google widget report card hero 2
google widget report card hero 2


Google Apps widgetsSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

What I love about Android more than anything is that you can use wallpapers, Android launcher, icon packs, and widgets to make your phone a truly unique and custom experience. Widgets are basically miniature applications that run on your home screen and display information so you don’t have to dive into the weather app to see the temperature or the next calendar appointment. Widgets can also be used to control your music, toggle quick settings, or even interact with your smart home without leaving the home screen. Here’s how to add new widgets or remove the preinstalled widgets on your Android phone.

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

Widgets are treated a little differently between launchers – the app that runs your home screen – but most launchers follow the same basic procedure for adding widgets. The layout can be slightly different depending on the manufacturer of your phone, whether you’re using a third-party launcher, and what version of Android your phone is on.

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These screenshots were taken with a Samsung Galaxy A52 5G and the Samsung One UI Home Launcher (left), Nova Launcher (middle) and Smart Launcher 5 (right).

  1. Long press free space on your home screen.

    Add widget in a user interface Home

    Add widget in Nova LauncherAdd widget in Smart LauncherSource: Android Central

  2. Tap Widgets or Add widget. Nova users swipe up on widgets to open the menu.

    Add a widget in a user interface Home

    Add widget in Nova LauncherAdd widget in Smart LauncherSource: Android Central

  3. Scroll through Widget pages to find the widget you want to add.

    Add a widget in a user interface Home

    Add widget in Nova LauncherAdd widget in Smart LauncherSource: Android Central

  4. Tap the Widget to add it to your home screen. Some starters require you to drag and drop the widget instead.

    Add widget in a user interface Home

    Add widget in Nova LauncherAdd widget in Smart LauncherSource: Android Central

  5. If this is the first time you’re using a third-party launcher and placing a widget, tap Always allowed and Create.

    Add widget in a user interface Home

    Add widget in Nova LauncherAdd widget in Smart LauncherSource: Android Central

Depending on the grid size used by your launcher and the launcher itself, most of the widgets will be added at their original size, usually 1×1, 2×2, or 4×1. If there is not enough space to place the widget, it might automatically be placed on the next page.

If you want the widget to be larger or smaller, you need to resize it, but don’t worry. It’s even easier than placing the widget. Long press the widget until a bounding box appears, and then drag the edges to the size you want. That’s it.

How to remove a widget from your home screen

When you’re fed up with a widget and want to remove it, it’s quick and painless. These screenshots were taken with a Samsung Galaxy A52 5G and the Samsung One UI Home Launcher (left), Nova Launcher (center) and Smart Launcher 5 (right).

  1. Long press Widget You want to delete.

    Add a widget in a user interface Home

    Remove the widget in Nova LauncherAdd widget in Smart LauncherSource: Android Central

  2. Tap Remove or the X.. If you don’t see this option, drag and drop the widget to the top of the screen where you want a trash can to appear.

    Remove the widget in a user interface

    Remove the widget in Nova LauncherRemove the widget in Smart LauncherSource: Android Central

Do you need widget ideas? Start here!

If you want to play with widgets, but don’t necessarily know which apps have widgets that you actually like, here are a few things you can do to improve your widget experience:

  • The best weather apps have multiple widgets to choose from. In particular, 1Weather, Appy Weather, and Today Weather have more than a dozen widget styles to choose from to display current or future conditions on your home screen.
  • Productivity apps have gotten better in terms of widgets over the past few years, but the one I care about is Google Keep. I can refer to notes without opening the full app and create a new to-do list with one tap.
  • Every music app that’s worth the money has at least one playback widget so you can pause or skip to the next track. They’re old, thin, and usually don’t resize well. Once you’ve gotten a little familiar with widgets, I recommend trying KWGT instead. This is a widget editor that lets you see what you get. You can either create your own music widget from scratch or use one of the thousands of KWGT Pro presets either used in the KWGT preset packs or shared by theme makers in communities like r / androidthemes and r / kustom.

We were hoping that after adding home screen widgets in iOS14, Google would get the kick it desperately needs, but almost a year later, Google’s own widgets are as outdated as ever. Hopefully we’ll get some improved widget guidelines with Android 12, but so far we haven’t seen much outside of a new conversations widget.

If not, we always have KWGT.



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