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One of the most useful features of your iPhone is hidden to the left of the home screen - here's how to use it

Sunday - 04/06/2017 17:06
The widget panel is just to the left of your home screen
Todd Haselton | CNBC
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Have you ever swiped left on your iPhone's home screen and seen a bunch of tiles there? Ever wondered what they are?

They're called "widgets," and they're actually one of the most useful features on the iPHone if you take the time to learn how to customize them and add your own.

You won't need to dig through apps to search for directions with a navigation widget, for example. You can quickly turn off lights in your house with a Philps Hue widget or set the alarm with an Alarm.com widget.

Plenty of apps have support for these built-in, you just need to know how to use them. Take a look at what's possible:

First, while looking at the home screen, swipe right across the screen.

CNBC Tech: Widgets
Todd Haselton | CNBC
 


This is the widget panel I'm referring to. There's a lot here because I use them often. 

 
CNBC Tech: Widgets 2
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Here's a widget that lets me manage my alarm system at home.

 
CNBC Tech: Widgets 3
Todd Haselton | CNBC

I can peek at the battery levels of my Apple Watch and iPhone, see upcoming trips with TripIt, or packages that are on their way with Amazon.

 
CNBC Tech: Widgets 4
Todd Haselton | CNBC

You can get started with your own by scrolling down to the very bottom of the widget screen and tapping Edit."

 
CNBC Tech: Widgets 5
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Now you'll see a list of every app that supports widgets. You might be surprised how many are there. Tap the green button to add a widget, or the red button to remove one. Use the buttons on the far right to move them up or down the list.

 
CNBC Tech: Widgets 6
Todd Haselton | CNBC

In this case I selected a widget for an app named Weathersphere. I just tap it to add my location and the weather appears.

 
CNBC Tech: Widgets 7
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Next, I tapped the green button next to the "Notes" button and now I can see my most recent Notes (in this case, how to drop the tire pressure to drive on the beach.) See how the Weathersphere app is working now?

 
CNBC Tech: Widgets 7
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Then, I tapped the green button next to the "Favorites" icon, and now I have a widget to call my wife, brother and mom, all a swipe away from the home screen.

 
CNBC Tech: Widgets 8
Todd Haselton | CNBC

And here's one more. A quick tap of the green button next to the ESPN widget shows me the latest baseball scores.

CNBC Tech: Widgets 9
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Source: CNBC:

 Key: iPhone

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