More and more devices are using iOS 8 over iOS 7, and that means more and more developers are adding iOS 8-friendly features to their apps, especially widgets. However, not every widget available for your Notification Center right now is awesome. Take for example the Dropbox widget—it's essentially nothing more than a real-time notification, as the only action it performs is opening a recently updated file within the app.
Since widgets seem to be the craze these days, we thought it was time to wade through the crap and provide you with a list of free iOS 8 apps for your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch whose widgets actually offer some legit functionality to help increase your productivity on a daily basis.
Widgets are a new feature added to iOS, so before you start getting productive, make sure you're familiar with how to access and adjust your widgets. Check out our iOS 8 widgets guide for a quick rundown.
Evernote has been around for a while, but now the popular note-taking app comes with a useful widget for iOS 8. Instead of opening the app to create a note, set reminders, take a picture, or begin a list, you can now pull down the Notification Center to perform all of these tasks on the fly.
Prioritized by due date, three tasks will be shown at one time and can be easily checked off, and you can even add new tasks directly from the widget. If you have more than three tasks, new ones will show when previous tasks have been completed.
An alternative task viewer widget is Wunderlist, which also has the ability to keep track of daily to-dos and mark them as completed tasks.
Staying on top of pending deadlines can make or break your professional career. Now you can easily keep a consistent tab on upcoming dates with Countdowns with Widgets from Shayes Apps. Simply create an event, then add the widget to your Notification Center where you can view up to four events—each will display the days, hours, minutes, and seconds remaining until the deadline hits.
I use my banking app all the time to keep an eye on recent account activity to make sure I'm not spending money too frivolously or am overdrawn on any of my accounts.
With the Personal Money and Investing app, you can quickly glance at your recent transactions from the Notification Center. All you need to do is securely link your personal accounts through the app, then enable widget support.
This is by far the easiest way to stay on top of your accounts, but remember that this information can be just as easily viewed by others if they get a hold of your device.
Sure, you can pull up your Control Center to get to your Calculator app, but why not have a calculator open and ready to use directly in the Notification Center? With the Wdgts app, you not only get a calculator, the app also comes with a calendar, currency converter, photo frame, and multiple time zone displays.
As apps continue to bake in widget support, we'll continue to highlight the good (and free) ones. One that's not particularly productivity-geared that you can get right now is called Favorites Widget, which lets you add a speed-dial menu to your Notification Center, in case you don't like the built-in app switcher option.
To see what else you can do in Apple's latest mobile operating system, check out the Coolest Hidden Features of iOS 8, as well as the Best Hidden Safari Features, Top Hidden Features in Messages, Biggest Privacy-Related Settings You Need to Know, and our other iOS 8 tips.