My Issue with iOS 14 Widgets

by birtanpublished on November 27, 2020

Remember what I said it doesn't matter that Apple wasn't first two widgets it's that they get it right yeah I I I state my regret I would like to retract that statement because after using I was 14 on my iPhone for a few weeks now it feels like they didn't quite get it right it feels like they may have got the aesthetics of it down but I think good software's when you find the adequate balance between functionality and aesthetics and they didn't quite get it so I'll be diving into my criticisms of I was 14 widgets today let's begin well let me also be clear and say that I don't think this is worse than before

You know and I was 13 we didn't have home screen widgets at all and now they're here so if you like iOS 14 widgets and you're enjoying them and you're using them that's great I'm not trying to say that this is worse than before this is a step in the right direction but you know before iOS 14 came out I kept telling myself I don't know what else they can add to iOS I'm kind of happy with the way it is now I don't really need any more changes I'm just gonna be grateful and look out at a grateful universe but now they've added widgets and I'm like okay you know what

I know exactly what they can do for iOS 15 I've already got a big list of stuff and I think the biggest issue I have with iOS 14 widgets are the lack of interaction you can't interact with these widgets they can really only they can really only launch the app that they're a widget for and I think that that is a severe limitation of the capability and also what a lot of people meant when they said they want I Oh s widgets and I've seen some people try to argue that it's for the sake of prioritizing battery life and that kind of thing but androids have been doing

This for a long time I know it's weird to hear the Apple sheep say those words right but it's true androids have had for a long time the ability to have interactive widgets built into the homescreen so I don't really buy that excuse when Apple's been developing these next-generation silicon chips and power efficiency has been so good with them so I don't buy that but the fact that the music widgets can basically only show you what you've been recently listening to but you can't pause music from there you can't skip music rewind music from

There because widgets can't be interactive in some ways that is actually a step backward because before when widgets were only available in like the today view you could actually have interactive widgets third-party apps could make themselves interactive you could put little games in there or the practical ones I saw was like a calculator you could have as a widget people did that on the iPad all the time but as Apple is now moving into this new you know widget kit the third-party developers will have to start optimizing for they're gonna have to remove those

Interactive widgets so like the Tesla widget people got to interact with before if Tesla updates their app which I'm guessing Apple is gonna force everyone to eventually they're gonna lose functionality because these widgets are not allowed to be something you can tap or have features that can actually interact with from the homescreen basically all I can do is launch the app and the more distracting part about widgets that has kept me from really utilizing them that much is the fact that all the widget sizes are just too dang big I think I brought this up in my

First video but every single widget has to take up such a massive portion of the display and I've got the largest iPhone here and it still feels like any time I add more than one widget to a home screen I've got to add a whole nother homescreen panel and now there's all this extra space and a lot of padding with the widgets that I feel like don't need to be there it seems like anytime I add a widget it's got all this extra space around it and frankly a lot of the first party widgets Apple built are just not that useful I mean the Photos widget is just like a random photo that they

Happen to pick so now when you're swiping on your homescreen you can just see some random photo from three years ago that they decide to put there cool and also the Notes widget just tells you like your most recently accessed notes but that's it it's just the titles of those notes as soon as you tap them you just launch into the app anyway so it's essentially instead of adding a widget which I think what people liked about widgets was that you could have more interaction more functionality on the homescreen it's now being replaced with just take the app that used to be there

Before blow it up and have it display slightly more content but at the end of the day you still just tap it and open it there's not really much functionality added here so maybe that's some kind of fundamental issue Apple has with the homescreen is that it can only open apps it can't replace the process of opening them maybe that's a design choice but in my mind I think that the option of letting developers make widgets that are interactive that could have buttons that could have features like if Twitter decided they wanted to make a widget and you could have like a refresh button

That instantly loads like the latest tweet in your timeline to show up on that widget that would be nice or like that concept I saw of a Tesla widget that would allow you to cool down the car or vent the windows if you need to from that widget without having to open the app I don't really see much downsides of that you know I'm no software or hardware engineering expert so I don't know exactly how much this would kill our battery to just have a few extra buttons on the homescreen but I really don't think it's that complex to me this seems like one of

Those notorious Apple things of we don't want to budge on this and this is how it has to be so you know it basically gives them room to improve next year okay I know what to add to the iOS 15 wish list but if they were to make widgets a bit more compact into the fact that you could have a two by one widget that sure you know you don't need to take up this giant portion of the homescreen just to tell someone their battery percentage right okay I know a lot of you were like I want to be able to see the battery percentage of my iPhone without having to go to control center but did it have

To be you know like 50 times the size of our old battery percentage why not have little 2×1 widgets that could take up far less space that we could swipe through instead of having to compete with all of the screen real estate we have and some of the widget options they have are just so gargantuan that they take up the entire screen and again if you're gonna make a widget that large but not make it interactive with buttons that I can just save the process of opening the app with just interacting straight from the widget and it just makes it this giant big data visual

Which I guess some people like and like I said it's better than before I mean it's an option we have that we didn't have previously so it's not the worst edition out there it's just once Apple added these widgets now I feel like there's all this potential that can't be utilized because essentially Apple is going to be requiring developers to build their apps with Swift UI in order to make their own widgets and because there's so many developers out there that don't want to use the Swift UI I think that's just going to hurt adoption it's just going to result in most people

Being like oh we have to completely redesign our app to make a third party win then we won't bother I don't want that either because I want to see some more creative in unique third-party widgets once iOS 14 is available for everyone but because apples kind of closing the devs into a box here it's gonna be kind of tricky and rare to see it happen that often with popular used apps I could be wrong obviously we're in the dev beta stage and we'll change the music icon color so who knows maybe there's all kinds of design

Changes they can make along the way hopefully they see this video and hear my point that this is a major functionality problem with widgets and making smaller widget options and making you know not so many giant ones could make widgets a lot more helpful and honestly to me it feels like widgets were kind of a last minute rushed idea Apple had because they're like okay people are gonna feel like iOS 14 isn't that big a deal so we got to do something with the homescreen right because if the homescreen doesn't change then the OS basically hasn't changed so

They probably had this widget idea on the shelf somewhere and they're like well we'll pull that out on a boring year so that people will feel like it's major and I don't feel like that much thought went into it especially with things like the batteries widget you know it'd be nice if the air pods actually stayed there the whole time but they don't so you end up with these two giant circles that used to be where I could put apps that now are just blank and it looks like two little spongebob eyes staring at me and I'm like okay this isn't really better utilizing my

Home screen now so I just feel that way with a lot of widgets it feels like half the time they're just displaying nothing or nothing of that much value and if there was interaction in buttons we could interact with particularly a now playing widget which I'm very shocked they still don't have I feel like I could justify it and get behind it a little bit more but maybe I'm being nitpicky it's possible you know I've been that way before so feel free to hit me up over on Twitter join my discord and we can chat more about widgets there but just keep in mind you're wrong I'm

Right in my opinion won't change this is your absolute peer I'll see you in the next one

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