How Widgetsmith for iOS 17 takes your iPhone’s home screen to the next level

When widgets were added to iOS 14 in 2020 (yes, it was that long ago), developer David Smith’s Widgetsmith went ultra-viral as the best way to customize your iPhone’s home screen. With today’s iOS 17 update, widgets have become much more powerful with support for interactivity.

Now Widgetsmith is leading the way again, releasing today a robust update with full support for interactive widgets for iOS 17. You could say that Widgetsmith’s new features in iOS 17 make your Home screen… “interactive.” This is a link.

The addition of widget interactivity in iOS 17 is a major overhaul to the overall iPhone experience. Previously, clicking on a widget would automatically open any application associated with that specific widget. However, with iOS 17, you can now interact with widgets directly from your iPhone’s home screen, and Widgetsmith 5 takes advantage of this in every possible way.

In his blog, David describes a number of ways to implement interactivity in Widgetsmith 5. First of all, Widgetsmith now offers interactive photo galleries. David says the most popular widget customized in Widgetsmith is the Single Photo widget, which allows you to place your chosen photo directly on your home screen.

With new features in iOS 17, Widgetsmith now supports interactivity with the Single Photo widget, allowing you to swipe through multiple photos right on your iPhone’s home screen.

A Gallery collection that has a horizontal bar at the bottom with photo previews that you can tap to switch between. A Carousel collection where each photo takes up the entire widget frame and you navigate by clicking on the Next arrow. A “Flow” collection where photos are arranged in a horizontal flipped view, much like the old iTunes Cover Flow look.

Another change in Widgetsmith 5 is a new widget type that allows you to combine a photo widget with another widget. For example, you can use a photo widget, but place an alternative image behind it. You can then tap the image to open another widget, view the information, and then return to the photo.

However, one of the coolest features of Widgetsmith 5 is its Cover Flow-style interface for quick access to your favorite music:

Moving on to photographs, I wanted to see what could be done with Music. The most obvious thing here was to provide the ability to virtually scroll through your favorite music albums and playlists and then play them directly from the home screen.

So I created a beautiful layout for your album cover, including an additional mirror effect. Click on it, and when you find the perfect album for the moment, click on it and it will start playing without you having to open Widgetsmith.

I’ve also added the ability to play a song using the main Music app rather than through Widgetsmith if you prefer that.

Widgetsmith’s weather widgets also received a major update today, including interactivity support for viewing a forecast timeline on your iPhone’s home screen. Calendar widgets have also been updated to support interactivity.

All existing Widgetsmith widgets also work well with the new iOS 17 Idle mode.

Finally, David has added something to Widgetsmith 5 that he says is “just for fun”: it’s a 2048-style tile game that you can play right from the home screen.

You can find out more about what’s new in Widgetsmith 5 in David’s full blog post. The update is available in the App Store today. Keep in mind that you’ll need to update to iOS 17 to get full interactivity.

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