How to create your own iOS 16 lock screen widget from scratch
Since iOS 16 arrived, lock screen widgets have become essential for the iPhone experience. They come in handy, whether you want a quick look at the weather or want to jump right into your favorite activity. But the catch is that you can only choose widgets that your installed apps offer, and often there’s a chance that their design might not be to your liking. So why not create your own lock screen widget?
With third-party apps, you can build custom lock screen widgets from scratch in seconds – no coding skills required. You can customize exactly how they look, what they do, adjust their size, and more. All you have to do is assemble them like Legos. Here’s how to create your own iPhone lock screen widget.
Widgetsmith (opens in new tab) is the most feature-packed app to create new lock screen widgets for some of the most common functions, such as weather, health tracking, reminders, and battery status. It comes loaded with themes and options so you can choose exactly what goes into your widget and make it fit the rest of your lock screen aesthetic.
1. Download the Widgetsmith app on your iPhone and open the app.
2. On its main screen, go to the “lock screen” tab to start. You can choose the three available widget sizes for the lock screen: text, circular and rectangular. Choose the “Add” under any of these formats to start building the widget.
3. Decide what your widget will do. Widgetsmith offers about a dozen functions such as the time, photos and air quality levels, and there are several additional styles for each of these functions that you can deploy on your widget.
4. After choosing a time style, you can choose a theme and font for its appearance from the “Theme” section. Next, the “Location” tab allows you to set the time zone and from the last “time format” tab, you can adjust its format.
5. Before you use the “Save” button, there is another option you should explore. Tap the blue “Institutions” link at the top and navigate to “Timing Widgets.”
6. On Widgetsmith, you can opt for contextual widgets, which means any one widget can wear several hats throughout the day. So in the morning, for example, it can show you the weather, while later in the day it can automatically switch to another utility to show you the steps you’ve walked so far.
7. In the “Time Widget” option, you can select a time frame, and press “Add” to set up a separate widget for that duration. You can add as many features to a widget as you want.
8. Once you’re done, tap “Save”. Now visit your lock screen, and touch and hold a blank screen to enter the customization menu. Go to Customize > Lock screen > Add widgets. Select Widgetsmith from the catalog and then the size of the widget you created earlier. Tap again the widget you just dropped on your lock screen and select yours from the following list.
Most of Widgetsmith’s basic offerings are free, but extra features like weather and themes will require you to pay for a $1.99/month or $19.99/year subscription.
Color Widgets (opens in new tab) is another app you can try to create your own lock screen widgets. Its highlight is that it comes equipped with a range of customization tools that let you apply a consistent aesthetic throughout your iPhone and even offers the ability to set custom app icons. For lock screen widgets, I also found its themes and styles to be more modern than Widgetsmith. Plus, it includes a catalog of pre-made widgets that you can quickly customize and add instead of starting from scratch.
1. Start the Color Widgets app on your iPhone.
2. From the “Widgets” tab, select a widget size from the “Your Lock Screen Widgets” section. On the edit screen, you have the option to personalize your widget’s background, font, and its linked function. Like Widgetsmith, Color Widgets lets you link one of the dozen or so utilities to a widget, but it also has a few extras like a QR code widget that links to your social profiles.
3. Depending on which mini-app you selected, you’ll find a different set of tweaks on Color Widgets’ editor. For a countdown widget, for example, there would be a dropdown to select the date and a text field to show the event’s name. Selecting the photo frame widget will also replace it with a button to select an image from your library.
4. After customizing the widget, press “Set widget,” and then you can either swap it in with any of the existing custom widgets or save it as new with the green “Set as new widget” option. You can then add your custom widget from your iPhone’s lock screen customization menu.
Color Widgets’ basic features are free to try, but for some extra options and tools, you’ll need to pay for the $2.99/month or $19.99/year subscription.