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Widgets have long been one of the more unique features of the Android operating system, allowing your various homescreen panels to be more than just a grid of little icons. You can set aside space for functional (and occasionally, actually attractive!), dynamic tools that do everything from control music playback or show you to the weather, to monitoring your phone's CPU and data usage stats. But as widgets have generally declined in popularity, it's become a little tougher to find ones that remain actively supported and, at the least, don't openly clash with modern Android's design aesthetic. Here are 11 of our favorites.
If you're yet to dip your toes into the widget waters, you can up your current selection by long-pressing on a blank area of the home screen, then choosing Widgets from the menu that pops up. Any app on your device that has widgets with it will appear in the list — tap and hold on a widget to place it.
KWGT Kustom Widget Maker
If you consider yourself a power widget user, then KWGT is a must: it lets you create your own personalized widgets through a straightforward editor that will make you a master crafter in no time. Some art assets require a premium upgrade, but many are available for free, and you can put together your own widgets for digital and analog clocks, live maps, battery and memory meters, music players, simple text messages, and much more.
There's a reason there are so many weather widgets on the app store, and it's that they're hugely useful — see with a quick glance what the conditions are going to be like for the next few hours, days or weeks. Overdrop is one of the best weather apps period, and its widgets are informative, elegantly designed, and clear. Some of the widgets require a premium upgrade, but there are plenty that you can play around with for free as well.
Battery Widget Reborn
While it's not difficult to find out the battery level of your device (you can just ask Google Assistant, for example ), it can be helpful to have it in widget form. Enter Battery Widget Reborn, which shows battery life as a fully customizable circular graph and percentage. If you prefer, you can set up a larger bar chart widget showing your phone's diminishing battery life over time. A premium upgrade gets you even more customization options.
Data Counter Widget
Another bit of system information that's handy to have on screen at all times is how much data your phone is chewing through. Data Counter Widget gives you that, split up into cellular and Wi-Fi readings, and with separate counts for upload and download totals. Text size, color, and background can all be modified, and tapping on the widget gives you more details (including a breakdown of which of your apps are using up the most data).
Don't let the music stop because you have to open up an app and work through a series of menus to find the tunes you want — Musicolet puts playback and queue management controls right on the home screen for you, and you can customize the look of the widget (including its transparency) in a variety of ways. Note though that Musicolet only plays local files stored on your Android device, and doesn't work with streaming services.
Google Calendar has a serviceable widget of its own, but we like the look of Calendar Widget even more. It brings with it a tasteful, subtly stylish design which you can customize in all kinds of ways, and it doesn't dominate the screen like a lot of other calendar widgets can. With the right combination of text, color accents and widget size, you can put together something that fits in perfectly with the rest of your home screen.
SeriesGuide is perfect for keeping track of the movies and TV shows you've watched, are watching, or are planning to watch, and the widget that it comes with is perfect for quickly checking when you're favorite shows are appearing next — the time and the date the show airs, the channel or streaming service broadcasting it, and the episode and the season you're up to. Pay to support the app and you get some extra widget customizations too.
Your Android phone keeps you in touch, informed, entertained and much more besides, and with the addition of the Quotes Widget, it can keep you motivated and inspired as well. It'll pluck out quotes from well-known figures from its database, or you can add your own into the mix, and the widget can be customized with different fonts and colors too. For fresh text, you can set Quotes Widget to update automatically, or tap it to refresh.
Keeping in touch with the day's developments has never been so straightforward. The recently revamped Google News app has a widget that's clean, clear and informative, giving you the weather forecast as well as a snapshot of what's happening right now. You can tap through on any story to see full coverage of it, or you can just let the top headlines pass before your eyes as you get on with other business on your Android device.
From spotting troublesome apps to working out when it's finally time to upgrade your phone, the widget that comes along with CPU Monitor packs an awful lot of information into a very tight space – keep up with current CPU load and battery temperature, and see spikes in processing demand over time, with the help of four different widgets. CPU Monitor can also set up a persistent notification to display this data too, if needed.
With many of us scrambling to fit more and more into each day, an app (and accompanying widget) like Sectograph can make a substantial difference to your schedule planning. It visualizes your calendar as a 24-hour clock face, so you can see at-a-glance what you're supposed to be doing right now and what you've got coming up next – it's the perfect example of how widgets can be just as useful as fully fledged apps sometimes.