How to use home screen widgets on iPad

Would you like to add some features to your iPad home screen? Introduced in iPadOS 15, iPad users have the ability to add home screen widgets similar to those found on the iPhone. You’re not limited to the Today view for widgets. Here is what to do.

If you’re an iPad owner who also uses an iPhone, you’ll be happy to know that the home screen widgets work the same way. However, if you only have an iPad and are unfamiliar with this improved way of using widgets, here is everything you need to know.

How to find widgets on iPad

Fortunately, you have a whole gallery to search for widgets on your iPad. Tap and hold an empty space on your screen. Alternatively, you can press and hold an app or folder icon and select “Edit home screen”.

Both actions will wiggle all of your app icons. You will then see the plus sign in the top left of your screen so tap on it to open the widget gallery.

Tap the plus sign

There are several ways to find apps with widgets in the gallery. You can review suggestions, scroll through the entire list on the left, or search for one using the Find Widgets box.

Widget gallery on the iPad

When you find the app with the widget you want, tap to view the available widget sizes and types.

Widget sizes and types

Scroll right in the pop-up window to see the available widget sizes and types.

Widgets can have different sizes and depending on the size the widget can provide more or less information.

You may also see a multitude of widgets for a single app that give you different details. To the example, with the calendar widget, you can view the monthly calendar or next, each in the small size.

Small calendar widget in the gallery

Smart stack widgets

One particular type of widget that is worth checking out is the smart stack. This widget combines multiple app widgets into a single “stack”.

Smart stack widget in the gallery

To the example, you can create a Smart Stack widget that contains photos, notes and calendar all in one. Alternatively, you can use widget suggestions that show you apps based on your activity.

Once added, swipe the Smart Stack widget to manually scroll through each option. Or you can relax and watch the widget change automatically at certain times of the day or based on your previous activity (Smart Rotate).

Rotate the Smart Stack widget

To rearrange the apps in a smart stack, press and hold the widget. Choose Edit Batch. Then tap and drag each app to rearrange them or tap a minus sign to remove one.

To toggle Smart Rotate or Widget Suggestions on or off, tap the appropriate setting while the Smart Stack is in this edit mode.

Editing a Smart Stack Widget

For detailed information on smart stacks that work the same on iPhone and iPad, see our article on the Smart Stack widget.

Here’s how to add a widget to your iPad home screen

When you find a widget in the gallery you want, tap Add Widget.

Add a widget to the home screen on the iPad

This will place the widget in an open spot on your home screen, but everything will stay in edit mode (wiggle) so you can move the widget where you want. You can drag widgets the same way you drag app icons. Press, hold, drag and release a widget where you want it.

When you’re done, tap Done in the upper right corner.

Tap on Done

Widget actions and options

Widgets can offer a range of actions beyond what is shown to you.

Tap a widget to open the app. Or tap and hold and select one of these options from the context menu.

  • Edit widget: Make changes to the widget.
  • Edit or edit batches [App Name]: Change Smart Stacks.
  • Edit home screen: Add more widgets or rearrange your screen.
  • Remove widget or remove stack: Delete the widget or smart stack from your screen.

Editing a widget, smart stack options

Adding widgets to your home screen adds a lot of functionality to your iPad. You can maximize your productivity by customizing your screens as well.

Hide or rearrange screens on iPad

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