgets and some of the best ones to try out for productivity. Many apps are scrambling to release widgets, so keep an eye out for more releasing soon.


What are widgets?

Widgets display a summary of info from your favorite apps. For example, rather than you having to open up the weather app to see the local forecast, a widget will show today’s forecast right on your iPhone home screen. Widgets can be configured to take up the space of 4, 8, or 16 app icons on your screen, depending on how much detail you want to see from that app.


How to add widgets

Adding widgets is as easy as editing your home screen. Hold your finger on any area of your home screen until the app icons start moving, then tap the plus sign in the top left corner. That will open a menu showing recommended widgets, followed by all of your apps that have widgets available. Tap into any widget or app to see a preview of how its small, medium, and large versions will look. Select the one that you like, and it’s immediately added to your screen. Once you’ve added all the widgets you want, move your app icons around for a convenient layout.


Stack widgets to save space

Widgets taking up the whole screen? Use the Stacking feature to create a single widget space where you can swipe through several “stacked” widgets. You can only stack widgets of the same size. Once you have a few of the same size on your home screen, tap and hold the home screen until you’re in edit mode, then drag one widget on top of the other to stack them. You can even edit the order of the stacked widgets, or let your iPhone pick for you.


How to organize your widgets

Think of your widgets as a dashboard for your life. Consider creating one page with key personal apps and widgets and another for work. Or, group widgets by when you’ll use them. If you like to read the news, check weather, and catch up on key emails over breakfast, group those widgets for an easy morning review.


Give a thought to how you’ll use each widget. Now that I have the weather widget, I rarely actually open the weather app, and with a large news widget, I can scan the headlines throughout the day without opening the app. With other apps, the widget serves as a preview so you can take quicker action; for example my podcasts widget lets me check recommended podcasts to listen to, but I still need to click into the app to play one (hopefully, we’ll see Apple improve that soon).


The best widgets for productivity

Now that you know how to use widgets, here are a few we’re excited about to boost productivity:

  • Calendar: Simple but key. Use your calendar widget each morning to get oriented to the day ahead.

  • Todoist: Todoist continues its creative approach to to do lists with the release of a variety of widgets. Our favorites are a task list and a tool to add a new task. Use the large task list to preview the day ahead each morning. During your off hours, use the add task widget to jot down a task easily and get back to relaxing.

  • Things: Things offers another great take on to do list widgets. Its minimalist vibe, showing just your next few tasks, makes it an easy at-a-glance view of what’s coming up.

  • Streaks: A to do list app with a focus on forming new habits, Streaks uses widgets to show you at a glance how you’re doing on maintaining a few key habits day-to-day. If you’re looking for an easy way to prompt yourself to do those easy-to-forget things, this could be the answer.

  • Sticky Widgets: If you’re the type to think of something important right when you’re in the middle of something else, consider Sticky Widgets. A post-it note for your home screen, the ultra-simple widget lets you quickly write down a thought before you lose it.

Make it all look good

Finally, a post about iOS 13 widgets wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Widgetsmith, the viral app that enables you to customize the colors, fonts, and layouts of a wide range of widgets. If the range of widgets from other apps has your home screen feeling jumbled, try this app to create a wide range of widgets with a consistent design.


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