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iOS 14: How to use widgets on iPad and iPhone

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At this year’s WWDC, Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 introduced two concepts that may be of use to enterprise professionals: “widgets,” which let you keep some key data on your Home screen, and “stacks,” which combine widgets in a useful way.

Here’s how these may help you get things done once the OS updates roll out later this year.

Introducing widgets and stacks

Widgets aren’t new to iOS, but they have been redesigned and made more data rich so that they become more useful.

Apple now offers widgets for most Apple apps and many utilities, and they’re available in three different sizes so you can choose the density of data you most need. (Larger widgets host more data.)

Apple is also introducing a widget gallery from which you can install tools from Apple and other developers. These can be placed anywhere on your Home screen, providing you with the information you need most at the time that you need it.

You can also stack up to ten widgets together in one widget space on the Home screen. Once you do so, you now have access to useful data from up to 10 apps all within one widget – you just need to flick through it to get the information from each app, rather than working through multiple apps and/or screens.

Apple has also introduced the Siri Suggestions widget, which uses on-device intelligence to show actions you might take based on your usage patterns; this item reflects your use of your device and will be personal to you.

Can anyone make widgets?

Enterprise developers in certain industries will be interested to explore the new API Apple has made available (‘WidgetKit’) with which developers can create their own widgets based on their apps. This could also be explored by commercial app developers in the enterprise space, who can use this to easily extend that information in the form of widgets.

Think about how this could help your employees access immediate sales data, repair requests, top-level logistical data and so on. Making such information available securely via digital devices in such a low-impact way should keep workers fed with the information they need, with little or no additional friction.

The whole point of these widgets is that they can be “glanceable, relevant and personalized,” Apple said at WWDC.

There’s a useful tutorial by an independent developer on using the API online.

What Apple says about widgets

Writing for developers, Apple states:

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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