Customize Notification Center with new widget support in iOS 8

in iPhone edited September 2014
Apple's new iOS 8 mobile operating system gives users the ability to add third-party widgets to Notification Center for the first time since the feature's introduction. AppleInsider took a look at what developers can do with the new functionality and how users can take advantage of it.

What's up with widgets?

Notification Center widgets are just one of a number of new app extensibility features available to developers in iOS 8; Apple will also allow apps to extend the operating system's built-in sharing functionality, for example, or act as system-wide document storage providers. Still, widgets are by far the most exciting for users, with innumerable calls for their inclusion since Notification Center was introduced in iOS 5.

Apple hasn't opened the kimono all the way, though. Widgets are confined to Notification Center's Today view, and every widget needs a corresponding app -- there's no way to download a KISS-themed clock widget without also placing an icon on the home screen.

As such, widgets are subject to the App Store approval process, and Apple has laid down some guidelines for developers.

Widgets don't support keyboard input, so anything with advanced interaction is out. iOS will also aggressively terminate widgets that use excessive resources, though the operating system will help developers out by periodically caching widget views so that they look up-to-date when Notification Center is opened.

Within these constraints, developers can do essentially anything they can think of. Apple imagines widgets displaying the latest sports scores, surf reports, or package delivery updates --?anything that could benefit from being visible without having to open an app.

How do they work?

From the user's perspective, dealing with widgets in iOS 8 is straightforward.

Apple ships five widgets by default --?Today Summary, Calendar, Reminders, Tomorrow Summary, and Stocks. Third-party widgets will automatically be made available in Notification Center once their parent app is installed, but they won't be visible until added by the user.

Widgets can be added and removed from the Today view by unlocking your iPhone, opening Notification Center, and tapping the "Edit" button at the very bottom. The screen will show two lists: visible widgets at the top, with non-visible widgets below in a "Do Not Include" list.

The standard iOS list paradigms apply here. Tapping the red "-" button will remove the widget from view; tapping the green "+" button will add it back. Widgets can also be removed by dragging them to the "Do Not Include" list.

Additionally, the Today view can be reordered by dragging the handles on the right-hand side. Note, however, that widgets can't be moved above Today Summary or below Tomorrow Summary.


  • Reply 1 of 9
    Anxiously waiting for the sportscenter widget and a few others. If I could edit my fantasy lineup from a widget that would be outstanding (though far-reaching). I like the possibilities and I like the Notification Center restriction. Don't kill my battery more than it already gets killed.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    Hi Guys. We are an app company and we have submitted an app to app store, containing a nice collection of iOS8 Today Extns.Please checkout.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    Hi Guys. We are an app company and we have submitted an app to app store, containing a nice collection of iOS8 Today Extns.Please checkout.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    So far not the least bit impressed with anynif the widgets I've tried. They look a mess and don't work very well.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Hi All. We are an app company and we have submitted an app to app store, containing a nice collection of iOS8 Today Extns.Please checkout.
  • Reply 6 of 9

    Sounds largely crippled, but I'll have to check them out in person.  Widgets are a great way to utilize that extra screen space.  I like to be able to turn my phone on, look at it, and turn it right back off because it automatically has 90% of the info I want already gathered for me and on display.

  • Reply 7 of 9
    Has anyone come across any Apps that implement the widget feature well? Would be interested to hear if there are any worth trying out. I'm sure they will get better over time as App developers come up with ways to make the feature useful. From the article it would appear the only limitation is lack of keyboard entry and I think I recall the demo at the developer conference for the eBay app allowing you to bid on auctions.
  • Reply 8 of 9

    Why didn't Apple add widgets to the lock screen, i.e. the one that comes up after turning on the phone. In order to bring up widgets one must first press the home button to power the screen up , then swipe down from the top to bring up notifications. I thought Apple was adept at allowing us to avoid excessive gestures to get at information. It would make better sense to add widgets on the lock screen directly without having to swipe down  so we can see info like weather, stocks and so on. I know its a small thing but c'mon Apple, if you can put the time and a camera quick link  on the lock screen directly can't you put other programmable  info there too? It's so obvious! duh

  • Reply 9 of 9
    StepTracker has a notification center which just went live a few minutes ago. It lets you see your step count and distance without actually going into the app.
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