How to make the most of iOS 14 widgets and iPhone home screen customization

How to make the most of iOS 14 widgets and iPhone home screen customization

You’ve most likely seen the screenshots going round that present iOS house screens that differ significantly from the inventory choices that Apple gives. Yes, for those who’re an Android consumer you’re most likely laughing at iPhone homeowners for lastly (almost) catching as much as the customization options they’ve had for years, however for those who’re an iOS fan, you most likely simply need to know find out how to take part. It’s truly comparatively simple – supplied you’ve received a while to spare, and also you don’t thoughts a couple of barely hacky workaround (don’t fear, no jailbreaking required).


The large new addition that’s prompting all of the shared screens throughout social media are house display widgets, that are supported underneath iOS 14 for the primary time. These might be both first- or third-party, and are included with apps you obtain from the App Store. There are various builders who pushed to make sure they have been prepared at or close to the launch of iOS, and Sarah has created a rising record of a few of the finest so that you can take a look at for those who’re unsure the place to begin.

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New iOS 14 widgets you possibly can strive at the moment

One of my private favourite widget apps is Widgetsmith, an app that, as its title counsel, was created just about solely for the aim of constructing them. It permits you a spread of customization choices, has various helpful, helpful features together with calendar, climate and clock, and comes with completely different font selections to finest fit your model. I’ve at all times aimed to create a clear, single tone look with iOS as a lot as doable, and Widgetsmith is one of the best I’ve discovered thus far for creating homescreen shows that seem like they’re borderless (supplied your iOS wallpaper is a stable colour that matches a kind of the app helps).

Widgets are nice at offering at-a-glance data that you simply don’t sometimes need to dive into an app to retrieve, proper in your homescreen the place you want them. Some can shortcut to helpful options, just like the search widget constructed into Google’s iOS app, however most are made primarily to cut back the period of time you spend truly contained in the apps themselves.

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Custom app icons

While Widgets are new, one other large part of this customization push just isn’t – that’s the flexibility to create customized homescreen icons for iOS apps. That’s been round ever since Apple launched its Shortcuts app on iOS a few years in the past, however many individuals are discovering the function for the primary time because of the elevated consideration round homescreen customization with the introduction of Widgets in iOS 14.

Creating customized icons on iOS isn’t truly doing that, strictly talking – what you’re in actual fact doing is creating new Shortcuts that set off the launch of an app, and utilizing a customized picture for that bookmark that then lives in your homescreen as an alternative. This just isn’t a perfect resolution, as a result of it implies that A) you received’t have any notification badges in your ‘apps,’ and B) the system first directs you to Apple’s Shortcuts app, which opens for a split-second earlier than bumping you into the precise app you chose for the shortcut.

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Apple clearly didn’t design this Shortcuts function for this use (opening a goal app is supposed to be the beginning of a string of automated actions), however Apple additionally hasn’t actually ever appeared eager about letting customers select their very own customized icons, so it’s one of the best we are able to do for now. Luckily, the method is comparatively easy. Unluckily, there are lots of steps concerned, so it’s fairly time-consuming to customise your total homescreen.

Here’s a video of how to do that as merely as doable:

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

There are some implausible examples on the market of what artistic people have been in a position to do with this, given a bit time and a few elbow grease. With extra widget choices coming on-line on a regular basis, we’ve most likely solely begun to see the boundaries of testing the boundaries of what’s doable underneath Apple’s guidelines, too.


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