The arrival of iOS 14 has brought with it a new feature in the form of widgets. These small windows, which can be placed on any of your home screens, give quick access to information that you'd otherwise need to launch an app to find. But before you clutter up your iPhone with any sub-par ones, here's our pick of the best widgets in iOS 14 for iPhones.
If you've yet to use this new feature, then be sure to take a quick look at how to use widgets on iPhone & iPad to get you going.
One of the default widgets included by Apple is Smart Stack. This is an excellent option for saving space while having access to several widgets at once - perfect for the smaller display on the iPhone SE (2020).
It cycles through multiple widgets carousel-fashion when you're on the home screen, depending on what it thinks you need to see - showing the latest news, weather, messages, appointments or whatever is appropriate to the moment. You can also scroll through them manually to reach a particular widget if you so desire.
Free, easy to use, and doesn't waste valuable display space. Essential.
Fantastical has long been one of our favourite Calendar apps for iOS, iPadOS and macOS. Now we can get even more out of the organisational tool thanks to the excellent widgets that are available for iPhone and iPad.
Offering a wide selection of sizes and options, the widgets can go from a simple icon showing the date, up to a mixture of your upcoming appointments, calendar and even the weather. The best part is that the different elements are interactive, so tapping on the weather will open up a full report of the next few days, and selecting one of your appointments takes you directly to that entry rather than just launching the full Fantastical app.
Fantastical offers a premium tier that brings additional features to the app, but the widgets are available on the free tier, so you can enjoy its usability without having to spend any money.
Another solid widget that Apple includes with iOS 14 is TV. This simple applet allow you to quickly resume the last show you were watching, whether it's on the Apple TV+ service itself or one of the other subscription-based options such as Amazon Prime Video or Disney+.
Tapping on the episode that appears in the widget takes you to Apple's TV app; if you were watching something on another service, a quick tap of the Resume Episode button begins playback in the relevant app. You can choose from a variety of sizes for the widget and it's one that you may find you use more than you'd think.
While Apple's own Mail app is a staple for many iPhone users, we're bigger fans of the Spark email app, and now that it supports a useful set of widgets that admiration has grown even further.
From your home screen you can now start a new email, see the list of any unread ones currently residing in your inbox or take a look at your calendar appointments thanks to the built-in app in Spark. Depending on which widget you choose, there's also the ability to see upcoming meetings and even ring the person just by tapping the phone icon next to their name.
Lots of choice and plenty of power, just like the app itself.
Pocket is a truly indispensable app. It allows you to collect various articles and stories from around the web and read them offline when you have more time. Thanks to its plug-ins for all the major browsers, you can harvest this content while on your Mac or iPad, then have them sync with your iPhone so you're never without something interesting to read.
The Pocket Widget comes in two sizes, both showing some of the unread stories in your feed. Tapping one opens it up, then when you're finished the app will remove that item and move up the next one on your list.
There's nothing complex about Pocket, but that's one of the reasons with like it so much.
Yes, it's true that many of the widgets on this list are made by Apple itself, but with iOS 14 being so new, it does seem that developers are struggling to keep up. In the meantime, the Apple News widget is a handy way to keep in touch with what's happening in the world (although this might be the last thing you want to do these days).
You can choose between either having the main day's story featured, two general headlines or opt for news from particular topics. It's a clean and useful app that feels less intrusive than the news notifications that are the alternative.
We all know that we should probably be spending less time staring into our screens, but the temptation to scroll through Twitter, play another level of our favourite game or trawl the virtual aisles of shops can just prove too much at times.
Installing the Screen Time widget on the Home screen is a useful reminder of how many hours we've been mesmerised by the glowing rectangle in our hands, while also giving a helpful breakdown of the apps we've been using.
It won't necessarily do anything else, but having that data in full view, rather than hidden in the app, means at least we're aware of our digital behaviour, which is half the battle.
To see other new features in the latest version of Apple's iPhone operating system, read iOS 14 vs iOS 13.