Here’s how Apple Watch widgets work in watchOS 10

Apple last week previewed watchOS 10, its next major software update for compatible Apple Watch models. Among a handful of new features, one of the most notable is the introduction of widgets. Let’s take a closer look at how they work and what you can do with them.

widgets in watchos10

What’s up with the widgets?

Widgets offer a new way to quickly view app information from any watch face on your Apple Watch, without having to open the corresponding app or rely solely on complications. In other words, if you choose simple faces without complications, you can still access the information you want, and if you like complicated faces, now you can get even more information at a glance.

In watchOS 10, an upward rotation of the Digital Crown or a swipe up from the bottom of the watch face using your finger (Control Center is now accessible via the side button) reveals a dynamic Smart Stack of widget below the time and date that takes up half of the screen. You can swipe these widgets with the Digital Crown or your finger, and tap a widget to open the corresponding app.

watchos widgets

Using machine learning, the order of the widgets can change according to your needs at any time of the day.

For example, if you have upcoming events in your calendar, a boarding pass for an upcoming flight, or tasks you need to complete, they’ll appear in order of priority. Or, if you start a timer, it will appear at the top of the widget stack so you can easily see how much time is left.

In addition to relevance-based sorting, Smart Stack also includes the ability to manually arrange widgets, so Smart Stack can be as dynamic or fixed as you like.

There are actually two types of widgets in watchOS 10: dedicated app widgets that provide information from a single app, and a user-configurable complication widget that displays up to three watch face-style complications.

see widget complications

At the bottom of the widget stack is a button that takes you to the traditional apps menu for accessing all your Apple Watch apps.

Choose the widgets you want to see

Like the iPhone Home screen widgets in iOS 16, the Apple Watch widgets in watchOS 10 can function as a Smart Stack that changes based on context or time of day, or you can manually choose which ones you want to include and also block the widgets at the top of the stack. The following steps show how to edit widgets from any watch face.

  1. On an Apple Watch with watchOS 10, swipe up using the Digital Crown or swipe up from the bottom of the screen using your finger.
  2. Long press any widget to enter stack jiggle mode. (Note that you cannot change the date and time display at the top of the stack.)
  3. Tap the red minus button on a widget to remove it from the stack, or tap the larger button above the stack to add one.
  4. To pin a widget to stay on top of the stack, tap its yellow pin icon.
  5. To change the complication widget, scroll to the bottom and tap the minus icon next to a complication, then tap the plus symbol to replace it with another available complication. (Note: You can also pin the complications widget.)

clock widget changer

summing up

Apple is launching widgets as a way to enjoy simple watch faces like Portrait, without being far from the kind of on-screen information complications typically provide. Using the Digital Crown, real-time data from your favorite apps is at your fingertips. What do you think of widgets? Let us know in the comments.

watchOS 10 will be released to the public this fall and is compatible with Apple Watch Series 4 and later. Additionally, you’ll also need an iPhone capable of running iOS 17. This includes iPhone XS or later and iPhone XR or later. For a complete list of iOS 17 compatible iPhones, check out our quick start guide.

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