When Apple releases iOS 14 this fall, your iPhone’s home screen is going to look very different. There’s a pseudo app drawer called App Library that allows you to ditch the endless panels of apps we all have. And, for the first time, you can now move widgets out of the Today View and onto your home screen. Yes, it’s a lot like Android. Apple’s signature widget is called Smart Stack, and it combines several app widgets that you can scroll through on your own, or let your iPhone decide which app to show you and when, based on how you use your phone.
For example, if you check the weather and then your calendar first thing in the morning, the Smart Stack will likely include both of those apps and automatically show you the forecast followed by your agenda the first time you unlock your iPhone in the morning. Then, if you routinely check your Activity stats after dinner, the stack will show you the Activity widget around that time of day.
But you don’t have to leave the widget stacking to Apple. You also can create your own Smart Stack, curating the included apps to your liking. Below we’ll walk you through how to customize a stack.
Remember, iOS 14 is in early beta for developers and not finalized. The features highlighted below could and likely will change before its release later this year. We will update this post as Apple releases changes.
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Create a custom Smart Stack just like you would an app folder
You don’t have to learn any new steps or techniques to build your own stack — if you’ve ever deleted an app or rearranged your home screen, you’re more than prepared. If you haven’t, well, it’s still easy.
Prior to iOS 14, you had to long-press on an app icon in order to activate the Edit Home Screen feature. That method is still available, but there’s a shortcut now:
1. Long-press on your display between the apps in the dock and the first row of apps on your home screen, like this:
2. Tap on the + icon in the top-left corner of the screen and then scroll through the list of available widgets.
Locate one of the widgets you want to include in your personalized stack. You can either drag and drop the widget to your screen or tap on the + at the top of the screen.
Keep in mind, any widgets you add to a stack will need to be the same size, so you can’t have one small, two medium and three large widgets in your stack. I recommend dragging and dropping additional widgets to your home screen. It saves you a step since you’re going to end up moving it yourself anyway.
3. Stacking widgets follows the same process as creating a folder for apps — drag one widget on top of another.
Repeat that process, adding widgets until you’re happy with your creation. You can scroll through your stack at any time, or let your iPhone automatically switch for you. As far as I can tell right now, there’s no limit to how many widgets you can add to a stack. I found three or four to be the sweet spot — I was able to quickly scroll through them and find the information I wanted, without feeling it like was too much effort.
4. If you change your mind and want to remove a widget or change their order, long-press on the stack and then select Edit Stack from the popup menu. Change the order by dragging each widget’s name up or down.
You can remove a widget by swiping to the left across the name to reveal the Delete button.
Pretty cool, right? We’ve found plenty more features in iOS 14 we love so far, including quite a few accessibility features that are going to be a huge help. Here’s how you can help test iOS 14 right now if you’re a developer.