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The Case for Mini Widgets

When iOS 14 came out last year, one feature really blew up: Widgets. People were making their home screens not only more usable but Aesthetic AF, whatever that means1. Now that it’s been a year and widgets are a thing, I propose a new widget style: The Mini.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but was inspired to write it up after reading this post on Matt Birchler’s excellent BirchTree site where he’s advocating for smaller widgets.

I agree. There needs to be a smaller small” widget. But there also needs to be an even smaller mini” widget. One home screen icon big. But, with more data, more customization, and more functionality.

I’m knocking this out on my lunch break, so please forgive the crudeness of the mockups, but here’s what I’m thinking.

  1. A mini widget should be a single icon, with the standard text below to indicate the app the widget represents.
  2. When the widget is tapped, the app opens as usual
  3. If the widget is tapped-and-held (is that the past tense of tap-and-hold?), some additional options can be presented in the contextual menu
  4. The icon can change as the data changes.

Some examples… I know these are pretty revolutionary, but stick with me here. Mini Widgets

  • A countdown app can show a countdown
  • A weather app can show the weather
  • The Home app can put switches right on the Home Screen
  • A food tracking app can update your charts in real-time
  • A calendar app can show you the actual date
  • The Fitness app can show you your rings
  • A task manager can show you what you have left today
  • A time tracking app can put timers in your face

I know none of these are new ideas, and many are done in widgets now. But, widgets now take up SO. MUCH. SPACE. Giving up 4 Home Screen icons to see a timer is bananas. These screens are super high resolution. They can display small things.

WWDC is less than a week away, and I’m looking forward to the prospect of a better Home Screen on my phone, hopefully something like this will be part of it.

  1. I know what it means, don’t email me.↩︎

🗓️ June 3, 2021 🏷️ iOS 🏷️ WWDC 🏷️ Widgets
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