How to use widgets on the iPadOS Home screen

The Today View widgets are a great way to quickly glance at important information in iOS. With iPadOS 13, you can have the widgets visible on your Home screen.

Male hand touching a digital tablet

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With iPadOS 13, Apple diverged the code path of iOS and made an iPad-specific version that retains all the features of iOS but with added goodies that only iPad users can experience.

One of those new features is the ability to add widgets onto the Home screen. These widgets were previously--and still are on iOS--tucked away inside the Today View by swiping all the way right on the Home screen, or by pulling down for the Notification Center and swiping right. With this new feature, you can now have the widgets on the first Home screen on your iPad all the time, making it easier to access important information muck quicker.

SEE: Apple iOS 13: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In this tutorial, we'll look at how to enable this feature on your iPad Home screen and how to customize the widget list and select which widgets appear on the Home screen.

How to show the widget view temporarily in iPadOS 13

If you don't want the Today View to always appear on the Home screen, you can choose to hide or show it from the first Home screen pane. Swipe left to right on the Home screen, and it comes into view on the left-hand side. To hide it, swipe left to right, and it will be hidden again (Figure A).

Figure A


Swiping left to right on the first Home screen brings the Today View into focus on iPadOS 13.

Cory Bohon / TechRepublic

How to permanently display widgets on the Home screen in iPadOS 13

If you like the ability to view things on the Home screen, you can keep the Today View on the first Home screen by performing these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Home Screen & Dock.
  3. Select the ON switch for Keep Today View On Home Screen (Figure B).

Figure B


Enabling the Keep Today View On Home screen option makes it permanently visible on the first Home screen.

Cory Bohon / TechRepublic

Note: This option is selectable only if you have the More app icons selection enabled. If you utilize the Bigger Home screen app icons, you cannot enable this option and take advantage of the always-on Today View.

How to customize which widgets display in iPadOS 13

Now that you have the widgets on the Home screen, it's time for the fun part: Configuring what is displayed on the Home screen. To do this, perform the following steps.

  1. Show the Today View using the steps above (if not already displayed).
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the Today View.
  3. Select Edit.
  4. In the screen that appears, select the green + beside the items you wish to add to the Today View (Figure C), or the - beside the items you wish to remove.

Use the drag handles to the right of the items in the Today View to rearrange the items up or down in the list. There's a Pinned Favorites section that appears only in iPadOS 13--dragging items to this list ensures that those items in the Pinned section are available in the Today View. The Favorites section is visible only after swiping up in the Today View to see the remainder of the Favorites.

Figure C


The Pinned Favorites are always visible on the Home screen; Favorites are displayed only after swiping up on the Today View on the Home screen.

Cory Bohon / TechRepublic

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By Cory Bohon

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...