Beyond talking, texting, apps, and web browsing, iPhones have untapped functionality that is being underutilized by their users.
One of the hidden gems on your iPhone is the Notification Center, which can be located by simply swiping down from the top of your screen. The Notification Center was first introduced to users back with iOS 5, and was aimed at delivering weather updates, calendar notifications, and other alerts.
Later, iOS 8 brought us a unique addition to the Notification Center: widgets.
Widgets are extensions of apps that currently exist on your phone. They are located in the Today view of the Notification Center. Your widgets are a great way to get instant access to in-app notifications and information. To access your widgets, follow these steps:
- Swipe down from the top of your screen to access the Notification Center
- Make sure you are in the ‘Today’ tab view; if not, tap on it.
- Scroll to the bottom until you see the ‘Edit’ button to view available widgets.
- Click the + button next to the widget to add it.
- Reorder your widgets by tapping and holding the Move icon (the three parallel lines), then dragging to relocate.
Here are a few great widgets to try.
Dark Sky or Carrot WeatherYes, iOS already has weather built into the Notification Center. But if you’re looking for some new ways to get weather updates, these will be of use to you. Dark Sky has next hour weather predictions and cool weather animations.
Carrot Weather brings you weather predictions in a snarky and twisted way, complete with weather maps and notification forwarding.
Haven’t you always wanted to know when your packages are going to arrive without having to dig up a confirmation email or tracking number? Then you will find these widgets useful. Parcel lets you plug in your tracking number and carrier, along with notes on what will be arriving. It gives you expected delivery dates for today or the next day.
Deliveries is more concise, allowing you to see a summary of all shipments and arrival date countdown. It even lets you share your shipment info via email or iMessage.
Do you have a limited amount of data? Are you constantly going over your allotted data for the month? With Data Widget, you can track the amount of data you are using over the course of your billing cycle. Simply add in how much data you have currently used, your data limit, and the date that your billing cycle is up. Then watch as the Data Widget tracks your usage in an easy-to-read bar.
Have you ever wanted to be able to add your own shortcuts at will? Launcher lets you do that. Easily add shortcuts to apps, websites, directions, phone calls, and more, right in the Notification Center. If it says anything about its usefulness, Launcher is one of the Top 10 Productivity Apps in over 80 countries and counting!
Have you ever wondered how much time you spend on certain tasks, and thinking there is a possibilty you can make better use of your time? Hours can help you out. It lets you view how much time you are spending on each task, allowing you to stop and start timers easily in the Notification Center. Plus, with a simple user interface and subtle colors, it is easy on the eyes and even easier to use.
If you have a ridiculously busy schedule, chances are that the built-in Calendar app isn’t enough for you. That’s where Fantastical 2 comes into play. An Apple Design Award Winner in 2015, Fantastical 2 brings you an innovative reminder feature, extensive event details, and a beautiful interface.
At one time, Apple was including quick shortcuts to Facebook and Twitter in the Notification Center in iOS 6. Unfortunately, these were done away with in more recent versions of iOS. But the good news is that you can reclaim this functionality by adding a Twitter-ready widget to the Notification Center. Ready Tweet 2 is a colorful widget that lets you send a Tweet, photo, or both with the touch of a button.