One of the most underrated features introduced with iOS 8 might be the ability to add widgets to your notification center. You don’t need to jailbreak any more, just swipe your finger down from the top of the screen to access all kinds of controls and information.
There are a growing number of apps that take advantage of this functionality with the specific aim of placing often-used features and information within swipe’s reach. Here are our favorites.
How to Add or Remove Images from Your Notification Center
To access your Notification Center, all you have to do is swipe down from the top of the screen. To add or remove apps, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and hit the ‘Edit’ button. From there you can remove widgets that are already in there (including the native Apple widgets). Any apps installed on your phone with notification center features will be also viewable in that list.
If you’re looking for versatility when it comes to your notification center, Vidgets is a comprehensive widget app that places countless apps and features a mere swipe away.
Communications (iMessage, email, Facetime, the phone app, Twitter mentions, and Skype – with the choice of personalizing it or simply launching the app), multiple clocks (analog, digital, timer), a calendar, system widgets (battery life, CPU and memory usage), various weather widgets, and a launcher for your favourite apps are all available in the free app. Vidgets also allows you to add dividing separators and spaces to keep your notification center organized and, more importantly, functional.
The screenshot on the right shows you what Vidgets looks like in your notification center:
In addition to being an incredibly useful app, Vidgets is slick, and looks like something that might have been developed by Apple itself. If there’s a widget you are dying to see added to the app, you can reach out and submit a request. There are some interesting requests that have already been submitted (which you can vote up), including killing open apps, Wi-Fi data usage, and a screen lock.
To add the widgets of your choice, simply launch the app and hit the plus “+” button. From there you can add as many of the individual buttons as you wish, and if you change your mind – that’s where to go to remove them too.
Widget offers similar features as other multifunctional widget apps, allowing you to place widgets that keep track of the weather, time, battery health, and your calendar. While these features can be found in other apps, Widget gives users the ability to place really large, gorgeous icons in the notification center.
The advantage to using larger icons is that they’re easily visible at a glance while you’re on the go. The weather widget in particular is great because it gives users advanced features including a six day forecast.
There are multiple layouts for each widget for you to choose from. Just scroll through them when you launch the app, and make sure your choice is in the middle. There’s a $1.99 premium upgrade in-app which promises more widgets, if you find there’s not enough here for you already.
If you’re all about Twitter, NC Twitter Widget is a must-have. The $1.99 app is filling a wide gap left behind by the official Twitter app: access your Twitter feed directly from your notification center, with a fully functional widget.
NC Twitter shows you the five latest tweets in your feed, but best of all, allows you to interact with them directly from the notification center. Tapping on a tweet brings up a menu which allows you to favourite, retweet, or open the tweet in the native Twitter app. To get the feed to refresh, all you have to do is scroll up to the top of your notification center and back down again.
Feeday will offer similar features, but for Instagram. The free version of the app allows you to see the three latest images in your feed. With a €0.99 upgrade you can choose to see six or nine images instead. Tapping on a photo will open it up in the Instagram app.
If you prefer a free alternative that will give you both Twitter and Instagram functionality, check out Widgets. Unlike the NC Twitter Widget, however, it simply doesn’t look as slick. That said, the functionality is there. You can view recent tweets, retweet or favourite them from the notification center, or launch the Twitter app, going directly to that tweet.
The Instagram feed displays one image at a time. You can scroll to the next photo in your feed, add photos to your favourites, and launch the Instagram app to leave a comment.
While technically Tap to Share is functional as a stand alone app, it really shines if used in the notification center. With this app, you can create a quick shortcut in your notification center allowing you to quickly share updates to Facebook,Twitter, or via email or iMessage.
Like NC Twitter and Widget, you can also add a Twitter feed to your notification center – but it doesn’t appear to provide a similar feature for Facebook. While the basic app is free, for $0.99 you can remove ads (which doesn’t affect your notification center experience), and for $1.99 you get the added functionality of interacting with the feed in your notification center.
Clips is another ultra-specific app, and one that is very useful for those of you who are constantly copying-and-pasting. What’s really cool about Clips is that it automatically saves all items that you copy-and-paste in the app and doesn’t delete them unless you manually go in and delete them yourself.
If you prefer to keep things uncluttered, you can choose to keep only five, 15, 30, 50, or the 100 most recent clips. It’s worth pointing out that in the first week, you can save unlimited clips, but after that you can only save up to five at a time. With Clip Pro, which costs $1.99, you can store unlimited clips and sync your ‘clips’ across devices.
In addition to saving copied text from any app, Clips can also save copied images and GIFs. And while you can access these clips easily from the notification center, the app also has a custom keyboard which makes it easy to paste in content without leaving the app you’re using.
With Clips, you don’t have to switch from one screen to another to paste content where you want it. Be sure to check out Bakari’s in-depth review of Clips.
If your aim is to get a little bit more productivity out of the notification center, you’ll want to check out Agenda+. The app handles your calendar and reminders in a way that you would expect from Apple. It pulls in the information from your native Apple Reminders and Calendar app, but then presents it in a way that’s far more attractive, and far more functional.
Placing the information in a more compact manner makes it easier to see at a glance what you have coming up, and more importantly, you can mark items as completed directly from the notification center. Additionally, you can add events or reminders with the handy little plus “+” button included in the Widget.
When it comes to the multifunctional widgets, Vidget is your best bet. There are other similar free offerings, but Vidget’s clean design makes it look like it belongs right there in your notification center. The ability to easily request new features is also a welcome addition as it would appear that the developers are interested in hearing from their users.
The smaller, specific apps are a great addition if you’re looking for something in particular to add to your notification center, and bring all sorts of great functionality to your phone.
What are your favorite notification center apps? Which do you use most often?