Widgets are nothing new; they've been around on Android phones for quite some time, but are only now starting to become a more mainstream feature on iPhones and iPads.While app icons are motionless on your home screen, app widgets give you at-a-glance visibility into everything that’s happening within apps.
With so many widgets to choose from, it can be difficult to find the best one for your iPad and iPad Pro.So here's a list of the best iPad widgets you should start using right now.
1. Calendar widget
If you use a digital calendar, you should check out the Apple Calendar widget.Many other calendar apps have corresponding widgets in the App Store, but Apple's built-in calendar widget is still one of the best.
There are many different widget sizes and configurations to choose from, and they can be personalized to your synced calendars.If you prefer to use Google's and Outlook's calendars, this widget will work too.
If you only want to see your work or personal calendar, once you've added it to your home screen, long press on the widget, then tap Edit Widget.Make sure the Mirror Calendar App is closed, then click the Calendars option below.Here, you can choose which calendars you want to see in the widget.
If you want to see all events on all calendars, keep Mirror Calendar app enabled.
Download: Calendar (free)
2. Shortcuts widget
To get the most out of your iPad and increase your productivity, you need the Shortcuts app and its corresponding widgets.Apple's Shortcuts app allows you to automate certain programs and activate a series of instructions with a single tap or Siri command.
If you're not already using Shortcuts, open the Shortcuts app and try some of the preset shortcuts before adding widgets to your iPad.When you're done, go back to your home screen and add the "Shortcuts" widget for easy access to those shortcuts.
There are many different options to choose from, so you're sure to find a handy and useful shortcut within minutes.
Download: Shortcuts (free)
3. Google Drive Widget
If you use Google Drive, its widgets are a handy addition to your iPad's home screen.You can configure the Google Drive widget to display recent files, or to display shortcuts to common Google Drive actions.
You can choose widgets of different sizes and configure them by long-pressing and selecting "Edit Widget".You can view your recent Google Drive documents by turning on "Show Selected Files"; you can turn this option off if you want the widget to act as a shortcut to common Google Drive actions.
This widget is handy if you frequently transfer files between your iPad and your Mac or PC.
Download: Google Drive (Free, subscription available)
4. Google Maps Widget
If you commute a lot, it's worth adding a Google Maps widget to your home screen.
You might wonder why Apple Maps isn’t a top map recommendation, but the truth is, the Apple Maps widget is relatively limited in functionality.By contrast, the Google Maps widget can provide real-time information on a pinned trip and can be configured to show the latest traffic conditions or help you find nearby places.
If you want to set up the Google Maps widget to display real-time data about your commute or travel, you should first pin your itinerary in the Google Maps app.To do this, determine the direction of travel and tap the "Pin" option in the lower right corner of the screen.You can long-press on the widget, select "Edit Widget" and choose the pinned itinerary whose data you want to display.
Many people use this feature to determine the best time to leave work, or when to resume work.
Download: Google Maps (free)
5. Mail widget
Next, we have the Apple Mail widget.If you work on an iPad, this widget is a great way to monitor your unread emails or a specific inbox.
Once you've added the widget to your home screen, long press on the widget and tap Edit Widget to select the mailboxes you want to view.You can also choose to view your entire inbox or just your unread messages.
If you're using Spotlight mode on your iPad, you can set your Home screen to show work emails in one spotlight and personal emails in another.This is much easier than manually checking your email every once in a while.
Download: Email (free)
6. World Clock Widget
This one might not be of interest to everyone, but for those who work across time zones, it's a lifesaver.The world clock widget is just one of the clock widget options, which allows you to view up to four different clocks, set at locations of your choice.
Once you've added the widget to your home screen, long-press it, tap Edit Widget, and choose the cities you want the widget to display.You can also rearrange the cities by holding down on the three lines next to each city and dragging them up or down the list.
It's not the prettiest clock widget around, but since it comes preloaded on the iPad, you don't need to download any extra apps to access it.
Download: Clock (free)
7. Flip Clock widget
If you don't like the aesthetic of the clock app widget, you might prefer the minimalist view of the flip clock widget.First, download and open the Flip Clock app to customize your widget settings.
The app is free, but if you want to remove ads or access advanced color options, you'll need to upgrade by paying a one-time fee.However, if you like the black and white color scheme and don't intend to use the app for anything other than widgets, the free version will suffice.
Open the app and tap the gear icon in the upper right corner.Then, tap Widget Settings.Here, you can customize your small, medium and large widgets.Choose a 12-hour or 24-hour clock, decide whether to display seconds, and pick from a handful of free color themes.
When you're done, go back to your home screen and add your new custom flip clock widget.
Download: Flip clock (Free, with in-app purchases)
8. Reminders widget
There's no shortage of to-do list apps on the iPad, and while some have decent widget options, most fall short or aren't worth the effort to set up.While the pre-installed Apple Reminders program might not allow you to customize the colors, it's more functional than most, and best of all, it's free!
Like most widgets, Reminders is only as good as what you ask of it.While you can set it to show all tasks, if you want to get the most out of the widget, you need to set the list in Reminders.
Lists enable you to customize your widget experience and segment your tasks.For example, you can set up one widget to display work-related tasks, while another is family-related.
Download: Reminders (free)
9. Weather widget
The weather widget is a very useful tool that is available on your iPad.Whether you're at work, school, or home, knowing the weather can help you plan appropriately.This is great for those who commute on foot.
Once properly set up, it can display accurate weather data for your current location.That way, when you're on the road, you can stay up to date without having to manually open the app each time.The weather widget also warns you of thunderstorms, severe weather and air quality alerts.
The small widget shows the temperature, the middle widget shows the hourly forecast, and the large widget shows the weekly forecast.
Download: Weather (free)
Take advantage of the best iPad widgets
Finding the best widgets for your iPad and iPad Pro has never been easier.Whether you're working on your iPad, sharing it with your kids, or splitting usage between work and play, using widgets will improve your user experience.There are tons of different widgets you can add to your home screen, and we think the options above are the best.
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