iOS 10 has ushered in a host of improvements, including one for the widget lovers: your favorite widgets are now accessible right from your device’s lock screen.
What’s New With the Lock Screen
As soon as you pick up an iOS 10 device, you’ll notice a few pretty big changes. First, the swipe-to-unlock feature–a staple of the iOS lock screen since the beginning–is gone. Now if you want to unlock your phone, you’ll need to tap the home button a second time, use TouchID, or enter your pin.
Second, if you do swipe right in that familiar unlocking motion, instead of unlocking the phone you’ll be greeted to a iOS 10 widget screen (previously in iOS 9 the only way to access the widgets was from the notification drawer once the phone was unlocked).
If you haven’t paid much attention to iOS widgets before, their prominent placement in iOS 10 makes now a great time to start. You can use widgets with core iOS apps (like the new Parked Car feature in Maps) as well as with third-party apps that support widgets (like Todoist’s task checklist).
How to Access and Edit Your Lock Screen Widgets
You can access and edit your lock screen widgets one of two ways: you can edit them from the notification drawer when you phone is unlocked, or you can edit them right from the lock screen–remember, the widgets are shared between both of those locations. As the focus of this quick tutorial is on the lock screen, that’s where we’ll start.
Press the power button to wake your phone. Swipe right on the lock screen.
This will reveal your lock screen widgets. If you’ve paid little attention (or none at all) to the widget system in prior versions of iOS, then you might see a hodgepodge of widgets like the screenshot below. Without your input, iOS just kind of tosses widgets around hoping one will catch your fancy.
As such, it’s up to us to do a little tidying so that the widgets reflect what’s actually of interest to us. Scroll down to the bottom of the widget panel until you see the small “Edit” icon. Select it.
In the “Add Widgets” list that pops up, you’ll see all the currently active widgets at the top, then below a list of all the available widgets. On the left side of each active widget you’ll find a large red deletion icon and on the right you’ll find a smaller three-bar icon which you can tap and hold to slide entries around and reorder the list.
Note, by the way, how my beloved Hue lighting shortcuts are all the way at the bottom but, in the previous screenshot, the Apple Calendar app we don’t even use has a widget all the way at the top–clearly there’s no optimization algorithm at play.
Let’s start off by deleting entries that we don’t need. Since we use Google Calendar for everything, first on the block for us is the “Up Next” reminder widget that pulls data from the Apple Calendar. Pick an entry and tap the red icon, then confirm the removal by tapping “Remove”. Don’t think about it too hard–if you change your mind, the removed widget will be waiting for you down in the unused widget list at the bottom.
Once you’ve axed the widgets you don’t need, turn your attention to the “More Widgets” section at the bottom of the screen. Tap the green + icon next to any widget you wish to add to the lock screen. We’ve axed the Apple Weather app in favor of Carrot Weather, so we’ll select it now.
Once you’ve picked out a few widgets, head back up to the top and rearrange them, by grabbing the individual entries via their three-bar icons, to your liking.
We put Carrot Weather up at the top like the old weather entry, moved the Hue widgets up for easy use, and parked our to-do list right under that. Let’s take a look at our remixed lock screen widget list in the wild:
Beautiful. Snarky weather forecasts, lighting shortcuts, and task checklists right at our finger tips, far more useful than the old arrangement of snark-free weather forecasts, a blank calendar widget, and app suggestions.
Widgets are more useful than ever in iOS 10–it’s absolutely worth the few minutes to tweak which ones are right at your finger tips.