Among the tweaks and additions in iOS 10, Apple brought a welcome makeover to widgets. Previously hidden away in Notification Center, they now get their own Today screen, accessible by swiping right from either your home screen or the lock screen. Developers are updating their apps to take advantage of this feature; if one of your favorite apps already on your iPhone is available in widget form, you can find out by scrolling to the bottom of the Today screen, tapping edit and seeing if that app is listed among the widgets you can add. You can also download the following apps to help fill out your Today screen with useful widgets.
Now that Google Assistant has hit the iPhone, it has its own widget, too. Think of the Google Assistant widget as more of a shortcut to launching the app. Tap the widget, and Google Assistant launches, and from there you can tell the assistant to look up answers to questions, send messages and more. (The Assistant is particularly savvy at making restaurant reservations.)
Google Assistant isn't the only digital helper with its own widget. The iOS version of Cortana has one, too. As with Google Assistant, the Cortana widget merely acts as a shortcut to the app itself. But you can also add reminders to yourself from the Cortana widget on the Today screen. Now, it's just a matter of determining which digital assistant on iOS is the best one to use.
If you, like me, spend way too much of your time watching TV, you may get overwhelmed not only tracking your shows, but also remembering when they air. The $2.99 Television Time's widget gives you a handy look at which of the shows you watch are airing soon; a tap launches the app and brings you to a summary of the episode in question.
ESPN's mobile app includes news, highlights and even live streams of games airing on the self-proclaimed Sports Leader's many channels. But sometimes, you just want a quick score update. Add the ESPN widget to your today screen, and scores for the teams you've designated as your favorites will pop up without you ever having to fire up the ESPN app.
If you're not already using the free Authy app to manage your two-factor authentication, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. The app's widget makes it handy to quickly get to these security codes, and its ability to keep them hidden until you've unlocked your iOS device means that they won't get easily spotted by snoops.
It's already a great iOS app, but the $2.99 Fantastical 2's widget makes the calendaring app just that much more useful. It provides a full calendar of the current month, but lets you page through months to see what's coming up, or what happened in months gone by. Select any day from the widget to see what events you have scheduled; tapping any event takes you right to it in the full app.
I like the IFTTT web service, which lets me string together automated tasks from a variety of other services, but I especially appreciate its free Do Button app, which allows me to assign those tasks to a single button. The widget gives you quick access to the buttons you've created, which makes it even easier to trigger a specific job.