Apple Watch widgets: How to use the hot new feature


Work The Widgets On Your Watch
Make the most out of your widgets.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Editing and customizing the widget stack in watchOS 10 on your Apple Watch is a great way to clean up your watch face. If you have a Tim Cook-esque watch face full of complications, you can use widgets to pare it down to a simple, classy design with the same quick access to your apps and activities.

Today, I’ll show you how to make the most of your smart stack of widgets.

Apple Watch widgets: What they are and how to use them in watchOS 10

Table of contents:

  1. Access your Apple Watch widgets
  2. Add or remove widgets from the stack
  3. Customize app shortcuts
  4. Clean up your watch face

Access your Apple Watch widgets

Widgets on Apple Watch
Open or pause the timer from the Live Activity that shows up as a widget.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

New in watchOS 10, widgets are the scrolling section of controls that you can quickly access by swiping up or turning the crown when you’re on the watch face. It’s a fast way to get information, see live activities and launch apps.

Don’t confuse widgets with complications, the tappable controls on the watch face itself. You can edit those by tapping-and-holding on a watch face, tapping Edit and swiping to the right.

When you access your widgets, you’ll see today’s date and a clock at the top.

Below, you’ll see any live activities you have going — a running timer, music or podcasts playing. Tapping on any of these is an easy way to pull up the apps that are running in the background. Just swipe up and see what’s going on rather than finding the app and opening it again.

At the very bottom of the stack, you’ll see an All Apps button that takes you to the app list.

Add or remove widgets from the stack

By default, you get:

  1. Calendar
  2. Activity
  3. News
  4. Weather
  5. Three apps (Music, Workout, Messages)

If you want to add or remove widgets, you have to do it on the Apple Watch. Currently, there’s no way to edit the stack from your iPhone (unless you enable Apple Watch mirroring).

Swipe up to show your widgets; tap and hold anywhere on the screen to start editing.

Adding a new widget to the smart stack
Nearly all of Apple’s apps have a widget. Third-party apps you use might offer widgets, too.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The large + button will add a new widget. You’ll see suggestions at the top; scroll down to see the full list of available widgets. Tap on one to add it.

Unlike widgets on your iPhone Home Screen, you can’t drag them to set an order. They’ll shuffle around based on what’s important during the day. You can, however, pin widgets to the top. Tap the yellow pin button to the right.

Remove widgets with the red minus button to the left. You can’t have more than eight widgets, so you may need to remove some before you can add what you want.

Personally, I pinned Weather to the top. I removed News and Activity; I added Alarm, Podcasts and Music.

Customize app shortcuts

Swapping out the app shortcut
Swap them out for the apps you launch often.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

At the bottom of the widget stack is one widget you can’t remove — it gives you quick access to three apps of your choosing.

Tap and hold on it to customize. Tap the  to open one of the spots, and tap + to put a new one in. I added Calculator, Camera Remote and Messages.

Keep a cleaner watch face with a customized widget stack

A clean Numerals watch face with no complications
With the right widgets, you can clean up your watch face. I’m fond of Numerals.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Customizing your widget stack with everything you do on your Apple Watch is a great way to clean up your watch face, but still have quick and easy access to your apps.

I use the Numerals face in gray without any complications whatsoever — everything is still there, just a swipe away.


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