Ever since Apple introduced widgets in iOS 10, you're able to gain a plethora of useful information without ever needing to unlock your iPhone or iPad. There are a ton of apps out there with some useful widgets, but here are our current favorites!
- Fantastical 2
- Day One Journal
- Launch Center Pro
- CARROT Weather
- Things 3
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Do you work remotely and need to work with others that are located all over the world, not just in your time zone? Then CalZones is a handy app to have around.
With CalZones, you can choose the time zones that matter to you. Then you can view the more traditional calendar view, jump to days when events are scheduled, and you can see what time the event takes place in each time zone. This is incredibly handy if you often need to coordinate a meeting or a call across multiple time zones. CalZones also has the option of creating new events directly in the app itself, so you don't need to leave the app.
The Today widget for CalZones has a compact view, which is more like a timezone converter utility. This means you can see what time it is in your current time zone, and check out what time it is in the other time zones you chose. The expanded view lets you check out the full calendar timeline, browsing day's events and even adding new ones directly from the widget. It's a must for those who deal with multiple time zones on a daily basis!
Fantastical 2 is my personal favorite calendar app, and its Today widget is excellent and informative. With Fantastical 2's widget, you can view just today's events, or you can even switch to the full on Month view. With today's events, you can see what is coming up next, but the Month view gives you a complete agenda of what is coming up, including your Reminder items. And if you need to peek at the future, the Month view lets you jump to next month, or two months from now, whatever floats your boat. You can see all of the events for a chosen day, and everything is also color coded, so you can easily see what calendar an event belongs to in a single glance. And all without having to unlock your iOS device!
Day One Journal
Journaling is a great way to just sit down and reflect on your own thoughts and memories, and Day One is our favorite app for the job. It's a beautiful digital journal where you can keep records of text, photos, videos, and even audio. And the Today view widgets that it offers allows you to easily recall amazing memories or quickly add a new one.
There are several different widgets that Day One offers. You can view your own Activity Feed (posts on social media and other hooks), check Nearby Entries, view photos On This Day, and even see usage stats. It's a nice widget to have if you want to remember amazing memories before you forget about them.
Launch Center Pro
Launch Center Pro has been one of my most used apps for the past several years. It's like speed dial for apps and actions, and definitely helps make your life easier once you get it set up and ready to go.
With Launch Center Pro, you can create shortcuts for pretty much any app or action that you want to take with specific apps, whether they're by Apple or third-party. You can organize your quick actions and app shortcuts into folders, and everything about them can be customized, including name and icon elements. You can also set up specific app and action shortcuts for the Today widget, and there are even four different sizes you can go with, giving you flexibility when it comes to the number of available actions you can include. Then, you don't even need to launch Launch Center Pro itself to access your favorites.
We all love a bit of snark and sarcasm with our weather apps, right? Because that's exactly what you get with CARROT Weather, and we absolutely love it (but you can always turn off the snarky personality if that's not your thing).
The CARROT Weather Today widget is highly customizable to display just the information you need and want. You can choose to use light or dark mode, display the temperature, and the other four slots can be tailored to the information you need. The options for displayed info include actual temp, wind, hi/low, precipitation chance, UV index, cloud cover, pressure, humidity, and more. You can even have CARROT give you a displayed summary, including snark, so you can just take a quick peek at the weather and move on with your day. But of course, if you need to view even more information, or want a full forecast for the next week, then you'll need to launch the app itself.
When it comes to being productive, I like to turn to Things 3 to help me stay on track with my tasks throughout the day. Whether it's personal or work, if it needs to be done, it ends up in Things.
The Things Today widget is very useful. It lets you see all of the tasks that you need to complete today, as well as anything that is overdue. It also displays the list or project that the task is in, and there is an option to quickly add a new task if need be. However, to add a new task, you will need to unlock the device and go into the app itself to create and save it. The Today widget for Things still lets you mark off items as complete as you go, so it's nice to be able to check things off quickly.
In this day and age, we all do some online shopping, probably on Amazon, right? Packages are just always coming in to your home or work. Deliveries is an app that helps you keep track of all of your incoming and outgoing shipments.
Deliveries is a pretty simple app, but it's my personal favorite when it comes to package trackers. The interface is nice and sleek, and it displays all of the useful info I need to know in a single glance. Just input your tracking number into Deliveries, and it automatically detects what carrier is delivering. You'll be able to see how many days until it should be arriving, where it is right now, and a link to the delivery service website giving additional info. The Today view widget for Deliveries gives you this info right from the Lock Screen, so you don't even need to unlock your device or launch the app.
Shortcuts, formerly Workflow, is an app that lets you create, well, shortcuts for pretty much anything. If you don't mind taking some time to learn Shortcuts, it can definitely help you save tons of time and energy to get certain tasks and actions done.
In Shortcuts, you'll create formulas and recipes, which allow you to perform a series of tasks triggered by a specific activity. You can make these shortcuts as simple or as complex as you need them to be, as there are over 300 built-in actions that work with both native and third-party apps.
With the Today widget for Shortcuts, you'll be able to access any of your shortcuts from anywhere, including the Lock Screen. Just give it a tap and your series of tasks will run, doing whatever you need it to do. You can even ask Siri to run shortcuts, and access them from the Home Screen.
Do you often go to the same places day in and day out? Think of places like work, home, your favorite coffee shop, co-working space, or your best friend's place. You may know the routes to these places by heart, but what about the travel time? That can change depending on the time of day, and if there's any traffic accidents. ETA is an app that helps you figure all that out in a glance.
There are two widget options for ETA available. The default one just shows you your favorite locations and displays the ETA to get there right now. Then you can just tap on a location to pull up the directions as needed. The other widget option is the ETA Calendar, and it shows your calendar events and the ETA to get to them from right this moment.
ETA is a nifty app that makes it easy to see when you should be leaving to get to your next destination as scheduled.
If you're a sports fan, then the ESPN app is a must-have.
With ESPN's official app, you can follow your favorite sports teams, whether it's from the NBA, MLB, NFL, hockey, or whatever else. Once you have your favorite teams saved, the ESPN app lets you follow along with scores and news relating to your top teams. The widget also displays the current scores for games that are happening right now, and if you have favorites, they'll be pinned at the top.
The ESPN widget is the best way to make sure you're in the know for all of your favorite sports and teams, even when you're in a boring board meeting.
What are your favorites?
These are just a few of our favorite app widgets. What are your favorite widget apps? Let us know in the comments!
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.