Widgets have been part of Android since day one, and they remain one of the platform’s most useful features.
These tiny applets that you can place on your home screen are ideal for quick, at-a-glance information like weather updates. Sometimes they have buttons for controlling music or your phone’s flashlight.
But with so many apps offering widgets, how can you be sure you aren’t missing out? Here’s our pick of the best widgets for Android every user should have.
1. Best Today Widget: Google At a Glance
Want to keep your home screen uncluttered but still like to have a handy summary of your agenda for the day? You’ve already got the best widget; you just might not have noticed it.
At a Glance is part of the Google app installed on every Android phone. It’s a single row, full-width widget that updates throughout the day to show bits of information like traffic or your next appointment. If there’s nothing special happening, it becomes a nice date and weather widget.
If you prefer a bit more customization, then take a look at Another Widget. It’s inspired by At a Glance—and is almost identical in looks—but offers a tad more functionality.
Download: Google (Free)
2. Best Weather Widget: Overdrop Weather
Overdrop is a relative newcomer to Android’s ever-expanding weather app genre. It’s one of the best-looking, and offers astoundingly accurate minute-by-minute forecasts from the DarkSky service.
It also has a heavy focus on widgets. You get 21 free widgets, plus a further 17 if you upgrade through an in-app purchase. They cover pretty much every style you could think of.
If Overdrop doesn’t work out for you, take a look at our guide to more of the best weather widgets for Android. You’re sure to find something you’ll love there.
Download: Overdrop Weather (Free) | Overdrop Pro ($4)
3. Best Clock and Alarm Widget: Chronus
Every home screen needs a great-looking clock widget. Chronus gives you half a dozen of them. It offers a choice of digital and analog clocks, with added agenda view, weather, stocks, or a news feed. It even has a widget that’s compatible with Google Fit, putting your daily steps onto your home screen.
You can customize every part of the look and feel of your Chronus widgets. And by downloading some third-party extensions from the Play Store, you can make it even more useful.
Download: Chronus (Free, in-app purchases available)
4. Best Notes Widget: Google Keep
You’ll find lots of excellent note-taking apps with widgets in the Play Store. But you can’t really beat Google Keep.
It offers two widgets. One is a simple shortcuts bar that lets you create a basic note, list, voice memo, handwritten note, or photo note. The other allows you to pin notes to your home screen. It’s ideal for shopping lists or anything else you need to remember while you’re out and about.
Download: Google Keep (Free)
5. Best Calendar Widget: Month
Month is a beautiful collection of calendar widgets, with over 80 themes to fit in seamlessly with whatever wallpaper, icon set, or launcher you use. There’s something for everyone.
You can choose a classy, transparent, full-page Month view, or go for a more functional Agenda view suitable for busy professionals. It’s fully compatible with Google Calendar as well.
Download: Calendar Widget: Month (Free, in-app purchases available)
6. Best To-Do Widget: TickTick
TickTick is an awesome task management app that comes with nine widgets guaranteed to make you a whole lot more productive. They range from a comprehensive multi-page to-do list, to a three-day agenda view, to a basic checklist. There’s even a Pomodoro timer widget that will help you cut out procrastination and get more work done.
It all ties in to an app that’s vital for anyone with a busy life. In fact, the app is so good we’ve produced a full guide full of essential TickTick tips.
Download: TickTick (Free, subscription available)
7. Best Battery Widget: Battery Widget Reborn
A simple battery widget is a must when you need to keep an eye on your phone’s remaining charge. Battery Widget Reborn is as simple as they come: it’s a small 1×1 circle with a number inside it. That number can be either a percentage or the estimated time you’ve got left. You can click though for some extra battery stats, too.
Download: Battery Reborn Widget (Free, in-app purchases available)
8. Best Flashlight Widget: Flashlight Widget
Flashlights are one of the most notorious categories of Android apps. They’re so often packed full of junk ads and permissions that snoop through your data—or worse.
Flashlight Widget is a breath of fresh air. It’s free, open source, has no ads, and requires no permissions. In fact, all it does is drop a little on/off button on your home screen that you can use to toggle your flashlight. And when you think about it, that’s really all it needs to do.
Download: Flashlight Widget (Free)
9. Best Music Widget: Musicolet Music Player
Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services have their own widgets that let you control your tunes without opening the app. But if you prefer to listen to music stored on your phone and you want a great-looking widget to control it, look no further than Musicolet.
Not only is it a fantastic music player, with unusual features like support for earphone controls and multiple queues, it also offers a handy selection of widgets. These include basics like the standard music controls with album art, up to a larger option that lets you browse your chosen playlist.
Download: Musicolet Music Player (Free)
10. Best Twitter Widget: Owly for Twitter
Owly is a relatively new Twitter app, and one of the best-looking on Android. Its great design extends to the widgets. In addition to three shortcut icons for tweeting, following a particular user, and quickly searching, is a fantastic timeline widget.
This allows you to keep track of all your latest updates, or see what’s trending, without needing to open the app. And when you want to fire off a thought of your own, it’s only a screen tap away.
Owly is also featured on our list of the best Twitter apps for Android.
Download: Owly for Twitter (Free, in-app purchase available)
11. Best Stocks Widget: Investing.com Stock Exchange
Keeping track of your stock prices is one of the best uses of a widget. Investing.com has a good one as part of its Stock Exchange app. You can search for stocks on over 70 global exchanges, and track as many as you like. These automatically get added to your widget, which you can resize to fit a full home screen panel. You can then view real-time price updates.
If cryptocurrency is more your speed, Investing.com has an app with a Bitcoin widget, too.
Download: Investing.com Stock Exchange (Free, in-app purchases available)
More Essential Android Apps
Chances are that most of your favorite apps offer their own widgets. It’s always worth checking, as it’s so easy to miss out on some really useful extra functionality in apps you use every day. Gmail, Snapchat, Spotify, VLC, Fitbit, Chrome, and so many more have them.
Of course, widgets are only one part of the huge selection of software for Android. Finding your way through it all can be a challenge. But don’t worry, our guide to the absolute best Android apps will help you find exactly what you need.
Read the full article: The 11 Best Widgets for Your Android Home Screen