Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Widgets in iOS 14

Sarah Perez, TechCrunch:

Despite the surprise release of iOS 14 that left app developers unprepared, an ambitious few have managed to push their way through — or even pull an all-nighter — in order to make their apps available with iOS 14 support on launch day. For the first time in years, the new version of iOS offers a new way for consumers to organize their home screens. Now, your less frequently used apps can be shuffled away to the App Library on the iPhone’s back screen, while those apps offering information and updates can feature their content through new home screen widgets.

The team at MacStories has been posting about apps with great widgets, and David Smith — known primarily for building more utilitarian apps like Workouts++ and Feed Wrangler — has gone viral on TikTok with his multipurpose arbitrary widget builder.

A home screen of something more than a grid of icons with badges has been an iOS dream basically since the iPhone’s launch. I remember having experimenting with all sorts of home screen add-on stuff on a jailbroken first-generation iPod Touch. But even though this feels like a finally moment, Apple’s implementation of widgets in iOS feels just about perfect. I love the combination of Smart Stacks and multiple instances of an app’s widget. Nate Boateng is using the latter capability to have a second home screen full of Things widgets. I have been trying a bunch of weather apps and am experimenting with a stack of small Carrot weather widgets with current conditions, upcoming conditions, and multiday forecast. The Siri Suggestions widget is also a delight when it works as designed which, to be fair, is more often than I had anticipated. Monday mornings, I get a little prompt to open Microsoft Authenticator around the time that I start my workday — it’s damn near perfect at that.

iPadOS 14 is somewhat worse off because, for some reason, widgets cannot be placed amongst home screen icons.

Regardless, credit must go to Apple for its thoughtful widget implementation, and third-party developers for creating such an exciting mix of options for users to play with.