Widgets are another convenient feature your smartphone offers to help you quickly find information. More than just a funny name, they’re the active items displayed on your phone’s home or notifications screen that let you check the weather, access an Internet search engine, view the latest headlines, or check in on the stock market with a quick glance.
In a nutshell, the word widget is a generic term for a bit of self-contained code that displays a program, or a piece of a program, that is also (usually) a shortcut to a larger application on your phone. Widgets need to be downloaded and installed just like an app, and to use them most effectively you’ll want to make sure your phone is up to date with the most current operating system—most widgets require Android 9 or iOS 8 and above.
For Android users, widgets are displayed on the home page, and come in all shapes and sizes from simple 1-by-1 shortcut style text boxes to eye-popping, full-page designs. To add a widget on an Android smartphone, go to your home screen, touch and hold an empty space, then:
- Tap Widgets. You’ll see a list of what’s available to install.
- Touch and hold a widget. You’ll see images of your home screens.
- Slide the widget to where you want it. Lift your finger.
iPhone users can add widgets to what Apple calls the Today View, which can be accessed by swiping right on the first home screen on your iPhone. From here:
- Scroll to the bottom and tap Edit.
- Tap the minus in the red circle to take a widget away, or the plus in the green circle to add one. You’ll see a list of available choices.
- Tap Done to save your changes.
- Once widgets are installed, simply swipe to the right, or pull down the Notification Center, to view them at any time.
Later on, if you change your mind and want to add or remove a widget, you can do so at any time by following the same steps listed above. If you haven’t installed any widgets on your smartphone, give it a try! There’s something out there to suit every taste, and you’ll enjoy the ease of having interesting and important information accessible with just a tap of your home screen.