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The best Notification Center widgets in iOS 8 right now

Leah Yamshon | Sept. 29, 2014
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.

Parcels: Parcels is another package tracking app, but unlike Slice, its widget only shows what packages are due to be delivered today or tomorrow. I think this is more useful than Slice's approach.

Spring: Spring is hands down the best retail-shopping app available, due to its one-tap checkout system and gorgeously curated feed of goodies to buy. It's kind of like Instagram and your favorite high-end clothing catalog rolled into one. But, sorry Spring, your widget isn't doing us any favors: It limits the items in your feed to a tiny list of thumbnails. Ditch the widget and use the app instead.

House and home
Real Estate by Redfin: This app for house hunters has a new widget that shows properties nearby for sale, and properties nearby that have recently been sold. Though this is a useful tool if you're trying to scope out a neighborhood, I think the info is best served within the app instead of contained to Notification Center. 

Estately Flip: Estately also shows homes nearby that are for sale in its widget, but only one at a time--which keeps it from getting cluttered, but also prevents it from being really useful. Like Redfin, this is an app where the widget is not required.

Kitchen Stories Cookbook: Recipe app Kitchen Stories Cookbook serves up a new recipe every day in its widget. It's a quick recommendation, but random--you might get a dessert recipe one day and spring rolls the next. I'd rather search for specific recipes or get ideas for certain meals, so I'm not sure a random one-off recipe is a worthwhile widget. The app, however, is excellent, with scrumptious-looking photography and detailed cooking tips.

Weather
Weather is perfect in widget form: Most of the time, we just need to check the immediate forecast, so a quick glance in Notification Center does the trick. Of course, you could just leave Apple's Weather app as your default weather widget, but you have other options if you prefer another source.

The Weather Channel: The Weather Channel's widget displays the weather, a quick forecast summary, and a video icon. I could do without the video, but the info is useful and to the point. 

Yahoo Weather: Yahoo Weather shows the current temperature, the daily high and low temperatures, and an icon summarizing the forecast (like a rainy cloud, for example), all displayed over a landscape image from Flickr. 

Multimedia
Getty Images Stream: This new app serves up stunning photography pulled from Getty Images' impressive database, which you can then save or share with friends. The widget just shows thumbnails of the three newest images, but looks a little cluttered.

 

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