iPhone widgets make life easier and here’s why [2021]

A widget that sounds like a little witch and you can actually say that widgets have magical powers. But they are not mean, they just want to make it easier for you.

iPhone widgets make life easier and here’s why

In our blog about the iOS 14 update, we already told you how useful these app previews are on your home screen. 

iOS widgets for dummies

Android enthusiasts don’t know any better, but the use of widgets on the iPhone was not a standard for a long time. You did have them, but who really used them? Fortunately, that has changed since the iOS 14 update. Because widgets are handy! Thanks to these quick views of your apps, you’ll get to the finish line sooner than Usain Bolt. That is if you have the widgets of your weather, news and calendar app installed. And you decide that yourself. Just like which other apps you want such as a quick preview on your home or widget screen and how big or small the widget can be. If you want to go to the app from a widget, a tap on the widget is enough.

Old style and new style widgets

Good to know is that you have old style and new style widgets. New style widgets often have more functions, are available in multiple sizes and can be placed on your home screen. So you can customize them a bit. And stacking, but more on that later. Old style widgets are a bit simpler and you can only include them in the widget overview and not place them on your home screen.


You will find iOS widgets on your lock screen, among other places. Swipe right and you are guaranteed a match. But since iOS 14, you can also decorate your home screen with widgets, as mentioned. You decide for yourself which apps you want widgets for. Think about what is useful for you to know quickly. Maybe those are the departure times of the public transport or the stock prices. Or an app where it can come down to speed, such as Shazam. WhatsApp also has a widget, with which you can immediately see from whom you received a message. 

Best iOS Widgets that are available right now

By default, Apple has a lot of widgets for you. For these widgets, you do not have to install an app first because it is already on your iPhone. In alphabetic order:

  • Stocks: All stock quotes from your Stocks app right on your lock screen. 
  • Activity (Apple Watch only): See how active you’ve been.
  • Agenda: Do you have any appointments?
  • Batteries: Check the battery status of your Apple devices. 
  • Files: Check the most recent documents from the Files app.
  • Favourites (iPhone only): You’ve never called your favourite contacts so quickly. 
  • Photos: The latest Memories from your photo library.
  • Memories: What should you not forget?
  • Maps: Find a location or address quickly.
  • Mail: View your favourite mail contacts.
  • Music: Listen to your favourite song with 1 swipe. 
  • News: Heads race through various national media.
  • Notes: Your last scribbles.
  • Commands: Run commands and automation. 
  • Podcasts: Quickly join your favourite chatting podcast friends.
  • Screen time: Confrontational. Your screen time on your iPhone or iPad is always in your face.
  • TV: Just watch a program. 
  • Weather: Will it rain? You’ll see soon enough. 

You can easily add these widgets from the widget screen.

How-To Add iPhone widgets

If you have iOS 14, you add a widget like this:

  • Swipe through right from your home or lock screen to access your widgets.
  • Scroll all the way down and tap ‘edit’. Your widgets will wobble.
  • Tap plus sign at the top left and select the widget you want to add. Or search for a widget with the search function at the top.
  • Choose the size you like and drag the widget to the right place.

And this is how you remove widgets again

If a widget doesn’t add much to you, you have removed it just as quickly as you added it.

  • Access your widget overview by swiping right from your home screen or lock screen.
  • Scroll down and tap ‘edit’. 
  • Tap the minus at the top left of the widget or go to ‘customize’ and remove a widget by tapping the red minus to the left of the set widgets. The widget then moves to the ‘More widgets’ list below. 

Customize your home screen with iPhone widgets

As we already wrote, the best thing about the iOS 14 update is that you can add widgets to your home screen. You can also stack widgets. You then place multiple widgets of the same size on top of each other that you can scroll through. This way they do not take up extra space, but you can quickly see the most important information or updates. Adding widgets to your home screen is only possible with new style widgets. 

This is how you set up your home screen according to your taste and preferences:

  • Tap with your finger on the Home screen until the app icons wiggle.
  • Tap the plus sign at the top left and tap the widget you want to add.
  • Choose the size you like and drag the widget to the right place.
  • Make a stack? Drag another widget of the same size to the same place.

We’ve made a list for you with old and new style widgets that we think you can’t live without. Just to be clear: you can only use this if you also have (downloaded) the accompanying app. Here are our favourites:

Old Style Widgets

You will often need these old-style widgets:

Google Maps

Google Maps has no fewer than five different widgets: for public transport times, travel times, routes, traffic and local travel guides. Choose only what you really need, so that you don’t see unnecessary information.


An old-style app but no less useful for that. Because of we app all day long. With the WhatsApp widget, you can immediately see who has recently received a message from you. WhatsApp shows up to four recent conversations in the widget. From the widget, you can immediately click through to the relevant chat. Want even more tips for using WhatsApp? Then read our blog with 15 tricks for your WhatsApp settings.


Want to keep up with the most important or hottest news? Add the NOS widget. You will then see a maximum of three messages, spread over the day.


If you’re just hearing the tail end of a song and really want to know who it’s by, Shazam is your hero. And with the widget, your app will be listening in no time. 


Your default iPhone weather app also has a widget that immediately shows you what the weather is like right now and what the weather gods have planned for the next few hours.

New Style Widgets

New style widgets that assist you daily are:

City ​​mapper

Citymapper is a public transport app that works throughout the Netherlands. With the accompanying widget, you can plan your route in no time. This new style widget comes in three sizes. The largest also shows your current location on a map.

Data man

Dataman keeps track of how many MBs you have left this month in the background. By entering your bundle correctly, the app also indicates whether you are still safe or not. If you are too often in the danger zone, it is wise to adjust your bundle upwards. If you are much more economical than expected, you can adjust it downwards. At Simyo you are in control and you can adjust your bundle every month.


In times of lockdown, we order more online than ever. With Parcel, you can track your packages and see in one swipe when your order will be delivered. You have insight into the deliveries of dozens of courier services (PostNL, DHL, GLS and much more).

Since I

This countdown widget keeps track of all your memorable moments. Both those in the past and those that are still planned. So he counts down to that wedding but also keeps track of how many days you have already stopped smoking. A kind of diary your iPhone.


Your favourite music app deserves a widget. And as far as we’re concerned, it should take up quite a bit of space. Because how nice is it to immediately access your playlists or look up that song that you feel like right now. Correct!


Secretly a bit addicted to TikTok? Then you will be happy with this widget. Trending sounds, videos and hashtags, you’ll be the first to know. And with one tap you immediately make a video with the best sound of the moment.


If you really want to go even further in customizing your widgets, download Widgetsmith in the app store. From this app, you can make your widgets the way you want. If you like purple with yellow, make your widgets purple with yellow. Thick letters, tight letters, graceful letters? You are the blacksmith.


With the Wikipedia widget on your iPhone, you are the smartest boy in the class. From now on you have all the facts at your fingertips. At a glance, you can see what happened on this day-long ago and you know everything about pigeons. If you walk through New York (post-corona again), you can read everything about the buildings you pass with this widget on your phone.

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