How To Curate Your iPhone’s Home Screen With The New Widget Tool

So satisfying.

On Sept. 16, Apple released the iPhone’s latest operating system, iOS 14. The upgrade has a few features that make life easier, like direct replies in group chats and a new translation app, but one upgrade will make your life harder in the best possible way — the newly customizable Home Screen with widgets, graphic icons that offer a summary of an app at a glance. Using widgets on your iPhone’s Home Screen in iOS 14, you can quickly see information from an app without having to open it. For example, you can see the date, or press play on an audio book, or start a workout, without having to scan for the app or wait for it to load. With a little bit of know-how, you can make these new icons extremely cute.

TikTokers in particular are super jazzed about these new capabilities. Over the weekend, videos with the hashtag #ios14homescreen raked in over 130 million views. These videos show tutorials on how to personalize your iPhone’s appearance with different colors, photos, shortcuts, and more. TikTokers (who admit to having spent hours working on their designs) have created beautiful seasonal themes and color schemes that completely change the vibe of their phones. There’s plenty of inspiration floating around to help your make your iPhone look like a bullet journal, or Inspector Gadget’s iPhone, if that’s what you’re into.

With the help of a few different free apps, people are customizing the font, color scheme, layout, and graphics on their Home Screen, which is oddly satisfying to watch. And if you miss staying up all night to customize your LiveJournal, it’s surprisingly fun to play with.

How To Add Widgets To Your Home Screen In iOS 14

First, you’ll need to make sure your phone is using iOS 14, so head to Settings to check for an update if you haven’t already. Once you’re updated, it’s time to play with your Apple’s basic widget settings. To add native widgets, long-press on your Home Screen, just as you would when you go to move an app to a folder or delete an app. In the top left-hand corner, you’ll see a plus sign. This will lead you to the widgets menu. From there, you can add your music player or the Notes app to the Home Screen. You can then move these widgets around to organize your Home Screen by different blocks. Get familiar with this process before you move on to customizing your screen with fonts, icons or colors.

How To Add Shortcuts To Your Home Screen In iOS 14

If you want to customize what an app looks like, you’ll need to use the Shortcuts app, which comes preinstalled on your iPhone. Open Shortcuts, and tap the plus sign in the upper right corner. To create a shortcut for an action within an app, like composing a text to your mom or turning on a smart light, select "App" and search for the action you want to create. To create a Shortcut that simply opens an app, select Scripting, then hit "Open App," and select the app you want to open. Hit the ellipsis on the upper right hand corner to name the Shortcut, give it a color and icon, and add it to your Home Screen. You can even use pictures from your photo roll as the icon — so, if your Home Screen theme is "fall," you might use a photo of autumn leaves for that icon. (The super ~aesthetic~ widgets you make in Widgetsmith won’t open anything, so keep this in mind when you’re deciding how to customize your Home Screen.)

You can simply save the Shortcut as an icon that looks like an app, and hide the normal app the Shortcut’s replacing by moving it to your app library, an option that pops up if you long-press on your Home Screen to edit it, then tap the icon of the app. You can also create a widget from the Shortcut by following the same process for widgets.

Once all of your snazzy new Shortcuts have been exported to your Home Screen, you can organize them, put them in groups, and arrange them by holding down a tap to the background of the Home Screen.

How To Use Widgetsmith To Customize Your Home Screen

The super cute, design-y widgets TikTokers are using come from the app Widgetsmith, though Color Widget and Photo Widget work similarly. Once you download Widgetsmith, you can create small, medium and large widgets to decorate your Home Screen with. For example, you can create a custom calendar widget in your choice of font and color to be displayed on your screen. It won’t display any appointments you have on your personal calendar, but it is very chic. You can also add text widgets — so if there’s a quote that inspires you, you can see it on your Home Screen — and other fun options. Tab through the different settings to select the font and color choices that feel most you, then save the widgets.

To bring the widgets to the Home Screen, press and hold the background of your Home Screen to get into edit mode. Tap the plus sign on the upper left hand corner of the screen. Then, scroll down to Widgetsmith and select the size widget you’re looking to upload.. You can have small, medium, or large widgets, as many of each as you choose. If you made a small calendar widget, scroll to Small widget, then select the icon.

Your Small widget will then be added to your Home Screen. You can edit widget placement from the edit mode of your Home Screen, and add new ones at any time. Chances are, once you start customizing, you won’t stop.

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