Widget

Upcoming ‘iOS Blocks’ tweak aims to change the way you interact with apps on iOS

Last year, we posted information on a research paper and iOS concept called iOS Blocks. Jay Machalani (@technofou), the brains behind the concept, suggests that an interface that combines Windows Phone’s live tiles and Android’s widgets, would be a best-of-both-worlds-scenario for iOS users.

iOS Blocks would essentially allow users to have proper widgets on the iOS Home screen, but the concept is put together in a way that make it totally seamless and transparent to users who prefer to use iOS like they always have. The widgets would mix the uniformity and standardization enjoyed by Windows live tiles with the interaction of Android’s widget system. It’s a smart idea with hours of research and presentation. I highly recommend that you read the original post on Machalani’s blog.

Obviously, Apple didn’t bring any sort of Home screen widget system to iOS 8, but it did give us Notification Center widgets. As if it needs to be said, Notification Center widgets are a far cry from iOS Blocks—a feature that would add significant depth to the iOS Home screen experience.

So after a year, what’s been made of this project and its corresponding research? Well, I have some good news: It’s being developed into a real working tweak, according to this post on reddit by someone closely associated with the project.

This widget adds a phone dialer to Notification Center

There are dozens of apps out there that offer a streamlined interface so you can find contacts and make phone calls quickly and easily, but how many can you count will put a widget on your Lock screen so you can make phone calls in Notification Center?

YoBu is a Notification Center extension that allows you to search for contacts by name or number, and then call them right from the Today view on your Lock screen.

WidgetCenter now available on Cydia

WidgetCenter—the Reachability piggybacking tweak that we previewed a while back—is finally available on Cydia after some delays. From developer Mitch Treece, who’s well-known for tweaks like Aero, Deck, Fancy, and more, it’s one of the better looking Reachability releases that I’ve seen thus far.

Foursquare gains iOS 8 widget, can now serve recommendations without logging in

After adding a widget to its check-in app called Swarm back in December, Foursquare’s main iPhone application today finally received a brand new Today widget for iOS 8’s Notification Center of its own.

Moreover, the latest 8.7 update added personalized recommendations while logged out, so you don’t need to even have an account with Foursquare to receive tips and recommendations about nearby places.

Just open the app to get started.

1SecMoney review: record income and expenses right from Notification Center

How people keep track of finances is a personal preference. Some like complex, feature rich programs that allow them to connect and follow all of their income and expenses meticulously. Others are happy with simplicity.

1SecMoney is a simple finance-tracking app that lets you add daily additions and subtractions for your bank and credit card accounts. You can also input items directly from Notification Center using the Today widget. We’ve got a hands-on app review of 1SecMoney for you today.

New upcoming WidgetCenter tweak brings widgets to Reachability view

Reachability has been all of the rage for jailbreak app developers as of late, and why not? It’s one of the big features for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and it’s an obvious area that can be exploited to provided extra functionality. ReachApp—a tweak that’s still in beta—is a good example of a tweak that takes good advantage of Reachability, and now another upcoming jailbreak tweak is in the works that will breathe new life into Reachability as well.

WidgetCenter is an upcoming release that allows users to access widgets directly from Reachability view. This dynamically adjusting tweak provides impressive functionality, animations, and loads of future potential expandability. Developer Mitch Treece has provided iDownloadBlog with a first look at his upcoming creation, and of course, we’ve created a hands-on video to show it off to you.

Cheatsheet: a widget for all those little things you can’t remember

Your license plate, your driver license number, your hotel room number, the combination of your locker at the gym. All these are little things that we sometimes need to have quick access to but not necessarily remember. This is where an app like Cheatsheet comes in handy. Simply write things down in Cheatsheet and refer to them at any time directly from the widget in the Today tab of Notification Center.

NC brings a Twitter widget to Notification Center

Up until a few months ago, if you wanted to have a Twitter widget in Notification Center, you would have had to go the jailbreak way and find a tweak that would allow you to do just that. But since the release of iOS 8, and Apple opening up its mobile operating software for developers to create extensions, we’ve seen some really neat apps and widgets taking advantage of the new possibilities. NC is one of those.

NC is a new app that lets you add a Twitter widget to the Today tab of Notification Center, and from our usage of the app for the last few days, we can say it works as advertised.

TodayRemote is a widget with iTunes playback controls

With Apple’s Remote app, you can access your computer’s iTunes playback controls so you don’t have to get off the couch to switch songs. But, unlocking your iPhone, opening the app, and selecting your device is still just way too much work.

TodayRemote lets you control playback of iTunes right from the Lock screen of your iPhone. You’ll never have to work for your music again.

This widget lets you play Minesweeper directly from Notification Center

Minesweeper Widget Edition is a new app launching in the App Store today that, as you might have guessed, brings a playable Minesweeper widget to the Today tab of Notification Center. Developed by the same guy who made Overglide, another playable Notification Center widget, Minesweeper Widget Edition promises to offer short and quick gaming to make your wait in line at the grocery store ever so enjoyable.

Thermos lets you control your Nest from Notification Center on iPhone and iPad

Thermos for iPhone and iPad is the first application to let you control your Nest thermostat directly from your iPhone or iPad’s Notification Center. Already available for Mac (read our review), Thermos has now made its way to iOS with a Notification Center widget that allows Nest user to adjust the temperature of the thermostat, as well as setting it to Away, or turning it off altogether.

Spotify4Me, the Spotify Notification Center widget for Mac

Ever since Apple updated iOS and OS X with the ability to add extensions to Notification Center, I’ve been all about the widgets. On my Mac, I’ve got weather widgets, to-do lists, countdowns, and package trackers. I love them. I want more.

Spotify4Me is a Notification Center extension that adds song skip and volume controls to your Today View. It may not do much, but what it does, it does right.