iOS widgets were introduced in iOS 14 and have become an increasingly popular way for users to interact with their favorite apps from the Home screen. Widgets can be used to display a variety of information, such as weather, news, calendar appointments, and music playback controls.
In iOS 17, Apple introduced interactive widgets, which allow users to interact with widgets directly without having to open the corresponding app. This can be done by adding buttons, toggles, and other interactive elements to your widgets.
How to Create Interactive and Engaging iOS Widgets
- Start with a clear purpose. What information do you want your widget to display? What actions do you want users to be able to take from your widget? Once you have a clear understanding of your widget’s purpose, you can start to design it.
- Use a simple and intuitive design. Widgets are small, so it’s important to use a simple and intuitive design that is easy to understand and use at a glance. Avoid using too much text or complex graphics.
- Use interactive elements wisely. Don’t overload your widget with interactive elements. Choose a few key actions that you want users to be able to take from your widget and make them easy to find and use.
- Test your widget with users. Once you have created a prototype of your widget, test it with users to get their feedback. This will help you to identify any usability issues and make necessary changes before you release your widget to the App Store.
Here are some examples of interactive and engaging iOS widgets:
- Weather widget with a button to refresh the data
- News widget with a button to open the full article
- Calendar widget with a button to add a new event
- Music playback widget with buttons to play, pause, skip, and rewind
- Fitness tracker widget with a button to start a new workout
To create an interactive widget, you will need to use the WidgetKit framework. WidgetKit provides a variety of classes and protocols that you can use to create widgets.
To get started, create a new project in Xcode and select the Widget Extension template. This will create a new project with all of the necessary files to create a widget.
Next, you need to create a new struct that conforms to the
Widget protocol. This struct will define the appearance and behavior of your widget.
Widget struct, you will need to specify the following:
- The kind of widget. This is a unique identifier for your widget.
- The widget’s size. Widgets can be small, medium, or large.
- The widget’s content. This is the view that will be displayed in the widget.
If you want to add interactive elements to your widget, you can use the following classes:
Button: A button that the user can tap to perform an action.
Toggle: A switch that the user can toggle to turn a feature on or off.
Menu: A menu that the user can open to select an option.
To add an interactive element to your widget, simply add it to the
Once you have created your widget, you need to build and run the project. This will create a widget that you can add to your Home screen.
To add a widget to your Home screen, press and hold on an empty area of the Home screen until the apps start jiggling. Then, tap the
+ button in the top-left corner and select the widget that you want to add.
Once you have added the widget to your Home screen, you can interact with it by tapping on the interactive elements.
Here are some additional tips for creating interactive and engaging iOS widgets:
- Use animations to make your widget more visually appealing and engaging.
- Use haptics to provide feedback to the user when they interact with your widget.
- Support dark mode so that your widget looks good in both light and dark mode.
- Keep your widget up to date with the latest information.
- Regularly test your widget with users to get feedback and make necessary improvements.
Here are some more advanced tips for creating interactive and engaging iOS widgets:
- Use deep linking to open specific app scenes from your widget. For example, you could create a news widget that opens a specific article when the user taps on a headline.
- Use dynamic data to keep your widget up to date with the latest information. For example, you could create a weather widget that updates the temperature and conditions every hour.
- Use personalization features to allow users to customize their widget. For example, you could allow users to choose which news sources they want to see in their news widget, or which events they want to see in their calendar widget.
- Use notifications to alert users about important events or updates. For example, you could send a notification to the user when a new article is published in their favorite news source, or when a calendar event is about to start.
Here are some examples of advanced interactive and engaging iOS widgets:
- A news widget that allows the user to swipe through different articles and tap on a headline to open the full article in the news app.
- A weather widget that updates the temperature and conditions every hour, and allows the user to tap on a location to see the forecast for that location.
- A calendar widget that shows the user’s upcoming events and allows them to tap on an event to open it in the calendar app.
- A music playback widget that allows the user to play, pause, skip, and rewind songs, and shows the user the current song and album.
- A fitness tracker widget that shows the user their daily steps and distance traveled, and allows them to tap on the widget to start a new workout.
By following these tips, you can create interactive and engaging iOS widgets that are both useful and informative. Your users will appreciate the ability to interact with your apps and get the information they need quickly and easily from the Home screen.