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new iOS 14 widgets on a homescreen

WWDC20: Apple Introduces On Screen Widgets for iOS 14

Apple has introduced new widgets features for iOS 14, coming Fall 2020, during the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC20) this week with major changes to how they appear on screen and how user interact with them. Some of the most notable changes include easier to access developer tools, placement options, and design flexibility, all of which create a far better user experience and richness to apps available.

The New Dev Tool: WidgetKit 

To support the development of new widget features, Apple released a tool called WidgetKit. This powerful toolset helps developers to create glanceable, relevant, and personalized widgets that enrich the users experience. Built in SwiftUI, it supports features like dynamic type and dark-mode automatically, and is supported across devices. Developers can schedule updates right from the extension or even refresh from the main app itself. You can learn more about the capabilities of the WidgetKit and use cases from Apple’s breakout session.

Apple has released an in-depth code-along for those interested in building widgets broken into three sections of increasing detail and difficulty, which you can view below:

Section One: Basics

Section Two: Timelines & Configurations

Section Three: Multiple Widgets & Advanced Dynamic Configurations

Key Advantages

One of the main changes to widgets, from both a user and developer standpoint, is that they can now be dropped directly onto the home screen with several customizations, including size (small, medium, large), branded colors rather than overlay only, and personalization such as choosing a city for your weather app widget. They can also contain timelines so that the content remains useful to the user, such as a calendar app widget updates on a timeline showing only the next upcoming event rather than all events for the day or the week. With these dynamic configurations, users will now be able to glance at targeted and in-the-moment information from your app on their home screens.

While the changes to widgets in iOS 14 create a lot of exciting opportunities for developers to improve user experience, it is important to note that the intention of a widget is not to be a mini-app. Widgets are inherently content-based and intended to be automatically updated with ready-to-see current and accurate information. However, Apple also announced a brand new feature called App Clips that is more similar to a mini-app experience. You can learn more about them here.

Get in Touch With Us 

Jackrabbit Mobile is committed to empowering businesses through custom digital solutions. Interested in learning how widgets may enhance your users experience with your iOS app? Contact us for a consultation on how we can help.

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