The feature I'm enjoying the most in iOS 8 is its Notification Center widgets. I was always a little envious of my Android-touting friends who had custom widgets with handy info on one glanceable screen, so I'm thrilled that widgets finally got the iOS treatment. Just a quick swipe down from the top of your iPhone's screen brings you to a snapshot of all of the need-to-know info from different apps, and you get to pick what widgets show up there.
Though not all third-party apps are compatible with Notification Center widgets, there are a bunch of outstanding apps that are. Here's a look at apps that you can install as widgets, right now.
First things first
Before you download any new apps, take a look at your current Notification Center to see what's already there. Swipe down from the top of your screen, then tap the Today tab. This is how iOS 8 does widgets--in a uniform, minimalist design that's easy on the eyes.
You should already see Apple's widget listings there, which include Calendar, Weather, Stocks, and Reminders. Scroll down to the bottom of the Today tab and tap Edit to add more. You'll then see a list of every app on your iPhone that is compatible with widgets, meaning that the developer has built that functionality into the app itself. The apps already included your personal Notification Center are marked on the top; apps that are compatible but not included are found below. Just tap the red circle to remove an app, or the green circle to add one.
(For more details on Notification Center widgets, check out our widget customization guide.)
There are plenty more apps available if you'd like to add more widgets. Download any of the following apps, then go back to Notification Center to edit and add them to your Today view. I'll warn you, though: It's really easy to add too many widgets, way too fast, making your lovely clean Notification Center look like a TMI explosion. If you choose carefully, you can curate the perfect collection of widgets for your needs.
Though having the day's news right in your Notification Center sounds awesome in theory, I found all of these options to be too overwhelming as widgets. The included photos take up too much space, and you can't mark stories as read, meaning they'll be in Notification Center until the app replaces it with something else. I personally won't be keeping any of these in my Today feed, but the one I thought looked best was News360, with small image thumbnails and just the story headline.
BuzzFeed: For the latest in adorable animals and celebrity listicles, BuzzFeed has you covered. Its widget shows you one article at a time, with an image, which you can tap to read, bookmark, or skip to check out another story.
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