Personally, Notification Center widgets are my favorite part of iOS 8. Extensions are amazingly useful but widgets bring a kind of joy to my face every time I use them. It’s the feeling you get you finally achieve something you never thought you would. Long time iOS users know what I’m talking about.
Widgets in iOS are different from the ones in Android. They live in the Notification Center. They’re accessible from anywhere – from the lock screen, when you’re watching a video, anywhere.
When iOS 8 came out, I tried a lot of widgets. I had more than a dozen widgets at all times. But it became clear that wasn’t the right approach. Widgets in iOS serve a specific purpose. They provide you with information faster than say, opening that app would. Or they let you quickly do something that would take multiple steps in an app.
If you have more than a dozen widgets then you’re spending so much time swiping through them, it’s almost not worth it. I noticed NC also got slow when I was using too many widgets. There wasn’t any battery drain issue though. So I curbed my widget overload and decided to restrict myself to 6 of the necessary widgets. If you’re not familiar with Notification Center widgets, see our explainer here.
But there are way more than 6 deserving, awesome widgets on the App Store. Which ones should you choose? Let’s talk about it.
1. App Launcher
Launcher has a great redemption story that I won’t go into here, but that you should totally read. In short, Launcher lets you launch apps and shortcuts right from the Notification Center. It has been on the top of my NC since the day it came out. The free version gives you two rows and the ability to launch apps, add shortcuts for making calls and emails, initiate maps, and more. The $3.99 pro version gives you one extra row and the ability to customize the widget.
2. Calculator, Calendar, Currency Convertor
Wdgts is a must-have Notification Center widget that does all of the above. It’s awesome to have a calculator and a calendar view just a swipe away. The app is free with a $0.99 IAP.
Favorites is an awesome widget for quickly contacting your favorite people. You’ll see avatars of contacts. Tapping them will give you options like call, SMS, and WhatsApp message. The free app only enables the call option. A $0.99 unlocks all the features.
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I don’t live in a place where I need to be constantly checking the weather. But if you think a widget is going to be better than looking out the window, the simplest option is Yahoo Weather.
If you’re a heavy music listener, you might want to have quick access to your entire music library from the Notification Center. Music Center will give that to you.
Again, I’ve provided a lot more options than 6 and you should know that I myself don’t use all of them. Pick the 6 you need and stick with them. Which ones did you pick? Share with us in the comments below.