iOS 10 got a lot of attention primarily in two areas: all of the new enhancements to iMessage and emojis, and how the slide-to-unlock mechanism has disappeared in favor of “Press home to open.” But the latter change was made to accommodate another new feature that I don’t think has gotten nearly enough praise: lock screen widgets.
Finally in iOS 10, you can swipe over and glance at practically everything happening on your phone without even unlocking it or opening an app. Better yet, developers have taken advantage of this new quick access to provide shortcuts to really useful tasks. For instance, thanks to these new widgets, it takes seconds to Shazam a song and figure out the name.
Here is a look at five of the most useful shortcuts for your iPhone’s lock screen widgets.
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I love Shazam and being able to figure out what song is playing wherever I am, but I always run into what I suspect is a common problem. Step one: I hear a song I’m curious about. Step two: I scramble to unlock my phone, find the Shazam app, open it, tap so it begins listening only to have the song end before Shazam is able to figure out what it is. There is no step three, because by now I’m annoyed.
This problem should hopefully see some relief with the Shazam widget in iOS 10. Just add it to your widgets so it’s available directly from your lock screen. Next time you hear a song, the process should be much simpler: swipe left on your lock screen and tap the Touch to Shazam button. Done.
Philips Hue Lights
If you don’t have a smart home hub set up in your house, you might want to skip past this one. If you do, this widget totally comes in handy. The free Philips Hue app has a widget for controlling the lights and scenes in your home from the lock screen. Once again, all you need to do is swipe over from the left and tap to switch lights or rooms on or off. You could do this from Control Center in iOS 10 too, but if you’ve already set up scenes in the Hue app rather than in the Home, using Hue’s widget is much easier. It’s more in sync with your preferences.
We writers at Guiding Tech use Trello to pitch ideas. Sometimes I’ll set aside time in my day to brainstorm and submit a bunch at once. Other times, one will just come to me on the go. For those situations, the Trello widget comes in handy. It provides quick shortcuts from your lock screen to add a new card, take a photo, import a photo or import from your clipboard. The latter three automatically add to a new card while the first gives you a blank canvas for your note. From there, all you need to do is select a board. Thanks to the widget, the process is simple and encourages the sharing of notes and ideas.
If you’re in a new location and confused about what that area has to offer, Foursquare to the rescue. The widget puts convenient shortcuts on your lock screen. Instead, of having to open the Foursquare app and browse categories, four are available to you at all times. Food, Coffee & Tea, Nightlife and Things to do are the four options from Foursquare’s widget. Tap one and you’ll get taken directly into the Foursquare app with relevant results based on your current location, no questions asked.
There are hundreds of options here and they’re real time savers to have right on the lock screen.
Launcher is an app dedicated to making use of widgets. It lets you launch into your most common tasks and is completely customizable to an insane level. Launcher can add up to seven tasks to the widget — and paid upgrades let you add even more. These tasks can be anything from call or message a specific person, open an app, start playing an artist or playlist, navigate me home and so much more. There are hundreds of options here and they’re real time savers to have right on the lock screen. Launcher is free but unlocking all features, which is highly recommended, costs $4.98.