- iOS 16 allows users with an iPhone 8 or later to customize their home screens with widgets.
- The third-party app Top Widgets is now the second most popular app in Apple's App Store.
- Widgets are especially useful on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max when using the new always-on display feature.
Apple's iOS 16 iPhone update, released this week, lets iPhone users add little squares or rectangles of information known as "widgets" to the lock screen.
That's helped popularize Chinese app Top Widgets, which rocketed to the second most popular free app in the App Store behind social media app BeReal.
I've never heard of the app before, so I downloaded it to give it a try.
Top Widgets lets you personalize your home screen or lock screen with little squares or rectangles of information, like how much storage is left on your phone, pictures, the amount of steps you've taken, custom icons for apps and more. There's a lot more than what Apple offers by default, which might be one reason it's popular.
And it makes good use of the new always-on display on iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max, which still show widgets on the screen even when the phone is idle. Those phones launch on Friday.
Here's what the app is like.
To get started, just, just download Top Widgets from the App Store.
You don't need the newest iPhone to use the app. But, you need to first make sure you've installed iOS 16 to get widgets on your lock screen. IOS 16 is available for iPhone 8 and newer. Home screen widgets have been available since last year.
Next, open the app and select the widget you want to add to your lock screen or home screen.
You can pick from lots of stuff, like quick toggles to turn cellular or Wi-Fi on and off, your calendar, screen brightness, photos, reminders and even little animated emoji. Browse under the "LockScreen" section for specific options that can be added to your lock screen.
Hit save after you've picked the ones you want.
As you can see from my background, my widget tells me how many steps I've taken, how much battery I have left on my iPhone, and even how much storage space my iPhone is using.
That's all there is to it, the rest of the customization options are up to you.