One of the major changes with today’s launch of iOS 16 is the ability for users’ to now personalize their Lock Screen with widgets, in addition to adding widgets to the Home Screen, which had rolled out in iOS 14. However, outside of built-in widgets for Apple’s first-party apps like Calendar, Clock, Fitness, Home, News, Reminders, and others, this new feature relies on developer adoption. Fortunately, a number of app developers have worked to make their apps iOS 16-ready on launch day, having seemingly understood the power that comes from earning a place in this key iPhone real estate.
Whether you’re looking to customize your overall iPhone theme, or you have a more specific goal in mind — like keeping up with your workouts or emails, for instance — there are already quite a few apps going live today that can help you personalize your device’s Lock Screen using widgets. These widgets come in three sizes: circular, rectangular and inline. The first two appear below the clock on the Lock Screen, while inline widgets sit as a line of text and/or symbols above. But it’s up to the developers which widgets they choose to support.
To add the widgets, you just press and hold on your Lock Screen after updating to iOS 16 then tap the “Customize” button. From this edit mode, you can then tap the row where you want to add or swap out widgets. This will pull up a window that lists the available widgets you can add.
Likely, Lock Screen widgets will mainly appeal to an app’s most loyal customers and to those who already spend time customizing their device’s look and feel on a regular basis with other personalizations, like custom icons and Home Screen widgets.
We’ve taken a look at some of the iOS 16-ready apps that have today introduced support for Lock Screen widgets, and compiled the list below with a few recommendations. Over time, there will be many more apps that update to include widgets, but whether sizable user adoption will follow still remains to be seen.
- Motivation: This motivational quotes widget saw 500,000 downloads in a day when iOS Home Screen widgets first launched. Now it will allow users to add those same motivational quotes to their Lock Screen in different widget sizes.
- I am: Made by the same company as Motivation, this variation includes only positive affirmations designed to disrupt self-doubt, many of which begin with the text “I am.”
- Launcher: This custom widget maker tool is expanding beyond its interactive Home Screen widgets to now allow users to add widgets to their Lock Screen which let you do things like run shortcuts, play music, contact people, or run any app. It will also support Watch Face Widgets on watchOS 9.
- Themify: Another Home Screen personalization app that’s updated with support for iOS 16 features, including the Depth Effect wallpapers and Lock Screen widgets offering inspirational quotes.
- Widgetsmith: One of the most popular Home Screen widget customization apps has expanded to now support the iOS 16 Lock Screen, giving users the ability to design their own text, circular or rectangular widgets using a variety of options, themes, symbols, photos, and other widget types — similar to how you can build your own Home Screen widgets. A must-have for true customizers.
- Livepic: (to become MyScreen): A customization app that had before focused on Live Wallpapers and Home Screen themes will update following iOS 16’s release in around a week’s time (Sorry, this one is delayed!). It will deprecate Live Wallpapers in favor of Depth Effect Wallpapers with its iOS 16 update, and will change its name to “MyScreen,” as a result. The app will also add a new “Lock Screen Pack” feature that contains several elements designed to work together, including wallpapers, widgets, charging animations, and more. It’s also adding a Photo Shuffle feature that lets you configure how often you shuffle between your favorite Lock Screen photos. Each pack has up to 20 images with a similar design, theme, or color scheme.
- Lock Screen Icon widget: A WWDC’20 Swift Student Challenge Winner, Rihab Mehboob, has designed a very simple Lock Screen widget that lets you customize your screen with icons and text, as well as another for contacting favorite people with messages or FaceTime.
- TripIt: This often-used travel app is adding Lock Screen widgets that will display the most relevant details for a user’s trip or activity, including things like the upcoming trip or plan (eg. the flight, train, hotel, etc.), the relevant flight information, and the post-landing details, like a car reservation or hotel booking.
- Things: The popular task manager app is bringing your “to do” list to the Lock Screen. The company made three new Lock Screen widgets, a Lists widget that puts your to-do’s directly on your phone’s screen — including either today’s to-do’s, your inbox, deadlines or others. Meanwhile, the “New To-Do” widget lets you tap to launch the app and add a new item, while the Progress ring widget lets you quickly see how many of your to-do items you’ve completed.
- Readdle: This company’s longtime PDF app for iPhone, PDF Expert, will introduce Lock Screen widgets for quick access to recent and favorite files, jumping into an audio player, or syncing files to your computer. Its Documents and Calendars apps will also embrace the Lock Screen with widgets for recent and favorite files, tasks and events, to-dos and other features. And its Scanner Pro app will let you start a scan or visit your scans library from the Lock Screen.
- Todoist: This popular to-do list app and task manager added a variety of iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets for quickly adding tasks, keeping up with task goals and other productivity stats.
- GoodLinks: This $4.99 read-it-later app updated for iOS 16 with support for a range of features, including Focus Filters, App Shortcuts and Lock Screen widgets that let you access a list or a tag or open an random unread link.
- LookUp: This English dictionary app had already offered more than just definitions with features like Word of the Day, quizzes, translations and more. With iOS 16, it’s adding Lock Screen widgets including a glanceable Word of the Day, quick access to Search (so you can look things up without unlocking your iPhone), and a Learn widget for growing your vocabulary.
- Google: We should note that Google today promised iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets for key apps like Search, Chrome, Gmail, Maps, and more, but it doesn’t have them available on launch day, saying instead they’ll roll out in the “coming weeks.”
- Pestle: This recipes app will update for iOS 16 with features like Siri Shortcuts, support for “Shared with You” to incorporate recipes sent over iMessage, as well as Lock Screen widgets. Its new widgets will include one that shows a user their meal plan, as well as Live Activity widget when iOS 16.1 releases later this fall.
- CARROT Weather: This award-winning weather app has already made a name for itself with its great design, feature set, and the humor it brings to something as typically straightforward as a weather forecast. Now it’s adding over 20 customizable Lock Screen widgets that will allow users to view the weather, daily and hourly forecast and even CARROT’s jokes without unlocking your iPhone.
Health & Fitness
- Personal Best: This fitness tracking app is rolling out a big update for iOS 16 that includes new features like heart rate zones, new workout icons, and more in addition to its Lock Screen widgets that help you keep track of your latest workouts and their details.
- SmartGym: Along with plans for Live Activities support in a later release, this fitness app is adding iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets offering a weekly summary, heart rate and calorie charts, and a way to track how many workouts you’ve done. The widgets come in multiple shapes and sizes, as well.
- Empirical Sleep: This iPhone sleep tracker works with Apple Watch to help users analyze their sleep patterns, including by integrating its data with the iOS Health app. The app looks at three main metrics — sleep onset, duration and quality — and makes recommendations for better sleep. With iOS 16, Empirical Sleep is updating with a new “sleep stages” support supported by watchOS 9, new watchface complications and iPhone Lock Screen widgets that will display the three sleep stages it tracks.
- Gentler Streak: This personalized workout tracker app is introducing three sizes for its Lock Screen widgets which allow you to track your activity status using simple iconography along with motivational support.
- Dark Noise: This $9.99 white noise app lets you easily access ambient sounds for sleeping, focus, relaxing and more. With iOS 16, the app lets you add a shortcut to your favorite sound right on the Lock Screen.
- WaterMinder, FitnessView and Calory: From the same developer, this hydration tracker, fitness tracker and calorie tracker have all been updated with iOS 16 with Lock Screen widgets that let you keep your eye on your various health metrics without unlocking your phone.
- CardPointers: This iOS app helps you find the right credit card to use in order to maximize your bonuses when you make a purchase. With iOS 16, it’s launching a new version that adds support for a range of new features, like Focus Filters, Passkeys, App Shortcuts, Shared with You and more, as well as a set of Lock Screen widgets. Because the app automatically creates thousands of App Shortcuts, there are a lot of possible Lock Screen widgets available, as well. The app supports 2 variants — one that shows you the best card to use at any store or category of purchase; and another for tracking expiring points and offers to help you save money.
- Speedy: This dedicated app allows you quickly message, call, text a contact from the Lock Screen, or even message with FaceTime, WhatsApp, Signal, or Telegram. The app doesn’t require additional permissions to work and will remain free as the developer expects this to be a crowded space.
- Scanner Live: This new iOS scanning app helps users scan, sign, edit, annotate and export PDFs from its app. With iOS 16, you can also add scanning shortcuts to the Lock Screen in the form of either a Live Scan or Classic Scan widget.
- Clendar: This $0.99 minimalist calendar app is rolling out its iOS Lock Screen widgets for keeping up with your appointments.
- Pretty Progress App: This app which already delivered templated countdowns, timers and progress bar widgets to the Home Screen is now adding Lock Screen widgets as well with the iOS 16 update, in addition to support for syncing with iCloud.
Soor: This alternative music player app rolled out iOS 16 support with Lock Screen widgets in both rectangular and circular versions that let you access your favorite music without unlocking your iPhone.