One of the most exciting new features in iOS 17 is interactive widgets. Widgets have been around for a while, allowing you to display information from apps on your home screen. But now in iOS 17, widgets have become much more powerful and customizable.
Interactive widgets go beyond just displaying information – they allow you to interact with apps without actually opening them. You can do things like play music, start a timer, view upcoming calendar events, and more right from your home screen.
In this guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about using interactive widgets in iOS 17. We’ll cover:
- What are interactive widgets?
- How to add widgets to your home screen
- Customizing widget settings
- Interacting with widgets
- Managing and removing widgets
- Best interactive widgets to try
By the end of this guide, you’ll be a pro at using interactive widgets to boost your productivity and customize your iPhone or iPad home screen experience. Let’s get started!
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What Are Interactive Widgets?
Interactive widgets are the next evolution of widgets in iOS. Regular widgets have been around for a while – they allow you to display information from apps on your home screen, like upcoming calendar events, weather, news headlines, and more.
Interactive widgets take this a step further by allowing you to actually interact with apps directly from the widget. Instead of just displaying information, you can perform actions like starting a timer, playing music, jotting down a note, and much more.
For example, the Calendar widget now allows you to tap on an upcoming event to get more details or even add a new event. The Music widget has playback controls so you can start/stop music without opening the app.
Apple has opened up interactive capabilities to third-party developers as well. So you’ll start seeing more innovative widgets that go beyond just passive information.
The end result is widgets that are much more useful and customizable to your daily workflow. You can access frequently used app actions faster than ever before.
How to Add Widgets in iOS 17
Adding widgets to your home screen is quick and easy in iOS 17. Here are the steps:
- Press and hold on any empty area of your home screen until the icons start to jiggle. This enters “jiggle mode”.
- Tap the “+” icon that appears in the top left corner.
- This will open the widget gallery, which contains all available widgets from your apps. Scroll down and tap on the widget you want to add.
- If the widget is interactive, you may see customization options. For example, choose a playlist for the Music widget. Make your selections.
- Finally, tap “Add Widget” to add it to your home screen.
- You can now move the widget around on your screen like any app icon. Tap “Done” when finished.
That’s it! The widget will now display on your home screen and intelligently update with timely information. Tap on it at any time to interact with the app.
You can add as many widgets as you like from your available apps. Just keep in mind they do take up home screen space, so be strategic about which ones will be most useful.
One of the best parts of interactive widgets is the ability to customize them. Each widget has its own set of customizable options you can tweak.
Here’s how to customize an existing widget:
- Press and hold on the widget until the context menu pops up.
- Tap “Edit Widget”.
- This will open the customization screen for that widget. Options may include choosing a data source, picking a style or theme, selecting a default interaction, and more.
- Make your desired changes, then tap “Done” to save.
The widget will update with your new look and behavior. Feel free to tweak widgets as often as you want until you get them just right.
Customizing widgets is a great way to tailor your home screen experience to match your personal preferences and workflow. Try mixing and matching widgets from different apps and customizing each one.
Interacting with Widgets
The most exciting part of interactive widgets is using them. Once added to your home screen, just tap on a widget to interact with it.
The possibilities are endless, but here are some examples of how you can interact with different types of widgets:
- Music – Play, pause, or skip tracks from the widget.
- Calendar – View upcoming events, add new events, or tap to open the Calendar app.
- Reminders – Quickly add new reminders.
- Mail – Read previews of latest emails, tap to open email app.
- Weather – Get current conditions and forecast without opening the Weather app.
- Notes – Jot down quick notes that sync to the Notes app.
- Maps – Quick view of travel time to frequented locations.
As you can see, the interactions are contextual based on the app and the customizations you’ve made. Try tapping around on your various widgets to see what actions are possible from each one.
Managing and Removing using iOS 17 Interactive widgets
As your interactive widget collection grows, you may need to reorganize or remove some from your home screen. Managing widgets is easy:
- To move a widget, enter jiggle mode and then drag it to the new location.
- To remove a widget, enter jiggle mode, then tap the X icon on the widget.
- To temporarily disable a widget, tap and hold on it, then choose “Remove from Home Screen”. This keeps it in your widget list for easy adding later.
- To permanently delete a widget, swipe left on the widget in jiggle mode, then tap “Delete”.
Feel free to customize, move, and delete widgets liberally until you get your home screen layout exactly how you want it. The widgets available to you will persist in the widget gallery for easy adding back.
Best use iOS 17 Interactive widgets to Try
There are already lots of great interactive widgets available spanning many categories. Here are some of the best interactive widgets we recommend trying out:
- Calendar – Quick appointment management.
- Reminders – Instantly create todos.
- Notes – Jot down notes on the fly.
- Weather – Current conditions and forecast.
- News – Top headlines from your favorite sources.
- Stocks – View stock prices and trends.
- Music – Full media controls.
- Podcasts – Browse and play episodes.
- Books – Discover new titles and audiobooks.
- Home – Control smart accessories.
- Hue Lights – Turn lights on/off, change colors.
- Nest Thermostat – Adjust temperature.
- Batteries – See device battery levels.
- Timer – Set a quick countdown timer.
- Calculator – Perform basic calculations.
Try mixing and matching widgets from different categories to build the perfect home screen setup for your personal needs!
Interactive widgets bring productivity and customization to a whole new level in iOS 17. Their interactive capabilities help streamline your daily tasks by providing quick access to your favorite apps.
With just a tap, you can get timely information, play media, jot down notes, control smart home devices, and much more. Plus, the ability to customize each widget ensures your home screen looks great while fitting your workflow.
As developers release more inventive interactive widgets, the possibilities will grow even further. Hopefully this guide has provided a good overview of how to use interactive widgets in iOS 17. The next step is diving in and tailoring them to your needs!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I add a widget to my home screen?
To add a widget, long press on a blank area of your home screen until the icons start to jiggle. Tap the “+” icon in the top left and select the widget you want from the gallery. Use the customization options and tap “Add Widget” when finished.
Can I customize the look and behavior of widgets?
Yes! Once a widget is added, press and hold on it until the context menu appears. Tap “Edit Widget” to access customization options like color themes, default interactions, and more.
Where can I find a list of available widgets?
The widget gallery contains every widget available from your downloaded apps. Access it by tapping the “+” icon when in jiggle mode on your home screen. Scroll through the list to see which widgets are ready to add.
How many widgets can I add to my home screen?
You can add as many widgets as you want, but keep in mind they take up home screen space. Be strategic about which information and interactions are most important. Feel free to remove widgets anytime as your needs change.
What happens if I remove a widget from my home screen?
Removing a widget deletes it from your home screen but keeps it in the widget gallery for easy adding again later. Only performing a permanent delete by swiping left will fully delete the widget.
Can widgets be used on the lock screen too?
Yes! The lock screen supports the same interactive widgets as the home screen. Just enter the lock screen customization menu and add the widgets you want.