When Apple first revealed that iOS users would be able to access information from the Lock screen in iOS 8, I wasn’t that excited. I’ve never had a problem just unlocking my iPhone and opening the app I want to get information from. However, once Notification Center extensions became available, I was hooked. Now, I’ve got to-do lists, weather forecasts, news updates, and all kinds of widgets sitting on my Today view.
Everyone at iDB is excited about widgets, so it was pretty easy to come up with a big list of nominations. However, it was hard to narrow it down to the best one. With much hair pulling involved, we came to a final vote. The list below reveals our winner for best Notification Center widget, as well as the runner-ups. Since the feature has only existed for a few months, we are not going to name any “best ever” widget this year.
The best Notification Center widget of 2014
Fantastical 2 users received a nice surprise in late October when the calendar app was updated for iOS 8 to include a Notification Center widget. In the Today view, right on your Lock screen, you can see the month at a glance. Plus, check out your events for today. Without having to open your device, you can also see what is going on during any day of the current month. You can also switch from one month to another to see what the future holds for you. Wondering what that event is scheduled for Monday? Tap it to open it directly. This app is available on the iPhone for $4.99 and the iPad for $9.99.
The runner ups
We live a busy life. Whether we are picking up the kids, grocery shopping, hitting the gym, or celebrating with friends, we’ve got a lot to do and it is easy to forget some important events if we don’t pay attention. This app puts a calendar of events and a reminder list right on your Today view. When you are organizing your day’s chores, you can easily glance at prescheduled events that you must work around. If you’ve got a meeting coming up that you’d like to get more information on, you can view it in Event Details without having to leave Notification Center. Don’t use reminders lists? No problem. You can hide the features and only see your calendar of events. This app is available for $1.99.
Until iOS 8, copying and pasting text was kind of a pain. If I wanted to send a message to someone with two different copied sentences, I’d have to practically perform acrobatic feats. Clips makes it possible for you to copy data from apps, calendars, emails, and more. Then, save them in Notification Center. You can even save images to the app. However, if they are too large, you won’t see them on your Today view. Instead, you can access them from the Clips app. Then, open the document you wish to paste all of the copied content into. Paste one item, then bring down Notification Center to grab the next item. Tap to copy. Then past it into your document. Done. This app is available for free.
When Yahoo launched its Weather app in spring of 2013, we were pretty impressed with how it looked. At the time, there were not many apps showcasing the look that has become so common after iOS 7 dropped. This year, with the advent of iOS 8, Yahoo Weather received an update that put the beautiful imagery right in your Notification Center. Plus, the app also gives you a quick rundown of the current temperature, the highs and lows, the afternoon forecast, and the evening’s predictions. The conditions will change throughout the day as time passes and that storm does, too. If you want more details on the week ahead, tap the widget to open the five or 10 day forecast. This app is available for free.
Being that Evernote is one of our most favorite productivity apps, it is not a surprise that we appreciate the additional convenience we get from being able to quickly go to a specific section of the app right from Notification Center. The widget features an at-a-glance view of recently viewed notes. Plus, a list of Evernote quick note categories are displayed. Tap category and it will open to create a new note. Add text, pictures, reminders, and lists. If you tap one of the recently viewed items, you will be redirected to it within Evernote. This app is available for free.
If you are the type of person that needs to know how your favorite teams are fairing, but don’t want to take flack from someone that just doesn’t understand how important it is, the ESPN SportsCenter app will help you out. By adding your favorite teams to your lineup, and then adding the widget in Notification Center, you‘ll be able to quickly glance at the current score of a game. You can also play live radio from Notification Center. For an added bonus, if you set up notifications in the app, you can watch or listen to a game from a game alert by swiping to the left when you receive the notification. This app is available for free.
What is your favorite Notification Center widget? Let us know in the comments below.
Best of 2014
- The best apps with Touch ID support of 2014
- The best Games of 2014
- The best Health & Fitness apps of 2014
- The best Weather apps of 2014
- The best News apps of 2014
- The best Photo apps of 2014