iPad widgets give you important information on your home screen, without opening an app. For example, you can quickly see your battery information without going to your iPad settings. Other apps’ widgets act as shortcuts like the Gmail app gives you shortcuts to search or compose emails.
Adding iPad widgets to the home screen
To add widgets, long-press any empty space on your home screen, then tap the Plus icon on the far left corner of your screen. You get Suggestions of the widgets that you can add, and a list of apps on your iPad that have widgets. Not every app has widgets, because some developers haven’t created any for their apps. To work faster, you can search for whose widget you want to add to your home screen.
Let’s add a widget for Apple Calendar. Each app has different sizes you can choose from as well as different purposes. Apple Calendar displays your:
- Upcoming events in four sizes
- Monthly calendar in one size
- Lists your upcoming events in one size
Let’s add the biggest Up Next widget to our home screen and see what other options you get. You can move the widget anywhere on the home screen.
Editing a wigdet
Tapping on a widget opens up the app. To change something, long-press it for a popup menu to:
- Remove Widget
- Edit Home Screen to change the widget’s position or remove some apps from your home screen or iPad.
- Edit Widget to change what it’s displaying. These editing options also depend on the app. In our case, you can turn on/off the options to Mirror Calendar App or Hide All-Day Events. When you’re happy with your settings, tap any empty space on your iPad to stop editing your widget.
If you don’t like seeing widgets on your home screen, you can add them to the Today View. That’s what Apple calls it. They basically replaced the strip we had in iPadOS 14 with this full screen that can house your widgets outside your home screen. The Today View houses the older widgets from iPadOS 13 (under Customise) as well as the newer widgets. You can Edit to add your widgets.
Some developers haven’t upgraded their widgets so their apps’ widgets are only found here. If you’ve been missing widgets from the following apps, this is where you find them:
- Google Keep
The old widgets remain grouped. Once added, you can’t rearrange or remove the widgets in Today View. You have to go back to Customise for that, which is a bit of a hassle.
You can also add the new widgets to this old setup, which limits all your widgets to this small column on the right. Today View doesn’t support the bigger widgets introduced in iPadOS 15. Now we are just wondering when Apple will phase out the old widgets? The new widgets are better, easier to access and more flexible. The Today View in 2022 just doesn’t make any sense.
You can group widgets of a similar size to create stacks. Drag & drop one widget over another. You can group a maximum of 10 widgets, which is not bad. You can swipe up or down to navigate your stacked widgets. There is no way of telling apart stacked from single widgets unless you try to swipe up/down.
You can edit a Stack by long-pressing it to get options to:
- Edit the current widget
- Edit Stack to turn on/off Smart Rotate and Widget Suggestions. Without control over the rotation, smart rotation is useless. It’s better to turn this off, that way you have more control over the app showing on your stack. We’ve not figured out how Widget Suggestions work, so it makes no difference if you turn it off.
- Edit Home Screen
- Remove Stack delete the group and all its the apps.
In iPadOS 15, Apple just threw the word ‘smart’ all over the place. We got smart lists in Reminders and smart folders in Apple Notes. So far, none of these smart items has actually been smart. Smart Stack is no different.
You can create it by turning on smart rotate on a normal stack, which we’ve already shown. When you create it from the widget’s window, you can only choose the size of the widget. You have no control over the apps you add to it. Those you can only remove or add from the home screen. What is smart about such a widget?
Some developers are creating widgets with shortcuts to help you work faster. The first app we’ll talk about is LiquidText, a PDF reader, it has a widget that lets you scan a document directly from your iPad home screen. Since it uses the native iPadOS scanning technology, you can choose to:
- Auto or manually scan
- Colour, Grayscale, Black & White or Photo your scan
- Adjust the edges of the scan
- Retake or Keep Scan
Save to add the scan to your documents. You can then Insert Picture to add photos to the scan, or Scan Document to add another scan. Import Document to start working with the same. You can either Add To New File or Add To Existing/Current File.
Another app with useful widgets is Microsoft To Do. It has an Add Task shortcut widget that takes you to the app to quickly get started with creating your to-dos. You can then add all the information for your to do. We have covered how to use the app here.
These are some of the different ways you can use widgets to improve your workflow. We hope you found this information helpful.