Design great widgets

Description: Widgets elevate timely information from your app to primary locations on iPhone, iPad and Mac. Discover the keys to designing glanceable widgets, developing a strong widget idea, and clearly communicating with content, color, sizing, layout, and typography. If you'd like to learn more about the technical implementation for adding widgets into your app, check out "Get Started with WidgetKit" and our three-part code-along series.


  • Widgets are all about content
  • Determine the most useful information and experiences are that people return to your app for.


  • When looking for ideas think of the following three sectors:
    • Personal
    • Informational
    • Contextual
  • Apple examples:
      • shows the current date and upcoming appointment, with start time and location.
      • if multiple events are upcoming, the appointments are collapsed and only the relevant information are shown (such as start time and event name)
      • shows best photos (not just recent ones), memories
      • shows today forecast at the current location
      • shows where your car is parked
      • shows the location of an upcoming calendar event
      • shows ETA to go back home


  • When the springboard is in edit mode, you can tap on a widget to flip it around and see what configurations are available
  • Apple examples:
    • lets us pick the place of the forecast: a fixed location (e.g. Tokyo) or use the device current location
    • lets us choose which country times we would like to display

Offering Multiple Widgets

    • one offers a glanceable compact summary of your watchlist information
    • one offers a single stock symbol as a separate widget to keep track of it at a higher resolution



Three sizes:

  • small (same as a 2x2 icon grid), supports one tap target
  • medium (same as a 2x4 icon grid)
  • large (same as a 4x4 icon grid)

    Tap Styles

    Tapping a widget should deep link into your app to the content displayed in the widget, there are three tap styles:

    • fill style: any tap has the same effect, perfect when the widget displays a single piece of content.
    • cell style is best for when you're selecting a piece of content in a widget that lives in its own shape.
    • content style is great for when you're selecting a piece of content that lives un-contained in a widget.

    Content and personality

    • the widget should look like an extension of your app.
    • you can also take inspiration from your app icon.


    • Every widget must provide a placeholder which is shown when the system has no way of displaying your widget's data. You should show the base graphical elements in this state and block in areas of text where your information is shown in the layout.

    Missing anything? Corrections? Contributions are welcome 😃


    Written by

    Federico Zanetello

    Federico Zanetello

    Software engineer with a strong passion for well-written code, thought-out composable architectures, automation, tests, and more.