How to add and use widgets on Apple Watch

Widgets are a new feature introduced to the Apple Watch in watchOS 10. They represent one of the most significant changes in the Apple Watch user interface for many years. So much so, that you’re going to need to relearn some Apple Watch gestures that may have become second nature, such as swiping up to see the Apple Watch Control Centre.

The effort is likely to be worth it, however, as widgets let you quickly access your favourite apps much more easily, no matter which watch face you’re using. You may wonder how you ever survived without them.

Widgets on Apple Watch are similar to the widgets you can add to customise your iPhone home screen. They’re small blocks of information from various Apple Watch apps that cover the full width of your Apple Watch face and fit two to a screen. Tapping on a widget opens the associated app. The beauty of widgets is that they’re customisable, so you can quickly access the information that’s most important to you.

This is where you’re going to need to have a little patience. That’s because the way that you access widgets used to be the way that you accessed the Control Centre. In watchOS 10, to access the Control Centre, you’ll need to press the side button instead, which can take some getting used to.

  1. Swipe up from any watch face or turn the digital crown upwards.
  2. You’ll see a simple watch face and the current date, with your first widget in the bottom half of the screen.
  3. Continue to swipe up or rotate the digital crown to see more of your widgets.
  4. The widgets are part of a Smart Stack that will automatically change to provide you with the most relevant widgets. You’ll see different widgets appearing based on the time of day or suggested by AI based your habits.
  5. Swipe or rotate the crown further, and you’ll reach the final widget which contains three small complications icons that you can tap to open the associated apps.
  6. Beneath this final widget is an All Apps button. You can tap the button or continue scrolling to see your full app grid or list. This app grid can still be accessed by the original method of pressing the digital crown.

editing apple watch widgets in watchOS 10

Your Smart Stack of widgets is populated by default with key Apple apps such as News, Weather, Activity, and Mindfulness. However, you can add and remove widgets, and pin widgets in place if you want to keep certain widgets at the top of the stack. Not all Apple Watch apps support widgets so some of your apps may not appear in the list of widget options.

  1. Swipe up from your watch face to access the Smart Stack.
  2. Tap and hold the screen until the editing screen appears.
  3. To add a widget, press the large + (plus) button. You can have a maximum of eight widgets plus the complication widget.
  4. Select the app that you want to add to the Smart Stack.
  5. Tap a widget to add it to your Smart Stack. Some apps offer a number of different widgets.
  6. To pin the widget in place, tap the yellow Pin icon in the top-right corner of the widget.
  7. You can tap and hold on pinned widgets to rearrange their order.
  8. To remove widgets, tap the red – (minus) button in the top-left corner of the widget. If the widget is already pinned, tapped Pinned to unpin it, and then you’ll then be able to delete it.
  9. To edit the complications widget, tap the – (minus) button to remove a complication.
  10. Tap + (plus) in an empty slot and select the complication you want to add. You can display up to maximum of three.
  11. Tap Done to stop editing.

Whilst the new location of Control Centre is going to take some getting used to, Apple Watch widgets have the potential to be a serious game changer. You no longer need to choose a watch face based on how many complications slots it has or set up multiple faces to fit in all the complications that you want. You get the best of both worlds; you can rock that new Snoopy watch face with no complications at all, but still be able to see key information with a single swipe. And for power users, a face such as Modular combined with widgets gives you access to even more apps and complications all from a single watch face.

Widgets are only available in watchOS 10 which is due for public release in September. If you want to try out Apple Watch widgets before then, however, then you can download and install the watchOS 10 public beta right now.

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