For many years, Android has been pushing forward small app components featuring efficient mobile widgets displayed on the home screen. Apple devices have not been able to boast the same feature for a long time. However, with the introduction of iOS 8, those time are finally over.

Some may think that Apple decided to implement the same functionality, which is wrong. Developers’ main mission was to introduce something new and unique to make their devices stand aside from what we are used to. The introduction of iOS appeared to a revolutionary step for the company letting developers offer their own widgets and home screen solutions.

The launch of the new OS has actually opened a new field for mobile app development. This time, we will discuss why it may be beneficiary to develop iOS widgets.

Why are widgets so poplar with users?

Widgets have proved to be handy tools for both smartphone users and developers. We will consider both parties and decide if widgets are really necessary using Android device experience.

Widgets for users

The main mission of any widget on the home screen is to provide an easy and fast access to a particular function, application or program available on your device. You can save your time without scrolling or swiping. As for Apple devices. Users are forced to swipe the scroll down to access their notification center. You will hardly find any widgets on the home screen of portable devices powered by iOS with the exception of some apps and folders.

This time, Apple developers did their best to let users opt for different services from applications without actually launching those applications. The main mission was to implement an extensibility concept. The widget will make it possible to access any app directly from the notification center.

Android devices have been using the same idea for years, as such concept really makes sense. We should keep in mind, that producers offer a larger screen, which means more place to organize all functions, apps, and tools right on the home screen. At the same time, there is no point to expect a declining number of mobile apps in the nearest future. More and more applications appear each day and they call for enough space to be placed.

We use widgets not only for launching applications as fast as possible. They also come in handy when containing an important information and data. When looking back at iOS 7, we will find reminders, calendar, weather and stock available be default in the notification center. All of them are also available in iOS 8. However, the difference between two platforms is that users will be informed on all available widgets to downloaded applications. All you need is to scroll down and press the “edit” button. In other words, the main idea is to keep in touch with the latest relevant information on a particular app supporting widgets.

Widgets for app developers

Some developers do not even have the foggiest idea about such thing as widgets. On the other hand, they may let you build a more attractive and functional application. You will certainly appreciate some major benefits that come with the implementation of widgets.

Some users cannot imagine their mobile experience without a handy widget. This fact offers additional monetization source as a part of an in-app purchasing strategy. You can follow the example of My Day app that establishes fees for its own unique lock screen widget while the home screen is free.

The application combines several functions at the same time. It can be used as a countdown timer in addition to event clock and calendar. The app is available for devices powered by both Android and iOS.

It is not new for Android users that some widgets are available for both home screen and lock screen. My Day has them both. A home screen widget is accessible free. At the same time, they establish fees for downloading lock screen widgets featuring over 2 million installs. The app has proved to be rather successful.

Another great feature is that widgets can result in a better user retention. We should note that a widget is actually a notification about the fact that your smartphone has a selection of apps. Whenever you want to benefit from a better KPI factors, you need to establish a high level of engagement with the app as possible.

What information should be displayed by a widget?

The main mission of the app is to deliver important information to the end user reproducing the application itself. On the other hand, it should never look too extensive and overloading. You need to find a flawless combination of a widget design that will be both informative and not confusing.

Imagine, that you develop a weather forecasting app. A cloud or a sun would be the best bet for a widget design. It is clear and non-intrusive. The main idea is to use widget summarizing the application showcasing its main feature and purposes.

Widgets for data rich apps

But, what should a developer do if the app contains many different functions, tools and features? It is impossible to place all of them in one small widget. Applications for social networks are a good example. Most apps deal with sharing photos and images, messaging, commenting and more. You need to think of some key functions you want to display in your widget. If its design makes sense, it will be popular with users.

Your fist task is to sort out the most precious data for the end user. Keep in mind that some of the may use your application in a different way you expect. For example, LinkedIn offers a widget that shows notifications whenever a user visits your account. For some users such functions can be rather helpful especially when it comes to job hunters. On the other hand, some may find this widget absolutely useless when it comes to identifying app’s valuable data.

We do have an understanding that meeting everyone’s needs is impossible. However, you can do your best and proceed with an accurate analysis in the niche to get closer to what users expect to see. Check our examples of the most useful widgets for iOS applications from our point of view.

Great widgets for iOS apps

After a debut of iOS 8, widgets for iPhone applications have become a major issue for many users. Whenever you want to develop your own successful widget, you need to consider some key insights and users’ expectations. For example, we have a fitness app known as Pedometer+++. It comes together with its own widget. Although it does not display all fitness stats, it showcases the number of daily floors and steps. If you want to get an access to the rest fitness data, you need to interact with the app itself.

Swarm widget for the Foursquare app is another great example of an efficient development. Available for iPhones, it lets users know where their friends have checked-in.

There is a number of other successful iOS app widgets such as Evernote. You can use it to choose a text, reminder, photo or other tools provided by the application. NYT Now widget highlights the catchiest headlines letting you choose news you are interested in. Now you can easily opt for an exciting article o read.

Although some may still have doubts regarding a future success of iPhone app widgets, we should keep in touch with the latest comments and users reviews.

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Content Marketing Manager