How to configure and use widgets in iOS 8

My old iPhone 5s is already better thanks to iOS 8. Apple launched the new software for the iPhone 4s and up on Wednesday — although you may want to hold off on upgrading for several reasons — and I quickly installed it because has several great features I used during the beta period.

As many [company]Google[/company] Android users know, widgets can be incredibly useful. [company]Apple[/company] added widget support in iOS 8, but it does have that Apple twist to it: Unlike on Android devices, you can’t put widgets on home screens. Instead, they appear in the drop-down Notification screen which is always just a swipe away. How do you get them there? It’s actually pretty easy.

First, you’ll need an app that’s been updated for iOS 8 and supports widgets. That sounds obvious but it’s going to take developers time to make their changes; some may even decide not to support widgets. Yahoo Weather actually meets both criteria, and it became the de-facto weather app on my iPhone a long time ago. I got the updated app on my iPhone 5s and went to my Notifications screen in iOS where there’s an Edit button at the bottom.

ios 8 widgets

Tap it and you can rearrange, hide or add any iOS 8 compatible widgets. In my case, I simply added Yahoo Weather by tapping the green plus button. I then dragged Weather higher in my list of notifications. That’s it.

Now, whenever I want to see weather information, a quick swipe down provides it. And tapping a widget opens up its associated application, so in my case, a quick tap on Weather opens the full Yahoo Weather app.

yahoo weather widget in notifications

No, the widgets aren’t quite like Android due to Apple’s control and implementation, but they’re a definite step forward for iOS, and I’m looking forward to seeing what other third-party apps bring to the Notification Center on my iPhone.