How to Add or Edit the Smart Stack of Wid­gets on iPhone

For the first time in iPhone history, iOS 14 brings the ability to add widgets to the Home screen. Those widgets come in various sizes and despite not sporting any interactive elements relay lots of useful information. To make things even better, you can use the Smart Stack to maximize the iPhone's Home screen experience. If you are wondering how to add or edit the Smart Stack of widgets, then you've come to the right place.

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In case you're wondering, a Smart Stack 'smartly' switches between widgets based on past activity. For instance, you may have made it a habit to open the Reminders app in the morning—with a Smart Stack, expect the Reminders widgets to pop up right around that time. Your iPhone uses machine learning to power the Smart Stack, so don't be amazed to see the right widget at the right time.

Furthermore, a Smart Stack helps cut down the clutter of multiple widgets since you can also manually swipe up or down a stack to get to the widget that you want.

Let's check out how you should go about adding and editing Smart Stacks on the iPhone. We will also show you how to create your very own custom widget stacks from scratch.

How to Add a Smart Stack in iOS 14

iOS 14 comes with a Smart Stack of widgets primed and ready to go. You can add it just like any other widget to the Home screen.

Start by long-pressing a vacant area of the Home screen to jiggle all app icons. Then, tap the plus-shaped icon to the upper-left corner of the screen.

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You should see the widgets gallery. Tap the Smart Stack, which you should see at the very top.

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Pick a size (small or medium), and then tap Insert Widget to add the Smart Stackto the Home screen.

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After inserting the Smart Stack, feel free to move it around the Home screen or onto a different page altogether.

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You can also add multiple Smart Stacks, which is ideal if you want to have them in different Home screen pages.

Bring up the widgets gallery—since you've already added a Smart Stack, you won't see it listed to the top of the gallery anymore. Therefore, type in 'smart stack' into the Search Widgets field to get it to show up. Then, select a size and tap Add Widget.

Note: You can also add a Smart Stack of widgets in Today View (if it already doesn't have one)—jiggle the screen, bring up the widgets list, select Smart Stack, and then tap Add Widget. Today View is also the only way to add and use Smart Stacks on the iPad, where you can't add widgets to the Home screen.

Remove Widgets From Smart Stack

Smart Stacks that you add to the Home screen contain lots of widgets. You may not use some of them at all. In that case, you can remove such widgets, that you don't plan to use, quite easily. There are two ways to go about doing that.

The first method involves manually swiping through the stack until you get to the widget that you want to remove—let's pick the Stocks widget as an example. Then, long-press the Smart Stack and select Remove Stocks. Tap Remove to confirm.

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If there are multiple widgets that you want to remove quickly, it's best to select the Edit Stack option within the long-press context menu. On the list of widgets that then shows up, swipe unwanted widgets to the left of the screen, and then tap Delete.

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Once you've finished removing unwanted widgets, swipe down to exit to the Home screen.

Change Order of Smart Stack

When manually swiping through a Smart Stack, you may not like the order in which each widget appears. Thankfully, you can change the default ordering.

Start by long-pressing the stack—on the context menu that shows up, tap Edit Stack.

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Then, tap and hold the handles next to each listed widget to drag them around in any order. Swipe down to exit to the Home screen.

Disable Smart Stack

You may prefer to swipe through a Smart Stack instead of letting widgets rotate automatically. In that case, you can disable the 'smart' functionality of a widget.

Long-press the Smart Stack, select Edit Stack, and then turn off the switch next to Smart Rotate.

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Exit to the Home screen and the Smart Stack won't display useful widgets on its own anymore. If you want the functionality back, head back into the widget editing screen and turn on Smart Rotate.

Create Custom Smart Stack

Rather than insert a Smart Stack from the widgets gallery, you can create your own custom 'smart' stack. If your iPhone's Home screen already has widgets within it, drag and drop a widget over another similarly-sized widget to start stacking.

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Repeat the process to build up the stack with the widgets that you want. You can also drag and drop widgets over others of the same size while adding them to the Home screen via the widgets gallery.

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That's how you build your own 'smart' widget stack. Feel free to build as many as you want. Custom-built widget stacks work just like the Smart Stacks that you insert via the widgets sheet.

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You can change the order, delete widgets, and even disable the Smart Rotate functionality in a custom widget stack.

Delete Smart Stack

If you have no use for a Smart Stack anymore, you can quickly get rid of it.

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Long-press the Smart Stack, and then tap Remove Stack. Tap Remove again to confirm.

Get Smart

Rather than scattering multiple widgets around the Home screen and have them distract you all the time, opting for a Smart Stack helps you both cut down the clutter and focus your attention on the widgets that matter the most. Smart Stacks may still show the wrong widgets at first, but give them some time to 'learn' from your iPhone interactions, and you should be in for a great user experience.

Next up: Is you iPhone downloading apps all by itself? Here's how to stop that.


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Dilum Senevirathne joined Guiding Tech as a writer in 2018, where his work helps people get the most out of technology. He specializes in how-tos and explainers on topics related to Apple hardware and software, Google web apps, productivity, privacy, and security. Besides GT, Dilum also contributes to iPhone Hacks.