Configure the Notification Centre in iOS 9 with Widgets

Configure the Notification Centre in iOS 9

Among iOS 8's many new features are some good ways to let you interact with your apps without actually having to open them. Interactive notifications are one example, and another is the brand-new widgets available in Notification Centre. Getting started takes a little bit of setup, but once you have that done you will be relying less on your grid of icons and swiping right into your favourite widget for quickly accessing what you need. There are already several great widgets, so be sure to keep your apps updated so you'll have access to widgets as developers roll them out. 

Add some widgets

Instead of implementing widgets on the home screen, Apple opted to place widgets in Notification Centre under the "Today" tab. Doing so keeps widgets out of the way, free from cluttering your home screen, yet makes them available with a quick gesture.  You just pull down Notification Centre from the lock screen (if enabled), home screen, or from within any app, and if you're not already in the Today view, you simply tap the Today tab at the top. A few of Apple's own selections are already in place including Today Summary, Traffic Conditions, Calendar, Reminders, Stocks, and Tomorrow Summary.

What's new is what's at the bottom: an Edit button and a notification area that tells you how many new third-party widgets are available to you. Tap the Edit button and you can enable or disable any of the built-in widgets and reorder them any way you like. Tap the New Widget notification and you can add any new, custom widget that has become available.

Tap the Green + button to add the widget, tap the Red - button to delete a widget.

Tap the Green + button to add the widget, tap the Red - button to delete a widget.

My widgets at the moment. I removed the annoying Apple widgets and replaced them with the Readdle Calendar 5 widget and PCalc Lite.

My widgets at the moment. I removed the annoying Apple widgets and replaced them with the Readdle Calendar 5 widget and PCalc Lite.

Widgets are interactive

Like the new notification system, the new widget system in iOS 8 is interactive. So, not only can the widgets provide you with snippets of information, they can also allow you to perform minor tasks as well. For example, an auction widget can show you the items you've last bid on and whether or not you're currently being outbid, but also allow you to up your bid right there in the widget and retake the lead. A social widget can let you glimpse a few entries in your timeline and Like or Repost right from the widget.

New widgets

New widgets become available when you install an app from the App Store. If the app includes a widget, the widget notification area will tell you about it. Tap the widget you want added, and it's added. Once added, you can order App Store widgets just like the built-in widgets, and remove them if and when you decide you no longer want or need them.

For example, if you download a sports news network app, it could include a widget that presents you with up-to-date scores of the two most recent games in any league you choose to follow, as well as a headline or two of breaking news. Or, if you download a social networking app, it could include a couple status entries, and maybe a Show More option to see even more entries. A package tracker app's widget could keep you up-to-date on all your deliveries. Breaking news, latest weather — all of those, and more, could provide glance-able widgets right in the Notification Center Today view.

Here's an example: Wdgts

Wdgts is a set of beautiful and incredibly useful widgets tailor made for iOS 8. This version includes the following 8 widgets:

  1. Calculator
  2. Currency Converter
  3. Time Zone
  4. 4. Calendar
  5.  Photo Frame
  6. Network Monitor (part of Premium Pack)
  7. Battery (part of Premium Pack)
  8. Memory & DIsk (part of Premium Pack)

The  Premium Pack includes the following additional features: (0.99)

  • Ability to copy and paste result from Calculator and Currency Converter
  • Add up to 5 times zones
  • Add up to 10 photos to phone frame
  • Ability to scroll between months in calendar

What widgets are available?

Here are some links to widgets that are available at the moment. However, as developers create more widgets, this list will quickly become out of date. Get into the habit of checking in the Notification Centre to see what new widgets are available each time you download new apps. Do a Google search: widgets available for iOS 8 to get a large list of possible widgets.