5 Notification Center widgets I use every day

By , Jan 25, 2016

my favorite notification center widgets for ios 9

When it comes to my own personal iPhone, many of the apps I use on a daily basis have Notification Center widgets that provide information to and even have shortcuts to different actions right from inside of Notification Center.

Apple originally introduced the ability for third-party app developers to create Notification Center widgets with iOS 8, so long as they follow strict guidelines, but that doesn’t keep them from being useful.

In this roundup, I’ll share my five favorite Notification Center widgets that I use on a daily basis and why I like them.

The ones I just can’t live without

All of the Notification Center widgets you’re about to read about are the ones that I like to use on a regular basis – they’re not necessarily new, and that’s not to say they’re going to fit your tastes either. Regardless, here are my top five third-party Notification Center widgets that I use from the App Store.

notification center widgets best apps

1. Deliveries

deliveries icon

Deliveries is by far my favorite way to keep track of all my outgoing and incoming packages. It’s not a free app – it’s actually $1.99 in the App Store, but it’s one of the most in-depth delivery-tracking apps I’ve ever found and I love the features it gives you for helping you understand where your packages are and determining when they will arrive at their destinations.

The Notification Center widget is nice and simple, and it’s to the point. The widget shows the name of whatever you’re tracking, and then it tells you in super large text how many days you can expect before it arrives at its destination. If the package was delivered, you’ll see a delivered icon instead of a number of days, as it does in my case above.

The Notification Center widget also lets you know where the most recent scan of the package took place, so you have an idea where it is, and this lets you know if your packages are getting where they need to go before you even open the Deliveries app to find out if it is or not, but in the event where you do want to open the app, you can just tap on the widget to launch it.

It’s also nice to see when the widget was most recently updated, which is included in the widget so you can tell if it’s keeping the data up to date or not (and you can bet it does).

2. MacID

MacID icon

MacID, which I previously shared as being one of my favorite Mac and iOS apps to use on a regular basis, is also one of my favorite Notification Center widgets for iOS. At $3.99 in the App Store, it’s not a particularly cheap app, but its ability to unlock your Mac with your Touch ID fingerprint scanner makes the price way worth it.

MacID includes its own Notification Center widget for iOS, which I use pretty frequently. The two main buttons shown allow you to quickly toggle the screensaver on your Mac, which works beautifully with the Apple Watch face screensaver we just shared with you, and quickly send your iOS device’s clipboard over to your Mac so that you can paste on your Mac whatever you had copied on your iOS device.

Another feature of the widget is that you can tap on the name of your computer, where you see the text “tap to lock” and it will lock your Mac, forcing you to unlock it either with a password, or with your MacID Bluetooth connection and Touch ID.

The nice display of your computer’s profile picture, centered up with some useful buttons in an all-in-one awesome app makes this one of my favorite Notification Center widgets to use on a daily basis.

3. Fantastical 2

fantastical 2 icon

I hate the Calendar Notification Center widget that Apple created; I mean I actually hate it with the burning intensity of several Suns. It’s clunky, large, and a waste of space (in my opinion), so that’s why I enjoy the Fantastical 2 Notification Center widget alternative, which at $4.99 in the App Store, still may be a costly option, but well worth it if you were to ask me.

What I like about the Fantastical 2 Notification Center widget is the way that the entire month is consolidated into a single widget that only takes up about an inch of the screen. Small colored dots on each of the individual dates let you know the days of the month when something is going on, while a list of events appear below the calendar when you actually have an event coming up.

The calendar in the widget is interactive, and you can tap on the individual dates to see information about those dates. You can even tap on the right and left arrows to navigate between months in the calendar and see previous or upcoming months right from Notification Center without ever having to launch the app.

Call me a neat-freak, but I love the way Fantastical 2 organizes the information in Control Center compared to Apple’s mess of a Calendar widget. To me, it’s the ultimate Calendar app upgrade for iOS users.

4. Yahoo Weather

yahoo weather app icon

I feel like this one may have already been beaten to death with coverage because of its popularity, but nonetheless, I still just love it. Yahoo has gone above and beyond to create a beautiful Yahoo Weather app experience for iOS users, and the app, which is a free download from the App Store, is still better than Apple’s own Weather app in so many ways.

Apple’s pathetic excuse for weather information in Notification Center is bludgeoned to death by this immersive Notification Center widget, which visually expresses the conditions outside with a crisp and stunning background image, and then shows the high and low along with the current conditions outside. The widget even goes as far as to tell you what you can expect in the later part of the day.

The Yahoo Weather widget is also a tappable shortcut to the Yahoo Weather app itself, which gives you even more detailed information about the weather you’ll be experiencing outside during your day.

What I can say about the Yahoo Weather widget for Notification Center is that it feels like it feels a void that Notification Center needed filled, and I don’t like to have Notification Center without it.

5. Dropbox

dropbox icon

I use Dropbox, which is a free download from the App Store, a lot for moving image files from iOS to Mac, and since I do so much of that kind of file transferring, I will forget about what I’m transferring at times as I move from project to project. Since I’m such a huge Dropbox user, I use the widget that the app comes with for Notification Center to remind myself of the most recent additions to Dropbox before I forget about them and move to the next thing on my plate.

The widget is a dead-simple one where the Dropbox team has focused the design on a list of the most recently-uploaded files. The widget shows you when these files were added, shows a small Dropbox-designed preview of what type of file it is, and also displays the file’s name in Notification Center.

By tapping on any of the items, the Dropbox app launches and loads the content that you tapped on, so if I were to tap on my iDownloadBlog icon that I just uploaded to Dropbox, Notification Center would close, the Dropbox app would open, and Dropbox would then load the iDownloadBlog icon.

It’s a great way for me to keep track of things from an interface that’s easy to get to from anywhere in iOS, and best of all, Dropbox didn’t cost me a dime!


For the most part, these are the only third-party widgets I use on my iPhone. There are other great ones out there, but these are certainly my top five. I like utilitarian widgets and widgets that actually look nice. I don’t like widgets that take up too much space and widgets that don’t really show a lot of information, and so I steer clear of junk.

In terms of what I consider useful in a Notification Center widget, I want to see information that I’m going to keep coming back for, or that I can refresh on a regular basis and not always see the same thing over and over again. I’m not a fan of widgets that have nothing but buttons that direct you straight to the parent app, because that seems kind of pointless – you might as well launch the app itself at that point, right?

In terms of my interests, I know some people are going to wonder where my sports-tracking widget is, but the thing is, I’m just not much of a sports person to care about sports scores. This is why when it comes to Notification Center widgets, opinions are going to vary.

What are your favorite Notification Center widgets? – Share in the comments below!

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  • Linton Findlay

    Workflow and Authy are my personal Favorites. PCalc is useful too

  • Hi

    Runescacpe Invention skill coming out in 30 mins!!!!!! #hype

    • 9to5Slavery


  • Manujito

    Is there a Windows counterpart of MacID?

    • Anthony Bouchard

      Not that I am aware of 🙁

  • iOS Kush

    Think the public was looking for FREE widgets. I’ll never pay three dollars for an App.

    • ericesque

      Oh, I don’t know. Plenty of people aren’t cheap…

      • iOS Kush

        I’m not cheap its just when the option to Jailbreak is a choice along with getting free apps whats the point?

      • 9to5Slavery

        It’s nice to see what is Paid and unPaid or the lite side of the app. There’s nothing wrong. I’m sure people have their cheap characteristics, but there’s nothing wrong with trying not to spend every dollar you have. Remember to some 1 dollar is an hour of work on minimum wage before taxes.

    • igorsky

      I agree…because developers aren’t entitled to be paid for their hard work. Because you.

      • :D

        We aren’t obliged to buy something just because hard work went into it

    • Anthony Bouchard

      I think that’s irrelevant. I’ve paid $3 for an app before and I’m still happy with using the widgets they come with.

      • Anonymous

        I agree, hell ive paid way more then three dollars for an app. And it was worth ever penny because the developers keep up dating it.

      • SuperMatt

        Clearly wasn’t written by Marco Arment… 😉

    • 9to5Slavery

      Delivered instead of Deliveries

  • Ds

    DataMan and Neato are the ones I use most.

    • 9to5Slavery

      Neato would of been good to use.

      • Ds

        I like neato a lot actually. I always forget that I have it until I need to take a quick note for something. i.e call someone, pay bill, get something from the store. The only thing I wish neato would do work in landscape so that I could use it on my ipad as well.

  • Jack Wong

    This is the only site that I would turn off the AD block.

    I really like the article from here, unlike the other sites, they just talk about the same news from all the other sites…

    Back to this, I have retired Dropbox and go with Synology Cloud.

    As for Mac ID, does it drain a lot of battery?

    • Anthony Bouchard

      Thanks Jack! MacID doesn’t drain a lot of battery because it utilizes Bluetooth low energy. I haven’t noticed any draw from it as long as I’ve been using it. Thanks too for your input!

  • Regginald Williams

    I like launcher

  • QuarterSwede

    The Logitech Harmony app widget for me is awesome. It allows control without having to have app open. Great for times I just need to turn the volume down or up and I’m not near the remote. A must if you have kids.

  • Jared

    I gave up on yahoo weather when they started injecting those massively annoying ads in the middle of the forecast.

  • 9to5Slavery

    BeWeather 2 is up there too. Along with the customization in the app and also various widgets available in the NC. Favorite is the when it starts raining in next 5/10/15/30/1hr etc etc with a mini rain/snow weather effect. Tells me the next 3 days.

    Dropbox I do agree.

    WidgetCal to see the calendar events thats linked with iOS or other platforms.

    OnSwitch for Philips Hue Lights Toggles, turn on living room.

    Waze – The widget not to open the sluggish app but to click on toggle like “Home” “Work” will direct straight to destination so I can see what was reported like the police (so I won’t get caught for not speeding but for someone else speeding) objects and etc with my road summary journey. Like that one time Waze saved me from running over a mattress on the highway when it was right on the entire whole one lane, was able to signal hazards for others as well.

    on the other note one thing I do miss is that numbers of app notifications I can limit i.e. 5 instead of 20 or remove whole app option on notification tab in NC

    • Anthony Bouchard

      All wonderful suggestions!

  • Neve forget Launcher!

  • Markieze Mitchell

    I have always found the Cellular Data widget to be wrong compared to what my data plan actually say. For the battery widget, I do not trust either because the displayed timing has always varied for my phone.

  • fbara

    I’ve been using MacID for over a year; at least I was using it. It became very flaky and would often put my computer to sleep while I was typing. I played with all the settings so see if I could make it stop but nothing helped. I ended up uninstalling it.

  • Troy Schuler

    Hey Anthony, not sure if you knew this, but long hold on a day on the Fantastical 2 widget to create new event/reminder. My favorite feature of the widget. Makes reminders quick and easy.

    • Anthony Bouchard

      Thanks Troy!

  • TotallySerious

    I use the DataMan widget so much that i sometimes forget it’s a widget and think it’s part of the phone. Mooncast is also a nice novelty widget imo

  • Jesus

    Here’s the list of my widgets in order. Agenda widget+, near by transet, not sure why I have that one there, I think its an apple widget, but it doesn’t seem to work. I’ll give it a bit more time before I remove it. Next, is carrot weather, swarm, and parsel package tracking. Actually, I had fantastical, but the widget was just a little more complex than I wanted to deal with, and I don’t have enough events to make it worth the complexity, so I have to thank the team at iDownload for turning me on to agenda widget+. Carrot weather is nice, gives me a few stats about the day, along with a comment that lets me know what the weather is like outside before I head out, and swarm, well, that’s nice to let my friends know where I am without having to go though the trouble of unlocking my phone. I don’t mind paying parcel two bucks every year to make sure it stays around, so that’s fine with me, the ability to hide the widget unless UI have a delivory coming up is nice, since I don’t have that meny to deal with.

  • Sir.Rhommi

    My current dailies

    • 9to5Slavery