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You Can Finally Get a Useful Gmail Widget on Your iPhone, Here's How

Google just updated its Gmail widget so that, if you have an iPhone, you can now see the last three emails in your inbox without having to open the Gmail app. It's great.

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Welcome to Product Support, a column devoted to helping you get the most out of the gadgets and software you already use.

When Apple rolled out iOS 14 in 2020, it gave all compatible iPhones the ability to customize their Home screens with widgets for the first time. A widget is just a larger app takes up more real estate and shows more of its information. The idea was that you make your most-used apps appear bigger on your Home screen, so they could be more useful at a glance without you actually having to open them. For example, you can turn the weather app into a widget and see the forecast for the entire week. Or turn your calendar app into a widget and see your upcoming schedule.

In 2022, one of the apps to get a really useful upgrade to its widget is Gmail. Previously, the Gmail widget was only able to let you quick compose an email or show how many unread emails you had, but the recent update actually shows you the last three unread emails in your inbox — so you can see your latest emails without having to open the Gmail app.

How to add a Gmail widget to your Home screen

  1. Unlock your iPhone and open to the Home Screen.
  2. Touch and hold an app, widget or an empty area until the apps start to jiggle.
  3. Select the Add (+) button in the upper-left corner.
  4. Select the Gmail widget (or scroll down to select Gmail).
  5. Select Add Widget.

    Note: If your Gmail widget isn't showing your last three unread emails — don't worry. It just means that you have to update your Gmail app. To do this, open the App Store app > search for Gmail > and select Update. When you go to add the Gmail widget, you should see the new widget.

    There are a lot of new widgets that you can take advantage of in addition to Gmail — in fact, a lot of apps can be made into widgets. To experiment with widgets, you just have to follow the same above steps and select a different app (try Photos or Calendar). Most widgets come in three sizes — small, medium and large — so you can choose how more real estate each widget takes up (and how much information they display) on your Home screen.

    Also, if you don't want want to alter the classic app gridlock on your Home screen, but you still want to take advantage of widgets, you can do so on your iPhone's Today View screen. This is the screen on the left of your Home screen (open your Home screen and swipe left), and iOS 14 naturally populates it with widgets. From here, you can customize these widgets by long-pressing until they start to jiggle. Or you can also drag these widgets from the Today View to your Home Screen.

    If you're looking for other neat ways to use widgets on your iPhone, here are some net tips:

    How to add a Smart Stack to your Home screen.

    There's a special widget you can add to your Home Screen called the Smart Stack. It's different from other widgets because it houses multiple apps instead of just one, and you can then swipe between the apps within the widget. For example, you can place the Smart Stack on the Home Screen and then swipe between various apps like Calendar, Fitness and Mail, without leaving the Smart Stack widget. It essentially allows you to do more with one widget, in case you don't want to overload your Home Screen with a number of widgets. Apple claims that the Smart Stack widget will also be intelligent enough to learn which apps you use at different times of the day, and display them at that exact time.

    1. Unlock your iPhone and open to the Home Screen.
    2. Touch and hold an app, widget or an empty area until the apps start to jiggle.
    3. Select the Add (+) button in the upper-left corner.
    4. Scroll down and select Smart Stack.
    5. Select Add Widget.

      How to Remove a photo from the Photos widget.

      The Photos widget is neat because you can use it sort of as a digital picture frame that you see every time you open up your iPhone. The collection of photos that populate the Photos widget rotate every day, that way you don't get tired of one specific photo. That said, if you want to remove a photo from your Photos widget, you can easily do so without deleting it from your Photos. (Apple has also released a how-to video, here.)

      1. Select the Photos Widget.
      2. Scroll over to the photo you want removed from the collection.
      3. Select the share button in the bottom-left corner.
      4. Select the option that says 'Remove from Featured Photos'

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