The ultimate guide to creating custom widgets for your iPhone home screen
iOS 14 is one of the biggest iOS releases in a long time. The magnitude of changes in iOS 14 is only second to the scale of changes that came when the iPhone updated from iOS 6 to iOS 7.
One of the biggest changes in iOS 14 has to be the Home screen widgets. Widgets have been around in iOS for quite some time, but previously they were confined only to the Today View. Having widgets on the Home screen is game-changing. Whether you want to have a widget to get useful information at a glance or to complement your home screen aesthetics, they’re good for everything.
Apple has some out-of-the-box widgets for apps like calendar, weather, batteries, clock, etc. but they are pretty standard. Fortunately, you can have customizable widgets on your Home screen that won’t be so commonplace just as easily.
Custom Calendar Widgets
The calendar widget in iOS 14 follows the same theme as the native Calendar app, but if that’s not your cup of tea, there are many apps you can use to create customizable calendar widgets.
Ermine is one of the best customizable calendar apps you’ve got to have. Like your iOS Calendar widget, it also shows events on the widget, but you can customize this one.
Using Ermine is quite straightforward. Download it from the app store and open it. Then, grant it access to your calendar so it can have the event information. Tap ‘OK’ to give access to your calendar.
Then, select the event calendar on the next screen from the list of calendars available. Tap the ‘Next’ arrow.
Then select the ‘Holiday’ calendar if you want the widget to display holidays too. And tap the check icon.
The calendar has all the information it needs. To customize your widget, tap the ‘Settings’ icon on the upper left corner.
Then, tap the ‘Widget Appearance’ option.
Some options for customizing the widget are free, while others are available only with the Pro version. With the free version, you can change the background color of the widget, text color, language, and whether the calendar widget should display event dots on the calendar.
With Pro, you get more customizable features such as changing holiday colors, font, calendar format, etc.
Specify your custom preferences and tap on ‘Save’.
Now, go to your Home screen and enter the jiggle mode by tapping and holding an app, widget, or empty space on the screen. Then, tap the ‘Add widget’ option (+ icon) on the upper left corner.
The widget gallery will open. Scroll down and find ‘Ermine’ in the gallery and tap on it.
Select the widget size you want to add. With Ermine, you can only have the widget in the small or medium size, but you’ll find that there are four options to choose from:
- The small-sized widget displays the calendar for the current month and events and holidays marked on the calendar with dots and a separate color.
- The next medium-sized widget displays the calendar for the current and next month side by side with events and holidays marked on the calendar.
- Then, there’s the medium-sized widget that displays today’s events on one side and the monthly calendar on the other.
- The last choice is a medium-sized widget with an illustrated calendar, where there’s an illustration on one side and the monthly calendar on the other.
Select the widget you want and tap on ‘Add widget’ to add it your Home screen.
Arrange the widget anywhere on the screen.
If you don’t care about getting information about upcoming events or holidays from your calendar and only want a customizable widget that’ll display the date or the monthly calendar, there’s plenty of options for that.
Widgetsmith is one of the best apps to get for customizable widgets. With Widgetsmith, you can not only have custom calendar widgets, but it offers so many more widget types available to customize.
There are many styles of calendar widgets to choose from. And you can customize everything – background color, font color, borders using Widgetsmith. You can even have timed widgets with the app that makes it quite unique. And it supports all widget sizes.
Photo Calendar Widget
Photo Calendar Widget is an app dedicated solely to the creation of customizable calendar widgets. From the text alignment and font to the background image or gradient, you can customize everything just as you like. But it only supports a medium-sized widget.
Color Widgets is another cool app to get a custom calendar on your home screen. It’s got some amazing gradient backgrounds, but you can also select any photo from your gallery. You can also choose it to display the day, date, and time instead of the calendar. And it also displays battery level. It supports all three widget sizes and is awfully easy to use. There are tonnes of themes to choose from, and with the Pro version, you get some even more fantastic choices.
Custom Clock Widgets
The clock widget from iOS 14 is a classic. But for people who want something different, there are a lot of apps to get a custom clock widget.
Clock Widget: Custom Clock App
If you want a digital clock widget on your Home screen that offers a lot of choices, the Clock Widget app is one of the best choices out there. It has many formats to choose from. There are customizable templates with time zone, date along with time, a minimal digital clock, or there are fixed templates with different themes.
Using the app is quite easy too. Open the app to choose the template for your home screen; tap on ‘Choose Template’.
The template screen will open. The first three templates are customizable where you can customize the text color, background color, or even select a photo from your gallery. The rest of the templates are fixed. Tap on the one you like to select it.
For one of the customizable templates, tapping the template will open the Preview screen. Make the changes you want and tap on ‘Apply’.
Once you’ve selected the template in the app, go to your Home screen and add it to your screen from the widget gallery. It supports all three widget sizes.
Apart from the Clock Widget app, there are many other apps you could use to have a custom clock widget on your screen. The apps Widgetsmith and Color Widgets are two apps from the previous section that too support clock widgets, but customizing options are not as extensive as the Clock Widget app.
Custom Memo (Notes) Widget
The Notes app on the iPhone is great for all your journaling needs, but the widgets for notes – eh, not so much. But with a third-party app, you can have a custom note on your Home screen, and one that looks aesthetically pleasing too.
MemoWidget is one of the best apps to have for all your Home screen memo/ notes needs. And it is the easiest app to use.
Open the app and tap the ‘Create memo’ button.
Then, you can enter a title, and text for the note. Tap the ‘photo’ icon to choose a background photo for the widget.
You can choose one of the preset images, select one from your gallery, or from Unsplash.
Tap ‘Done’ to save the memo. Then go to the Home screen and add MemoWidget from the widget gallery.
While the widget is still jiggling, tap it. A context menu will appear. Tap the ‘Choose’ option next to Choose Memo menu item. If there are more than one memos in the app, tap on this option to select the one you want as the Home screen widget.
There are also other apps to create custom memo widgets. One of the best is the Photo Widget app. You can have a memo with a slideshow of photos in the background. You can select the photos from your gallery and also define the interval at which the photos should change. But the newest version of the app comes with a monthly subscription if you want to be able to add photos.
The Ultimate Customizable Widget App – Widgeridoo
Widgeridoo is one of a kind app that offers a custom widget like no other – an amalgam of all your favorite widgets in a single widget. Basically, a widget in Widgeridoo is divided into blocks and you can have different category data on each block.
For example, you can have a widget with battery percentage, health data like steps and distance, calendar events, birthdays from contacts, date, time, music, image, text, and then some.
The app has a freemium structure meaning that some features are free while others can be unlocked by upgrading to the Pro version.
There are few widget templates to choose from, or you can start with an empty widget and create the layout of blocks yourselves.
Let’s edit a widget template. Tap on any one of the templates.
It’ll have certain blocks already. And few blocks will also have a category. But you can change it. Whether you want to keep the layout or number of the blocks the same or change it, or you want to change the block type – it’s completely customizable.
You can also see the preview of the widget in different sizes and how would it appear in each size on the Home screen.
To change a block property, tap and hold a block until a context menu appears. Then select ‘Replace’ from the menu.
The list of available block types will open. Select the category you want. Repeat it for all the blocks.
To edit the block appearance and not category, tap the block once. Available customizable options will appear. You can change the alignment, font size, background image, background color, and foreground color for each block.
To add more blocks to the widget, tap on the ‘Edit’ option on the top right corner of the screen.
If there are more block spaces available to add, ‘+’ icons will appear in those spaces. Tap the ‘+’ icon where you want to add the new block.
Once you’ve customized the widget, go to the Home screen and add ‘Widgeridoo’ from the widget gallery.
An empty widget for Widgeridoo will appear on your screen. Tap on it while it’s still jiggling.
Then, tap ‘Choose’ to select the widget from the app.
All available widgets will open. Tap the one you customized to select it and it will appear on your Home screen.
Widgets in iOS 14 are a great enhancement to the Home screen. And using third-party apps to create custom widgets provide endless possibilities of the ways you can use the widgets on your screen. It’s just a matter of finding the right fit for you.