Apple, iOS, Opinions, Widgets

Here’s why widgets in iOS are a beautiful mess

Apple jumped into the widgets bandwagon with the introduction of iOS 14 last year. In contrast, Android has had the same baked into the system over a decade ago. And yes, Windows Phone too had Tiles of which iOS widgets resemble more, which according to us were much better and livelier than in Android. However, the defining feature of Android often got overlooked over time, similar to 3D Touch on previous iPhones.

New iOS 14 home screen with widgets Live Tiles on a Nokia Lumia 930, Windows Phone | Source: Windows Central

Anyways, getting back on track, the way the folks over at Cupertino implemented the widget concept is great but only visually. If we look beyond all of the glitters and golds of it, we get to see why this very feature needs a lot of work. This takes us to three reasons why widgets in iOS are a beautiful mess.

Icons can’t be expanded to form widgets

3D/Haptic Touch on an icon and you get no options to expand the same to form widgets Small size option in Windows Phone | Source: GSMArena

Having used a Windows Phone for a few years, we can vouch for how great its Tiles were. For those uninformed, Tiles were basically live widgets that were dynamic and displayed up-to-date info right on the home screen. You could resize it in small, medium, and large forms. In its smallest form, it was just an icon sans live information. Want more info? Just resize the very same icon to medium or large and you get dynamic tiles showing you live information right on spot.

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And this is where iOS falls short with no way whatsoever to expand icons to form widgets right from the home screen rather going the long way to adding one by navigating to the home screen widgets settings. Is iOS getting convoluted over time? Who knows.

Resizing widget is unintuitive

Editing the Calendar widget No resize option available in options Large size option in Windows Phone | Source: GSMArena Medium size option in Windows Phone | Source: GSMArena

Most if not all widgets in iOS 14 are available in at least three different sizes. Now if you want to resize, for example, let’s take the calendar app here, you can’t long-press the app right on the spot. Again, the situation is similar to the widget expansion capability, you will eventually have to go to the widget library by long-pressing the home screen and tapping the + button at the top-right corner. Take a look.

http://phoneglide.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/add-widget-ios14.mp4

Stack rotation and widget update issues

At least on our iPhone SE 2020 running the latest iOS 14.4 (as of writing this article), the widgets seem to have a hard time updating relevant information on time. Not only that, stacks on the other hand do not rotate at all on our device. For those unaware as of yet, stack as the word implies is a feature that allows you to drop a widget over another to form a Rolodex (vertically scrollable widget stack). Do watch the video below to learn how to create a stack.

http://phoneglide.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/ios-widget-stacks.mp4

Wrapping up, We hope Apple brings in new features and fix all of the issues in iOS 15. what are your thoughts about widgets in iOS? Feel free to chime in the comments section and do share your experience. Thank you for reading.

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