Will We See Third-Party Widgets in iOS 7?


“Widgets” have always been a much-requested feature of iOS. Whether you think they should come in the form of “live-tile” home screen icons, usable mini-apps within Notification Center, or something else altogether, it’s widely debated whether such a feature would be a welcome addition. Perhaps they would cause the OS to feel cluttered, or maybe you just prefer simplicity. Whatever the case, they are definitely something that we may see implemented somehow in future iterations of Apple’s mobile operating system.

What’s interesting though, is that iOS already has something that Apple calls “widgets.” If you have a quick look over at Settings > Notifications you will find three options that are apart of Notification Center — the share widget, the weather widget, and the stocks widget. Tapping any of these options will allow you to turn on or off these widgets. But what if Apple extended this feature to allow developers to add their own single-function widgets to Notification Center?

I could see it working like this: Apple adds new frameworks to iOS that allow developers to include widgets as part of their apps. Upon opening an app, you will be presented with a “X app would like to add a widget to Notification Center” dialog that will give you control over which apps you think necessitate a widget. It wouldn’t be mandatory for anything to change at all if you don’t wish. You are simply prompted to install that respective app’s widget if you desire.

If you wanted to, you could keep your share, stocks, and weather widgets in Notification Center and simply ignore any prompts to add more. However, the great part of this proposal is that if you’re a Facebook fiend that wants to have a mini feed available in Notification Center, you can. That’s something that Facebook could provide. Sure, that’s a bad example, but I think I’ve made clear what this kind of functionality would look like.

Do you think we’ll see widgets of some kind in iOS 7? How should they work?

Post a response / What do you think?