5 Widgets Feature

Now that iOS has finally adopted third-party widgets, many developers have been scrambling to update their apps to include them. While I think that widgets can be useful, I find that a lot of the widgets released so far have been somewhat unnecessary, or at best, poorly implemented.

But that’s not to say that the idea or concept of a widget is necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, widgets can be a very good thing if implemented properly.

That just happens to be the case with the following five widgets that I discuss in this post. Check inside for a video overview of five of my favorite iOS 8 Notification Center widgets.

iMonitor

iMonitor is a tool that allows you to monitor the vital stats of your iPhone. You can monitor the amount of free memory, CPU usage, upload and download bandwidth, and storage space.

Besides the stats, which are useful for providing some visibility into the status of your iPhone, the look of the widget goes perfectly with Notification Center. To me, that’s one of the most important aspects of iMonitor—its look. It looks good, and isn’t overly distracting.

Evernote

Everyone knows that Evernote is my favorite productivity service/app of all time, but with iOS 8 it just keeps getting better. Not only do we have an awesome extension for Evernote, as brought out in a post discussing my five favorite iOS 8 extensions, but now it has a widget as well.

Evernote’s widget is extremely useful, because it allows you to invoke the creation of specific types of notes with the press of a button. If you’ve ever fumbled around with your iPhone in search of the Evernote app when you needed to quickly jot something down, the Evernote widget is the solution to your problems.

Paste+

Paste+ is a widget that lets you execute action from the data residing on your iPhone’s pasteboard. For example, I can copy text from Safari and tap a button on the Paste+ widget to send that text directly to Evernote in a single action. It’s a powerful and customizable tool with tons of different actions.

SportsCenter

I think this is what nearly everyone had in mind when they thought about widgets finally making their way to iOS. In fact, the SportsCenter widget was one of the flagship widgets shown off when Apple unveiled iOS 8 at WWDC.

After a brief delay, the SportsCenter widget is finally available to the masses. It’s nothing groundbreaking, and it’s a little light on features and customization, but if you’re a sports fan, it’s still a must have.

PCalc Lite

The full version of PCalc is a cult favorite among many who calculate things on a regular basis. If you’re not a diehard PCalc fan, however, you should definitely give the Lite version a go.

Generously, the developer of PCalc included an iOS 8 widget in the free version of the app. From my hands-on experience with the PCalc Lite widget, it’ll be more than enough to meet the needs of most casual users.

If you explore the App Store long enough, you’ll stumble upon tons of apps that all feature their own iOS 8 Notification Center widget. From my experience, most of these widgets, as stated, are average at best. But I’m confident that you’ll find the five widgets listed in this overview to be functional, fun, and easy on the eyes.

What do you think about widgets in iOS 8? Have you found a place for them in your workflow? Are there any that you recommend that others try? Let us know down below in the comment section.

  • TechLove

    Yahoo Weather’s widget is also cool IMHO.

    • Alexander Gold

      Worst widget ever try Forecast+

      • diggitydang

        I’ll put a vote in for Forecast+ too, along with the developers package for Agenda+ and Paste+. I like Forecast+ because you can add the widget without using location services (just add the city) and it doesn’t give you the “Weather Not Available” message. It also means that it doesn’t do a location search (draining battery) when you open NC as you aren’t always looking for the weather when you open NC.

      • andy

        I like forecast+ better but needs fix and stuff 🙂

    • Zzyzxd

      I think it’s cool to have weather info in NC. But the Yahoo’s app…I just hate those fancy weather pics since they are too big to fit in NC.

    • Lance Baker

      I like it. Just wish that there wasn’t that blank space on the left. Also, a lot of widgets have empty space at the bottom. The stock widget does the same thing and drives me crazy. It isn’t like that on Yosemite.

  • mehrab

    Can’t believe how pretty much nobody knows about ‘launcher’ one of the most useful widgets by far lets you access a bunch of apps from the notification centre

    • Apple pulled it from App Store.

      • Jonathan

        Well that’s lame…

      • What’s even more lame is that the developer followed all of the rules and even submitted a fix that opened launcher first and then launcher would open the selected app yet Apple rejected the app still despite there being no rules saying the apps existence is not allowed or that the widget was not allowed to do what it did…

      • Jonathan

        Wowza. I was hoping to get that too…(I’m still on 7.1.2) Oh well, happily jailbroken. Isn’t there a tweak that does do that?

      • The tweak AppTray comes to mind but it’s not really as elegant as Launcher and I also don’t think it has received updated for iOS 7.1.X

      • Jonathan

        Well bummer. :/

      • andy

        Because of jealously.
        No wonder why apple is going downhill.

    • HooDatty

      It’s been gone for days dude.

  • Frank Anthony

    PCalc Lite – Super Awesome! More like this please 😉

  • “Countdowns with Widget” (pretty self explanatory) is a good one, too. And free!

  • I’m also an Evernote junkie and am absolutely looking forward to this and the other widgets when I can JB iOS 8. Cheers Jeff and thanks for the vid!

    • Lordthree

      Jailbreak? Not for these widgets

      • Leo

        I think he means he will wait on iOS7 before updating to iOS 8 since there is no jailbreak

  • Ali Majid

    Hi jeff
    How could you hide your carrie in the iphone 6 when you recorded this video ?? 😉

    • Agru

      QuickTime does it since iOS 8

  • Chang in Charge

    I’m over these widgets none of them have added any real benefit. I just find myself downloading widgets just because they are new. If they were on the homescreen or lockscreen definitely but in NC they are tucked away so its still Tap Tap Scroll or whatever to access the information.

    • diggitydang

      I think developers just need time to create them. If you allow NC from the lock screen, it’s just wake and slide down to open NC. I don’t think its a big deal. I think people just have a pre-conceived notion of what widgets are (because of Android). While I can respect that people like widgets on their home screens, I find that they make the screens look messy, cluttered and unorganized. Again, that’s just me. Apple cares so much about design and a simple user experience, that tucking it away seems logical and I actually like it. Like you, I just think that there aren’t very many good ones right now. Give it time though.

    • darkcrayon

      But if they’re on the home screen, and you’re in another app, you have to exit the app, look at or interact with the widget, and then reopen the app. I’m sure it depends on the individual situation but I prefer to have them globally available rather than just on the home screen.

  • Richard King

    Thanks for the math tip!!! I would always multiply by .07 then add the original price! 2 shortcuts for the price of one! Sweet

  • CAS

    DataMan widget is beautiful and useful

    • Lance Baker

      Probably my favorite.

  • Joonyaboy

    Thanks Jeff for the I monitor widget!

    • eKoknight

      It is a good one. I mention it in a artticle a day or two. My guess is he saw my post regarding it or saw it before I post it. Either way it comes in handy.

  • I just don’t understand these widgets. They are extremely pointless so far if you ask me. They took an ancient software concept and put it in a 2014 mobile OS. That’s how I see it. Take a look at the jailbreak tweak ProWidgets for example, the word widget aside, that offers much richer interactions with apps without opening them! These widgets not only clutter up your notification center (why are they even there..) because each one takes up a lot of screen space (yeah yeah you and your 6+ don’t mind..) I can go on and on. It’s just shameful this widget feature in iOS8 is so unimaginative and poorly executed (and that includes how ‘launcher’ was removed too, one that’s actually handy in there..) sigh. sigh. sigh. Come on people, show me I’m not the only frustrated one around?

    • CollegiateLad

      Nope… Can’t say that notification center has frustrated me.

    • Lance Baker

      I’d rather them be there than on the homescreen. Plus they are accessible anywhere including the lockscreen. It’s still early to say they are useless. Developers are just scratching the surface of what can be done.

      • Reachability opens the top half of the home screen; a great place to put a widget

      • Lance Baker

        Indeed. Looking forward to what jailbreak will do for this.

      • How long do you think before they crack 8.1? Would any jailbreak affect the security of ApplePay?

      • Of course they have potential, but they should be able to do much more than just display date or forward to an app. Even if a dev comes up with something great to do with it, Apple’s going to shoot it down (either out of self interest or to “protect” us.

  • deepdvd

    Jeff, Why didn’t Paste+ widget automatically update to show the “535” in your clipboard after you hit Copy on the PCalc Lite widget? Do you have to close notification center and re-open for it to update?

  • CA

    iMonitor is perfect, thanks Jeff!! Keep these coming ;p

  • Frizzle

    i never knew about pcalc and imonitor. both have really cool widgets that’s like a jailbreak tweak. thanks jeff.

  • Sir.Rhommi

    My Current Widgets

  • @dongiuj

    Widgets on the home screen please apple.

  • Techsticles

    Most of these widgets are just way too BIG. If the developers won’t limit themselves, it’d be great if Apple put some size options in. I’d love to see some slim widgets from developers like Next Appointment, Next Reminder, one breaking news article, most recent DropBox File, last site added to Pocket/Instagram.

  • Alexa21

    Wunderlist and Calendar 5 have helpful widgets that show your tasks and events that you have for the day.

  • thefinestpiece

    Can we have this section every week. It would be appreciated.

  • Stefano

    I’ve noticed since I got the iPhone 6 I can’t watch the videos on iDB anymore, I have to go to YouTube to watch them. Was something updated on iDB or is this an iOS 8 thing. Feeling annoyed and confused

  • Oh for the love of the Titanic; could someone please do a nice large digital clock widget….for NC.

    • lemonhead

      Widget has a few you can choose from 🙂

      • still can’t find anything better than the time zone widget; if anyone knows of a well designed digital clock; give a hollar

  • TotallySerious

    RIP Launcher 🙁

  • momerathe

    I’ve used the evernote widget a fair bit, and while it’s a useful shortcut what I’d really want is the ability to create the note without leaving the notification center/ opening the full app.

    I can see myself using the PCalc one too.

  • Smeltn

    I was really hoping to see the ESPN Scorecenter app working on the iPad but it doesn’t. There is no notification center widget at all showing up for iPad ONLY iPhone.

  • Soheilmonzavi

    try Vidgets, its great