iOS 14 – Customization and Widgets

By Emily Dewey

IOS 14, introduced September 16th 2020, has taken the Apple community by storm. This update is arguably the best one yet, with loads of cool updates and features to personalize your phone. Along with many bug fixes, new FaceTime call features, Memoji updates, new Siri interface, message improvements, and privacy enhancements, you can now place “widgets” on your home screen and cover your apps with personalized pictures. Additionally, if you were looking to accurately learn a foreign language, you can use the all new translate app- which has proved to be immensely accurate so far. This update is available to iPhone 6S- iPhone SE. According to Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, “With beautifully redesigned widgets on the Home Screen, the App Library that automatically organizes all of your apps, and App Clips that are fast and easy to discover, iPhone becomes even more powerful and easier to use.”

The apps I recommend downloading for this process are Color Widgets, Widget Smith, and Shortcuts (as explained in video below).  Not only can you do this, but instead of taking extended time to switch from Shortcuts to the app, you can just reduce motion in your settings. On average, many people have said these screens have taken multiple hours – but that includes selecting pictures, backgrounds, finding a theme, and placing it. Some popular themes among teens and young adults are celebrities, friends and family, rainbow pages, etc. Although it is a tricky process, the finishing product will leave all your friends jealous of your new look! Below are step- by- step directions for each app in case you find the video hard to follow along with, or you’re on the go and can’t watch it.

How to: Customization

Color Widgets:

  • Color Widgets is used to personalize time, date and battery percentage in your own
    way (Pictured Right)
  • Start out by downloading the “Color Widgets” app from the App Store
  • Once downloaded, open the app and explore the different pre-made templates
  • When you find the one you like, select it and click “Edit Widget”- adjust the font, color, or even upload your own photo in the provided sections on the app
  • Once satisfied, click set widget and go to your home screen
  • Go to the page you want it on, then hold down on your screen until the apps start to shake
  • Click the “+” in the corner of your screen
  • Scroll down until you see the app “Color Widgets” and select it
  • Set the size widget you want and click “add widget”
  • All done! Move it around like you would an app and customize

Widget Smith:

  • Widget Smith is used to add pictures to your home screen (Pictured Right)
  • First gather the pictures you want to use on your home screen
  • Next, you want to make sure each individual picture you are using is in its own album
  • To do this, go to camera roll, click the upward arrow with a box around it and scroll to “create new album”
  • Title this album something that defines it away from your other pictures and albums
  • After repeating this process with every picture, open Widget Smith
  • You will notice you can select a small, medium, or large widget
  • Once you’ve made your selection, click “Add ___ Widget”
  • Click the newly added widget
  • Tap “Default Widget”
  • You should see a screen of categories and buttons, then scroll until you see “photo in album”- click this
  • Once Selected, Tap “selected album” at the bottom of your screen
  • Scroll all the way down to the first picture you want, and select the name of that album
  • Once you do this, click the back arrow at the left-hand corner of your screen
  • You should now see a screen with your widget and the new picture, Click Save
  • You will notice your completed picture in a row
  • Exit the Widget Smith app and go to the page on your home screen you would like to apply this widget
  • Like before, hold down your screen until the apps move
  • Click the “+” button
    n and scroll down to widget smith
  • Select the widget size of the widget you just made in the app and click “add widget”
  • You should now have a widget of your selected size appear on your home scree

*oops- you don’t have that? Is it grey, the wrong picture, or colorless? *

    • Hold down on the widget and select “edit Widget”
    • Select Widget and it will bring you to a list of all that you have made. Select the one that you want
    • Keep messing around with it until you find the picture you want
  • All done! Customize and add as many pictures as you can


  • Shortcuts is used to personalize the cover of your apps
  • First, start out by saving the picture you want to your camera roll
  • Then open the Shortcuts app
  • When opened, Select the “+” in the upper left-hand corner
  • Click “add Action” and type “open app” in the search bar- select it
  • Click “choose” in the shadowy box
  • Type in the app your customizing
  • After selecting the app your customizing, click the 3 dots in a circle
  • Where it says, “shortcut name”, enter the name of your app
  • Once done, click add to home screen
  • Where it says, “New shortcut #”, enter the name of your app
  • Select the colored box right next to this name and click “Choose Photo”
  • Choose the cover for your selected app and crop it how you want
  • After cropping it, select “choose” and hit done
  • Repeat for all your apps
  • *how to get rid of original apps*
      • Once you have your apps newly customized, go to the original un-customized apps and hold down until they move

    Select “remove app” from the dropdown bar and then select “move to app library”

How to lessen the time between shortcuts and selected app:

  • To reduce the amount of time it takes from the shortcut’s app to the app of your choosing, go to your settings
  • Click Accessibility and select motion
  • Make sure the option for “reduce motion” is on and green and so is “prefer cross- fade transitions”


Video Link:

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