This update was intended to “bring a fresh new look to the things you do most often, making them easier than ever,” according to apple.com. The new features were designed to “help you get what you need in the moment.”
Now a user’s most frequented apps can become more personalized and private than before.
One part of this update includes an update to the widgets aspect of iPhones. Apple’s website said that widgets are designed to “give you timely information from your favorite apps at a glance.” Widgets can now be varied in size and placed on a user’s home screen without taking up too much space.
After this update, users discovered that it was possible to customize their widgets and turn them into photos on their home screens, with the help of apps like Widgetsmith and Color Widgets. Users also discovered ways to customize the actual icons for the apps on their home screen using the Shortcuts app on their iPhones.
This trend ended up going viral on Tik-Tok, where users of the app would make short videos of their customized home screens, and following with a tutorial of how they were able to do so. Senior Mackenzie Franklin said she saw one of these videos on her For You page, and decided to try customizing her own layout.
Franklin decided to create her layout in a black, white, and gray theme because she said she prefers darker wallpapers. Each page of her layout is organized by category, and then placed in alphabetical order. Franklin said her customization took her around an hour to complete.
Senior Jordan Brown also decided to customize her home screen layout after seeing a similar TikTok video. “I like when people color coordinate their pages or do overall themes,” Brown said. “In a time like this with COVID, I need things to keep me excited and motivate me. So, I added motivational quotes, widgets that inspire me to continue working towards my career goal, as well as widgets that contain pictures from my favorite shows.”
Brown said her layout only took her about thirty minutes, because she had pre-saved all of her photos beforehand.
Not all iPhone users were as excited about the changes in the widget updates and the customization opportunities that came along with the update.
Junior Grace Westbrook said she gave up on trying to customize her home screen because the process was “too tedious.” Westbrook was originally going to go with a Tyler the Creator themed pink layout.
“I had just gotten used to the last update, so adjusting to this one was a little weird,” Westbrook said. “I think the update would be better without the widget update. I think they’re just too complicated.”
Widgets are not the only things that have changed with this update. Users now have the opportunity to still be active on FaceTime and not be on pause while browsing through their phone, thanks to the Picture within a Picture feature. This feature can also be used with apps like Netflix and Hulu.
Both Brown and Franklin said that they really enjoy the new update and all of the new features, whereas Westbrook sees this update as “pretty pointless.”