One of the best new features in iOS 14 is the ability to add widgets to your home screen and stack them so you can check into your favorite apps without actually opening them. Apple goes one step further with “Smart Stacks”. This is where iOS stacks widgets together intelligently depending on how you use your iPhone.
What is the difference between smart stacks and manually created widget stacks? Not much, in fact. Both types of stacks are fully customizable – you can add, edit, sort, and remove individual widgets in the stack – and both can intelligently scroll through your widget list using the Smart Rotate feature.
However, once the batch is added, it essentially becomes a regular batch. Your iPhone doesn’t add or remove widgets by itself, so the apps it started with are always available. Instead, it is up to you what to do with the batch manually. However, if you’re looking for a quick way to build a stack of widgets that are relevant to you, a smart stack is the way to go.
Step 1: choose a smart stack size
First activate the start screen editor. The quickest way to do this in iOS 14 is to long-press an empty space on the home screen until the apps jiggle. From here, tap the (+) icon in the top left to go to the widgets gallery. Type “smart” in the search bar or just scroll down and find “Smart Stack”. Then select it.
Once you tap on it, iOS will give you a summary of how the feature works. Below this summary is your stacking options: small, medium, and large. The small stack takes up four screen areas (2 x 2), the middle stack eight symbol areas (2 x 4) and the large 16 large (4 x 4).
Step 2: Add the Smart Stack to your home screen
There are several ways to add the Smart Stack size you choose to the home screen. First long press the widget preview, then drag and drop it to the exact location you want. Then tap on “(+) Add widget”. IOS will automatically add the widget to the top of the current home screen page.
In our tests, iOS adds seven widgets to each smart stack. However, your mileage may vary based on usage. We have always seen it at seven, but we cannot say for sure if it is or always will be.
Step 3: View and Customize Your Smart Stack
From here you can flip through the various widgets in your smart stack. The order in which they appear depends on the time of day, the activities you typically do at that time, and so on. If iOS thinks that there is certain information you need to see while viewing the smart stack, it will display it first.
If you’re happy with the widgets iOS has picked for you, then you can leave the pile alone. However, if you want to add, sort, or delete any of the stacked widgets, then you can. To add some, drag and drop widgets of the same size across the stack.
To make further adjustments, long-press the stack and choose “Edit Stack” from the quick actions. Here you can remove widgets by swiping all the way to the left or briefly swiping left and clicking on “Delete”. You can also drag them to another place in the list to rearrange them. However, if it’s a smart stack, it doesn’t matter. To make it a “dumb” pile, turn off “Smart Rotate”. All of these options are the same for normal stacks.
By default, all manually created stacks are “Smart Stacks”, which means that they always have “Smart Rotate” enabled. Disable “Smart Rotate” so that the widgets are not transferred to you every time.
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