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For almost a decade and a half, the Home screen has been an uninterrupted grid of tiny app icons. But now, Apple has gone and punched widget-sized holes through the whole thing.

Small, medium, and large-sized widget holes to be precise.

You can still swipe in the minus-one Homepage to see all the widgets but now, on the iPhone, touch and hold on any widget you like, and you can drag it right onto the Home screen.

It's still Apple, so you still can't drop them anywhere you like, the grid just makes more room for them on the sides or as full rows.

You can also go into jiggly mode. Yes, jiggly mode, that's what Steve called them at the beginning, it's what Craig calls them now, don't worry about it.

Because the icons now give you options, the fastest way to jiggly is touch and hold an empty area of the screen.

Then tap the plus button at the top left, pull up the Widget Gallery to see all the different versions of all the different widgets, and drag and drop any of them as well.

Now, if you have an Apple Watch and these new widgets look a lot like those old complications to you, that's because you're incredibly observant — and that's precisely what they are.

Apple bought over their killer design language, information density, and glanceability, and have just made them the standard across all the platforms.

But, because they come from complications, much of the previous iOS widget interactivity is gone.

Because this is beta, we only have Apple's new-fangled widgets to work with for now. But, old-style widgets still work, and should keep working for about another year or so.

For the new-style widgets, apps push updates to them, which then get shown in chronological order. Whatever's being shown can then deep link back into the app. Small widgets have a single deep link but the medium and large widgets can have separate deep links for each section.

So, a small podcast widget could link you back to your now playing screen where a big one could offer you the current and next three show pages up.

It's super power-efficient but at the cost of that old-style interactivity.

And… I don't know if that's philosophical, because Apple has always seen the Home screen as a portal, not a destination, or practical, because it'll take time to add that functionality to the previous watch-only system, but we'll have to wait and see.

But if you want your interactive widgets back, drop a like below.

To save space and prevent you having to pick favorites, you can drop multiple same-sized widgets one on top of the other to form a stack, then swipe through them on your Home page. You can hold down to remove or reorder widgets any way you want.

There's even a Smart Stack widget that cycles between them intelligently for you, based on time, location, previous behavior, and priorities set by the app — for example, if you have a meeting coming up, Calendar can say oh me, me, me! And jump to the top of the stack.

Now, I've never used widgets much on Android, and I don't know if I'm going to use them much on the iPhone either. Except…

Except for the Siri Suggested apps widget. It disappears right onto your Home screen, just looks like a set of normal old Home screen apps, but uses the same intelligence to predict which apps you'll want to use next. Things like time of day, location, previous behavior, and a whole lot more.

And if you ever see an app you never want to see, you can tap and hold and banish it… until you next re-add the widget.

I've dropped two of them on my Home screen, they don't duplicate, but they do almost always have the app I'm looking for, even if it takes me a second longer to zero in on it.

I don't know how many non-nerds will use widgets, even find them, because historically those numbers just haven't been high, but as a nerd, I'm super happy they're here.

And like with Control Center, Notification Center, and bunch of other more advanced, more capable systems Apple's added over the years, I'm even super happier they're completely out of the way for anybody who has absolutely no interest in them.

Because functional complexity through interface depth is exactly how you mature an operating system for existing, more niche users without making it impenetrable to new, more casual users.

Let me know your current favorites and the ones you're waiting on most in the comments below.

iOS 14: Default apps

If you had default apps on your iOS 14 bingo card, go ahead and circle in… but only a little.

Because, you'll soon be able to set whatever email client you want, including Gmail and Outlook, and whatever web browser you want, including Chrome and Edge, as your default.

Why only mail and browsers? Those are the ones Apple got the most requests for, but that just means you have to keep asking for things like Maps, Music, and Calendar as well.

Why only soon? Because developers have to update their apps with a flag that says they're available for default mail or browser status, and Apple wants to make sure they're real. Like, Google and Microsoft, no problem. Some scammer app that just wants to steal your messages, take over your Amazon affiliate cookies, spam you with ads, or redirect you to phishing sites — well those better all be squashed and hard.

I value Apple's commitment to privacy so I'll be sticking with Mail and Safari, but I love that Apple can't rest on default status anymore and now has to fight for every user, which will hopefully make all apps better for everyone.

Let me know what, if anything, you'll be changing yours to, and which default apps you want next in the comments.

Source : https://www.imore.com/ios-14-preview

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