The best Notification Center widgets in iOS 8 for business

Leah Yamshon
29 September, 2014
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Notification Center, iOS 8, iPad, iPhone, macworld australiaThe 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 which widgets show up there.

Though not all third-party apps are compatible with Notification Center widgets, there are a bunch of outstanding business apps that are. Here’s a look at enterprise 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 in 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.

Business and productivity

Evernote: I’m delighted by Evernote’s widget. Instead of cramming entire notes into the Today tab, you have buttons to launch new actions instead; pick Text, Camera, Photos, Reminder or List to start a new note within Evernote. This is a no-brainer for any Evernote user.

PCalc: PCalc is arguably the best calculator app for iOS, but I think it looks too clunky in Notification Center. It’s an app best served as a standalone experience.

Hours: Hours is a timer app for time management, and lets you set multiple timers so you can keep track of how much time you spend on certain tasks throughout the day. It quickly became one of my favourite apps for work, and now I can start, stop or switch timers straight from its widget. I’d call it a keeper.

LinkedIn: For LinkedIn’s widget, the company focused on just displaying who has viewed your profile recently. Maybe this is helpful if you’re actively on the job hunt, but I personally don’t think this is widget-worthy info.

Task managers

Having your to-do list in widget-form is super efficient, but if you use more than one of these apps, be wary of information overload. I’d suggest choosing only one or two of these to include in Notification Center, depending on your needs and workflow.

Clear: I love Clear, a colour-coded gesture-based to-do list app, but its widget only shows tasks you’ve marked with a time or due date, then displays only tasks with upcoming due dates. That’s not how I use Clear, so I won’t be keeping it in Notification Center.

Wunderlist: Wunderlist, on the other hand, displays to-do lists marvelously in Notification Center. It shows four to-dos at a time and you can check them off as you complete them from within the widget itself.

Calendars 5: This all-in-one task manager and calendar shows what’s on deck for the day in its widget. It is clearly presented and surely a welcome addition to Calendars 5 users.

OmniFocus 2: OmniFocus 2 is the ultimate task manager and its widget almost mirrors what’s listed in your daily Forecast within the app: It shows just what’s due today.

Finish: Finish shows the next three items in your to-do list and you can check them off from within the widget.

Gneo: Another task manager, Gneo displays the next few items on your list within Notification Center. Like the others, you can mark items as complete straight from the widget.

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