Experience interactive widgets on your iPhone and iPad

Cupertino, August 14, 2023

Apple has enhanced the usability and appeal of Home Screen widgets in iOS 17 by allowing developers to create interactive widgets. Previously, widgets were limited to displaying read-only information, but now users can interact directly with a widget without opening the app. This upgrade makes widgets more versatile and empowers developers to design innovative and practical widget experiences for iPhone and iPad users. In contrast to the static views found in previous versions of iOS, Android widgets have long offered dynamic functionality. By tapping on an iOS widget in iOS 17, users can now perform actions without having to open the associated app. For instance, users can change the currently playing song or control playback options through the Apple Music widget, or manage their HomeKit-enabled products using the Home app widget. Although only a small number of Apple apps currently support interactive widgets, users can anticipate a wider range as more developers embrace this feature. Adding widgets to an iPhone or iPad involves the following steps: on the home screen, press and hold until the icons start to jiggle, tap the plus icon (+) in the top left corner to open the widget selection menu, use the search bar to find and select a widget along with its size, and tap "Add Widget" and drag it to the desired location on the home screen. At present, only the Reminders, Apple Music, Podcast, and Home widgets support interaction. The Apple Music widget allows users to control playback directly from the widget without opening the app – the smaller widget option includes a play/pause button, while the larger option allows users to switch between recently played songs by tapping the corresponding button. The Apple Music widget simplifies music control, particularly when listening in the background while multitasking. The Reminders widget now enables users to mark completed tasks directly from the home screen by tapping the empty circle next to the task. The circle fills with the color associated with the list, indicating completion. This small improvement significantly facilitates task management and eliminates the need to access the Reminders app for marking tasks. The interactive Home widget allows users to control their HomeKit accessories directly from the Home screen, making smart home management more convenient. Once added, the Home widget displays a list of the user's HomeKit devices, each of which can be controlled by tapping the respective device. For instance, users can turn on smart lights, lock or unlock doors, or adjust the thermostat. Interactive widgets enhance the information and functionality available on the home screen, eliminating the need to open specific apps for rapid access. As third-party developers make their widgets interactive, iPhone and iPad users can expect a plethora of new features. This substantial upgrade significantly boosts the power and usefulness of widgets.

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