Image: CNET

Widgets have been an iOS feature in the Today View since iOS 10, when apps could begin showing widgets on both the Today section of Notification Center and when users long-pressed on an app icon on the Home Screen.

SEE: WWDC 2020: The biggest takeaways (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In iOS 14, the widgets and the system to display them have been completely revamped from the ground up. The old style of widgets (and their interact-ability) has been changed as well, leaving a new uniform style guide for widgets that look great on the Home Screen.

Yes, you heard right, widgets in iOS 14 don’t have to be siloed to the Today View, instead they can be placed on the Home Screen alongside your app icons. Continue reading to learn more about how widgets work and how to add them to your Home Screen. 

How to view widgets in the Today View

You can view your widgets in the Today View as you always have by swiping left to right on the home screen and navigating to the very first Home Screen page. You can also access it on the Lock Screen or Notification Center by swiping right (Figure A). 

Figure A 

The Today View is still available to show multiple widgets in a single page. Get to it by swiping to the very first page on the Home Screen or by swiping right on the Lock Screen or Notification Center.

Once here, you’ll notice the redesigned widgets that have a new look and feel. Widgets in iOS 14 can have different shapes and sizes. Apps can also support multiple widgets, allowing users to pick the size of the widget and subsequently how much data it displays.

How to add widgets to the Today View

Adding widgets to the Today View is similar to before:

  1. Open the Today View
  2. Scroll to the bottom and tap Edit
  3. Tap the + button in the top left when it appears in Edit mode
  4. Tap the app you’d like to add a widget for
  5. Swipe left and right to select the size of the widget that you’d like to add, then tap Add Widget (Figure B)

Figure B

The new iOS 14 widgets include many different varieties of styles and sizes on a per-app basis. It’s up to the app developer on whether to support different sizes of widgets.

You can reorder widgets similar to the way that you reorder apps on the Home Screen. When in Edit mode in the Today view, tap and hold on any widget, then drag around on the screen to rearrange the placement. Tap Done in the top right of the screen to save the widgets and ordering.

How to add widgets to the Home Screen

Adding widgets to the Home Screen is done similarly to the way that you’d add a widget to the Today View:

  1. On the Home Screen, Tap and Hold on any empty space (or on an app icon to enter “Jiggle Mode”
  2. Tap the + button in the top left when it appears in Edit mode
  3. Tap the app you’d like to add a widget for
  4. Swipe left and right to select the size of the widget that you’d like to add, then tap Add Widget

When you do this, instead of being added to the Today View, the widget will be added directly to the Home Screen (Figure C) and can be rearranged on the Home Screen in the same way app icons can be reordered. 

Figure C

The widgets on the Home Screen are still arranged in the way app icons are and are guided by the same grid system that app icon placement has always used.

How to create a Widget Stack on the Home Screen

In the same way that folders can be created, widgets of the same size on the Home Screen can also be stacked on top of one another to create a widget stack.

SEE: iPhone 12: The 3 new things business pros need (TechRepublic)

To do this, enter jiggle mode by tapping and holding on an empty space on the Home Screen, or a widget or app icon. Once the icons and widgets begin jiggling, tap and hold on the widget, then drag and drop it on top of another same-sized widget. The two widgets will then be merged into a single widget (Figure D). 

Figure D 

The merged widgets will take up less space than being spread out on the Home Screen as single widgets, and they can be flipped through to access each widget in the stack.

Using this new widget is easy: Swipe vertically up and down on the widget to display the one underneath it and vice versa. You can stack multiple widgets on top of one another like this, making it easier to increase the number of widgets that you can have on the Home Screen at one time.

SEE: Top 10 apps every iOS user should download (TechRepublic)

Tapping and holding on a widget stack, then selecting “Edit Stack” lets you choose the ordering or remove widgets from the stack. There’s also another feature called “Smart Rotate” that will automatically rotate ordering of the widgets based on the time of day, how frequently you access them, and other criteria.

Where are the widgets for iPadOS?

iPadOS 14 includes a notably missing feature: Widgets are not available on the Home Screen. We’re not entirely sure why Apple decided to not include widgets on the Home Screen for iPad users.

You can still add the Today View permanently left-pinned on the first Home Screen in iPadOS; however, the individual widgets cannot be placed in-line with app icons.

To enable this feature:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Select Home Screen & Dock 
  3. Enable the option for “Keep Today View on Home Screen”

Once this is enabled, the Home Screen on iPadOS will always show the Today View pinned to the left of the first Home Screen page.