iOS 14 pushes custom widget apps to top of the charts

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iOS 14 widgets apps shot to the top of the iPhone App Store charts.
Applications that create custom iOS 14 widgets quickly became very popular.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The top three applications on the App Store right now all focus on iOS 14 widgets. They let users create custom Home screen widgets that aren’t tied to other applications.

Apple’s latest operating system adds these mini-apps, and a small selection of them come built into iOS 14. Plus, many third-party applications like browsers and email apps recently released widgets.

But applications whose entire focus is adding useful widgets to the iPhone Home screen quickly found plenty of users. Here are some of the most popular ones available now.

Naturally, they require iOS 14, which only debuted last Wednesday. But analytics company Mixpanel indicated on Monday that iOS 14 adoption already soared past 27% of iPhone owners.

Widgetsmith

So, what iOS widget apps are people downloading? Widgetsmith currently sits at the top of the App Store list of free applications. It offers a set of customizable widgets for scheduling, weather or even astronomy.

What sets it apart from the pack is that these can be set to appear on the Home screen at different times of the day. For example, the same slot could show someone’s work schedule during the day, then a tide chart after hours.

A basic version of Widgetsmith, from Cross Forward Consulting, is free. Premium versions add extra features and cost $1.99 and $19.99.

Color Widgets

Color Widgets also includes an array of highly customizable widgets for devices running iOS 14. As its name suggests, it emphasizes color options, along with fun fonts.

This application from MM Apps is also, but there’s a pro version for $3.99.

Photo Widget: Simple

Number 3 on the Top Free Apps list has a more narrow focus. Photo Widget: Simple lets users put their favorite pictures on the iPhone Home screen. It can hold 30 images, and cycle through them. Hyoungbin Kook’s new app is completely free.

Photo Widget

A rival application, called simply Photo Widget, gives users access to Apple’s Photos application from the Home screen. This offering from Francis Bonnnin costs 99 cents and currently sits at the very top of Apple’s Top Paid Apps list.

Widgets apps for iPad, too

Widgets are a significant change in iOS 14, but iPad users have been using them since the release of iPadOS 13 in 2019. However, these mini-apps are more limited on Apple tablets. On an iPhone, a widget can be placed anywhere on the Home screen. On an iPad, they can only sit along the left edge of the screen.

All four of these newly popular custom widgets apps also run on iPadOS 14, with the location limitation. That has apparently limited their appeal somewhat, as only Widgetsmith sits at the top of Apple’s charts for iPad apps.