Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • Add Lock Screen widgets to display your schedule, the weather, and more at a glance.
  • Customize Lock Screens with up to four small widgets, or two large widgets, or a combination of the two.
  • Cycle between Lock Screens at will using the gallery or tie them to specific Focus Modes to display relevant information.


Use Lock Screen widgets on your iPhone to get quick access to information regarding your schedule, the weather, and more. You can even tie these widgets to specific Focus Modes so that different widgets appear (or disappear) depending on what you’re doing.


To get started adding widgets, wake your phone (but don’t unlock it by swiping up) then tap and hold the Lock Screen. You should see the Lock Screen gallery picker appear. Hit “Customize” to add widgets to your current Lock Screen.

Customize your Lock Screen using the Lock Screen gallery picker.


Tap “Lock Screen” when prompted and you’ll see a new “Add Widgets” zone appear beneath the clock. Tap it to see the list of widgets available to you.

Add widgets to your Lock Screen using the "Add Widgets" zone.

Pick up to four small widgets, two large widgets, or a combination of two small widgets and one large widget. Tap and hold to re-order the widgets, but be aware that iOS is a bit picky about where you can put certain widgets.

Browse the available widgets using the iOS widget browser.

Close the widget picker and hit “Done” to save your layout.


Weather, battery, and fitness widgets on an iPhone Lock Screen

You can save different widget layouts to different Lock Screens and then cycle between them at will. Tap and hold your Lock Screen to show the gallery, then tap on the plus “+” icon to add a new Lock Screen.

Add new lock screen to iPhone.

Now select a wallpaper to appear on your lock screen. Tap on the “Photos” option to use an image you have taken or saved to your device. You can also use emojis, the weather, the position of the planets, and more.

Choose lock screen wallpaper on iPhone.


With your wallpaper chosen, modify your Lock Screen by tapping on the various elements. You can tap on the date to change what information is displayed here, which will add more information to the date display like how much energy you have burned or upcoming calendar events.

You can also tap on the time to choose a specific font and color scheme and swipe left and right on the wallpaper to change how your background is displayed with filters.

Add widgets to an iPhone lock screen using the "Add Widgets" zone.

Finally, tap on the “Add Widgets” box to add a single row of widgets to your Lock Screen.

Widgets are similar to Complications on Apple Watch, some are even identical. These include Activity rings and individualized weather metrics for air quality, temperature, and UV index. Many of these appear as smaller circles, of which you can fit four on a single Lock Screen.


Circular widgets on the iOS lock screen.

Others take the form of double-length rectangles, including a more detailed weather forecast, upcoming reminders, news headlines, and information about markets and stocks. You can fit two of these, or one rectangular and two smaller circular widgets.

Rectangular widgets for iPhone lock screen.

When you choose to use widgets, you forego the ability to use the “Depth Effect” with your wallpaper. This can be toggled using the “…” ellipsis button while customizing a wallpaper.


iOS 16 Depth Effect on lock screen toggle.

This effect makes it possible to overlay some elements of an image over the clock, for a more dynamic feel. It looks impressive, but it’s not particularly useful and widgets are arguably more useful.

Tie Lock Screens to Focus Modes

While selecting a Lock Screen from the gallery, tap on the “Focus” button to tie your chosen Lock Screen to a particular Focus Mode. Assuming you’ve set up Focus Modes already, this lets you show relevant information while specific Focus modes are active.

iOS 16 lock screen focus link.


So you can set up a “Work” lock screen that triggers during work hours and displays calendar appointments or stock information, a “Fitness” lock screen that turns on when you start a workout on your Apple Watch with fitness rings or Watch battery information, and a custom “Downtime” lock screen with controls for smart devices around the house and the news headlines.

Select a Focus Mode to link with your lock screen.


The Lock Screen gallery and its associated widgets were made available with the iOS 16 update in September 2022. If you don’t see these options, your device might not be compatible with iOS 16. In that case, it might be time to upgrade your iPhone.



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By John P.

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