5 wild new methods to make Android widgets extra helpful

Widgets, widgets, widgets. Has there ever been an Android function that confirmed a lot promise and went unloved by Google for thus lengthy?

Okay, so perhaps there’s been – um, really quite a lot of occasions. But Android’s widget system is an ideal instance of an distinctive perk that Google principally buried, deserted, and left on the point of extinction till the overdue resurgence within the 2021 Android 12 replace. (And that resurgence occurred with out no obvious purpose. Only a completely random, unsolicited change of coronary heart after a decade of indifference. Riiiiiiiiiiight.)

Google could have given up on widgets for some time, however the excellent news is that (a) they’re again, child — and (b) the Android developer neighborhood simply stored on chugging alongside, developing with inventive new methods to embrace widgets, even whereas they’re on the platform stage. had been ignored. And now, it doesn’t matter what Android model your favourite cellphone is operating, you may take your personal Android widget recreation to the following stage and provides your self some contemporary and fruitful paths to get essentially the most out of your cellphone’s framework.

Right here, my expensive, are some improbable methods to make use of your favourite Android widgets and alter the best way you get issues performed in your cellphone. (And you probably have a Chromebook, by the best way, take a look at this nifty hack to embed widgets That atmosphere too.)

(Psst: Love studying new issues? Get my Android Intelligence publication to get three tasty new ideas in your inbox each Friday.)

Widgets are a good way to cope with every kind of data with out ever having to open apps, however too many widgets can shortly result in a cluttered and overwhelming residence display screen.

Properly, right here’s a nifty approach to give your self the good thing about a widget whereas nonetheless sustaining a neat and minimal workspace: a superb app referred to as Popup widget 3 permits you to create an on-demand pop-up widget (get it?!) that appears like a plain outdated icon on your house display screen, however then masses no matter widget you need once you faucet it.

To see?


You’ll be able to even get Actual wild and set a single icon that opens a number of widgets on the identical time — like your inbox and your calendar collectively:

Android Widgets: Popup (2) Jr

Not dangerous, proper?

Popup Widget 3 prices $1.50 and requires no particular permissions or entry strategies. And it’s fairly straightforward and self-explanatory to arrange: as soon as you put in and open the app, it is going to stroll you thru including the popup widgets you need. You’ll be able to select the identify and even the icon related to every icon, together with its exact placement in your display screen and the way a lot the display screen ought to dim behind it when loaded.

The app will then supply so as to add the shortcut on to your house display screen, or you can even discover all of your Pop-Up Widget creations by urgent and holding the Pop-Up Widget’s primary icon in your app drawer.

And that, my widget-loving wallaby, is simply our first profitable widget alternative.

When you like the thought of ​​having an on-demand widget, however want it to be accessible to invoke all over the place as a substitute of simply from your house display screen, this subsequent wacky widget choice is true up your alley.

It comes from a spectacular app referred to as Edge gestures, which groups up with Pop-Up Widget 3 to make the identical idea universally accessible. (I advised you it was loopy!)

If you first set up Edge Gestures, the app will immediate you to allow it as a system accessibility service and provides it the power to show over different apps. These permissions sound scary – and they need to! – however within the case of this specific utility, they’re completely applicable and obligatory for it to work. The previous is the one method an app could make a customized system-wide gesture, which we want for this configuration to work its magic, and the latter is how your widget can seem on high of all the things else you’re doing.

(When you’re involved, be aware of this: Edge Gestures doesn’t request every other system permissions, together with the power to entry the Web. Meaning it has no method of lurking info out of your gadget and to theoretical Bogeymen within the digital shadows, even when it wished to. But it surely appears secure to say it isn’t. The app is respected, has been round for a very long time and has numerous overwhelmingly constructive critiques. )

The place had been we? Oh sure: when you’re within the Edge Gestures configuration space, you may choose precisely which gesture you wish to use to get your widget. I’d assume laborious about discovering one thing that doesn’t intervene with anything, like system-level Android gestures, and that’s simply accessible with out being a command you’re more likely to by accident set off.

For instance, you can also make the gesture by merely swiping down the left facet of your display screen. To try this, discover the “Swipe down” choice within the “Left” tab of the app and set it to “Popup Widget” – then create or choose the specified Popup Widget entry. And bear in mind: you may choose one widget or a number of widgets too.

Put together for some severe oohing and ahing:

Android Widgets: Edge Gestures Jr

As you may see, this opens up a complete new world of cellular multitasking potential. I imply, actually: how might you not love that?!

The very last thing value doing is moving into all the things different gesture choices in that very same configuration space and faucet “Clear” for every of them to take away Edge Gestures’ default actions. I might additionally go to every facet of the display screen are usually not use – left or proper – and faucet the swap to utterly flip off the gestures for that facet. This manner you don’t by accident activate gestures that you simply don’t really need or want.

Edge Gestures prices $1.49 to make use of.

Subsequent, right here’s an fascinating twist on that very same on-demand Android widget thought: in case you like having a widget accessible on a regular basis however aren’t too eager on the hidden gesture idea, there’s an app referred to as Overlays permits you to create slightly floating bubble that you could place anyplace in your display screen, then faucet to deliver up a widget everytime you need – similar to with Android’s oft-forgotten Bubbles system for messaging.

To have a look at:

Android Widgets: Overlays Jr

By default, Overlays provides you a bunch of them personal small widgets to select from, however the true energy comes from including widgets from the Android apps you really depend on. To do that, faucet the “Triggers” tab on the backside of the Overlays configuration space, then faucet the crimson plus button within the bottom-right nook of the display screen. Choose “Handbook”, then sort within the desired identify in your widget and faucet the icon to decide on an icon you need.

Faucet “Save”, then choose “Widget” and discover the specified widget within the checklist. At that time, you will notice a preview of the widget. Transfer or resize it in case you like, then hit the arrow within the high left nook of the display screen to exit that interface. Final however not least, faucet the identify of your newly created widget on the display screen that seems to alter its standing to “All the time On”.

When you exit the app and return to your house display screen, your fancy new widget ought to seem instantly. All you’ll want to do is faucet the little downward arrow within the nook to attenuate it to a bubble, which you’ll then press and maintain to go anyplace your widget-worshipping coronary heart needs.

Overlays also can create widgets that seem robotically based mostly on context – so you may have one thing pop up each time you hook up with a selected Bluetooth gadget or Wi-Fi community, for instance. To discover these choices, simply comply with the identical steps as above, however select “Occasion” as a substitute of “Handbook” once you attain the “Triggers” tab configuration.

Overlays is free with an non-compulsory $4 in-app improve that removes some adverts from the configuration software and unlocks a handful of superior options.

When you’ve bought a Google Pixel cellphone, pay attention up: You’ll be able to summon a number of the most-used Android widgets at any time by merely coughing out the suitable voice command.

Sure, certainly: the additional superior model of Google Assistant on Pixels has a giant secret. Simply say “Hey Google” and say one thing like “Present me the Hold widget.”

And god rattling it, would you check out that?!

Android widgets: Google Assistant, Keep Jr

As of now, the system seems to work primarily with widgets from Google-made Android apps, together with Hold, Calendar, Chrome, Clock, Maps, Google Information, and YouTube Music. It’s an extremely handy approach to see each widget you want, from anyplace in your system, with out having to raise a single finger. And now you understand.

Final however not least in our assortment of loopy Android widget choices is a really current discovery for me: the power to create your personal customized widget for almost any web site possible.

I’ve an in depth overview of all of the steps on this column, however the brief model is known as an app widgetify makes it nearly shockingly straightforward to show any web site right into a widget after which see it on your house display screen. That method you may keep watch over it on a regular basis and at all times have it at your fingertips – whether or not the location in query is a favourite information supply, a discussion board you go to usually or maybe an essential web page of your personal firm’s web site.

Custom Android Widget: Websites Jr

And there you might have it: 5 loopy, wild, great methods to make widgets much more superior. Some days you simply have to like Android and the inventive pondering it permits.

Put much more Googley goodness in your head with my Android Intelligence publication – three new issues to know and three issues to strive each Friday!

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.