A Complete Guide to Adding and Using Widgets on iPad

Widgets aren’t new to the iPad or iPhone. You can use them in Today view on both devices. But with iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, some new features have been added to improve their functionality. If you’re curious about how widgets work on iPad and how to use them, you’ve come to the right place.

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Widgets have been part of Android since its inception. But they arrived late on the iPhone and the iPad. Because of this, they lack some features, but luckily over time Apple adds more features to them. You can add widgets for Apple apps and third-party apps to your iPad.

Without making you wait any longer, we’ll show you how to add and use widgets on Apple iPad.

What are widgets on iPad

Widgets are information boxes that display important content of the associated application without opening the application. In addition to providing useful information at a glance, widgets are interactive. Tap the widget item to open it and go directly to it. For example, you can view your newly created note on the Apple Notes app using widgets. Likewise, with the Apple News widget, you can see the news directly. Tap any news item to read the full story in a browser.

How to use widgets on iPad

Widgets save you time because you don’t need to find and open the app. You can read more about the differences between a widget and an app.

How Widgets Work on iPad

iOS and iPadOS 14 have brought new skills to widgets. The most important feature is that you can add widgets on the iPhone home screen alongside the apps. You can place widgets anywhere on your iPhone home screen. However, said functionality is limited to iPhone only.

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On iPad, you can’t place widgets directly on the Home screen. Widgets remain only in Today view. But you can enable a setting (Keep Day View on Home Screen) that will show Day View on your iPad’s Home screen. For the ignorant, Today view is the sidebar that appears when you swipe right from the left edge of the first app screen. You can also open it by swiping your finger right from the notification panel.

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You can pin Today view to the Home screen so that widgets are directly available on the Home screen (sort of). However, you cannot move widgets out of Today view.

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However, pinning the Today view to the Home screen only works for smaller app icons (more info below) and landscape mode. If you rotate your device in portrait mode, Today view disappears from the Home screen, hiding widgets. You will then need to use the old method to access Today view, which is swiping to the right from the left edge of the first screen.

In iPadOS 14, you get several new features related to widgets. For starters, widgets have been redesigned to be more beautiful and data rich. You can now customize the size of the widgets from three sizes: small, medium and large, depending on how much information you want to see.

You also get a special type of widget called a Smart Stack. Smart Stack combines different widgets into one and automatically rotates between them to display relevant information. Batteries use on-device intelligence and machine learning to show you the right widget at the right time, based on location, activity, and time.

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You can also manually rotate between different widgets in a Smart Stack by dragging on them. You can also create a stack of widgets yourself. This will save space on your Today view and will also help you group similar widgets together if needed. Check out our in-depth guide on how to add and edit the Smart Stack Widget.

Now that you are familiar with the basics of widgets, let’s take a look at how to add and use widgets in iPadOS 14.

How to use widgets on iPad

Here’s how to perform various widget related actions like add, edit, or delete on iPad.

How to add widgets on iPad

You can only add widgets in Today view on iPad. So open Today view by swiping right from the left edge of the first screen. Press and hold any widget until you see the menu. Tap Edit Home Screen.

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Widgets will start to shake and a new add icon (+) will appear at the top.

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Tap on it to access the widget screen. Here you will find various Apple widgets. You can also use the search at the top to find a widget. Tap the widget you want to add.

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You will see different sizes available for the widget. Drag between them to view the different sizes. When you are on the preferred widget size, tap the Add Widget button.

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The widget will be added to the Today view. Tap anywhere on the screen or tap the Done button at the top to save the changes.

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Pro tip: To reposition a widget on the Today view, hold it down and drag it to its new position.

Add day view to the home screen

Now, if you want to add the Today view to the iPad home screen, open the settings on your device and go to Home screen and Dock. Choose More under Application Icons instead of Larger. Then activate Keep Today View on the Home screen.

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Now use the iPad in landscape mode and go to the first page of your home screen. You will find the day view with your widgets on the home screen. Swipe up on widgets to view more widgets.

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Remember: Today view on the Home screen only works in landscape mode and for the Plus app icon type in Home screen settings.

You can also add other widgets from the home screen. Long press any empty space on the Home screen or any app icon and select Edit Home screen. When the widgets and icons start to vibrate, you will see the add icon in the top left corner.

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How to add third party widgets to iPad

As mentioned earlier, the add icon only allows you to add widgets from Apple apps. To add third-party widgets, go to Home screen edit mode. When the icon and widgets start to shake, scroll to the end of the list of widgets in Today view. Tap Personalize.

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You will be taken to another Add Widgets screen. Tap the green add icon next to the widget you want to add. Or, tap the red icon to remove the widget. You can change the position of widgets by dragging them using the correct size three bar icon. Tap Done to save the changes.

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Third-party app widgets will be listed under Apple widgets in the Today view.

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How to remove a widget from iPad

To remove or hide a widget from Today view, open Today view. Long press on the widget you want to remove. Tap Remove Widget.

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Alternatively, when you are in home screen edit mode, tap the little minus (-) next to the widget in Today view to remove it.

Pro tip: If you don’t like widgets or the Today view, remove all widgets from the Today view to make it empty.

How to pin widgets on iPad

If you want some Apple widgets to always stay on top, you can pin them. To do this, touch and hold any widget in Today view. Tap Edit Home Screen. You will notice a dark gray box at the top of the widgets. Drag widgets there to pin them.

Note: This feature only works in landscape mode when Today view is visible on the Home screen.

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How to customize widgets

Some widgets allow you to choose which data to display. For example, in the Apple Notes widget, you can select which note should open directly from a widget or change the location of the weather widget. You can customize this behavior by modifying a widget. To do this, long-press a widget in Today view. Tap Edit Widget.

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Tap the available property to select a different one.

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What’s up, Apple

It’s weird how Apple allowed iOS to add widgets to any home screen, but not on iPad where there is more screen space. Widgets should have been treated the same on the iPad as they were on iOS. The discrimination is mind boggling. I really hope Apple adds the ability to put widgets anywhere on the iPad home screen.


Want to save space on your iPhone and iPad? Do this by unloading an app. Find out the difference between unloading and deleting the app from the following link.

Last updated August 19, 2020

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