My Favourite Widgets on iOS 10

Widgets feel pretty dead on macOS, but they’re finding new life on iOS 10. We’ve had widgets on our iPhones for a little while now, but it was iOS 10 that empowered them to become mini versions of my favourite apps. Their evolution has been so gradual that I’ve forgotten to talk about them, until now. It always takes a few months after a major release to see how developers embrace new features, but here are a few widgets that I’ve really been enjoying.

Fantastical 2

Fantastical beats Apple’s default Calendar widget because it shows an entire calendar month. You can tap on the arrows along the top to view different months, and tapping on dates will filter the events and tasks for just that period. The devs at Flexibits have made it very easy to see which days have events, and each event is colour coded based on the calendar it belongs to.

I tend to keep the widget expanded at all times, but minimizing it still provides some context: you get a mini schedule for the day, with a bold highlight of your very next appointment.

It’s incredibly functional, and I actually end up interacting with this widget far more than the app itself.

PCalc Lite

Control Center makes it really easy to get to the default iOS calculator, but I like PCalc Lite’s widget more for two reasons:

  1. PCalc Lite is just one swipe away on the lock screen, whereas the default calculator requires an upward swipe to summon Control Center, and then a tap to bring the calculator up.
  2. PCalc Lite has a dedicated button for the Copy and Paste commands. This speeds things up a ton when you just want to copy your sum and paste it quickly into Safari. Apple’s calculator can also copy the output, but you waste a bit of time tapping and holding until the “Copy” button appears.

Money Pro

I’ve written about Money Pro on iPhone Insight before, but their update from two weeks ago made the app even faster to use. I no longer actually need to launch Money Pro to add an expense: the full-sized widget now shows seven categories.

I thought this would just be a way to launch the app with the correct category already loaded, but Money Pro took their widget a few steps further. Tapping on a category presents you a choice of budgets, and then brings up a numerical pad so that you can enter your expense without ever leaving the widget. This means that when I buy a coffee, I just swipe over to the widgets, select the budget and amount, and press Save. I love how Money Pro has integrated this, and it’s the most in-depth widget I’ve used thus far.

Transit

I use Transit constantly for checking for the nearest streetcars and buses. It’s got a really smart design that shows ETA for four of the nearest transit routes, and it prioritizes your favourite routes by pinning them to the top. However, there’s still something a little off about how it loads. There are a lot of times I’ll swipe over to the widgets from the lock screen, and Transit will simply be empty. I can still use it as a quick method of launching Transit, but it’s been over a year — with several updates that claim to have fixed the widget — and it’s still not stable enough to be truly reliable. If Transit can nail this widget and get it to load every time, it will be glued to the left panel of my lock screen.

Those are the main widgets I’ve been using on iOS 10 so far. I don’t use very many, but I also like it that way, because it keeps them all accessible. If there any other useful or or surprisingly in-depth widgets you’d like to share, hit us up in the comments!

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