Sat. May 18th, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Add widgets to your Mac desktop for faster access to app interactions and information. Update your Mac to macOS 14 Sonoma for this feature.
  • To add widgets, right-click on your desktop and select “Edit Widgets” or swipe left from the right edge of your trackpad to reveal Notification Center and click “Edit Widgets.”
  • Customize widgets by dragging them around your desktop. Remove widgets by right-clicking on them and selecting “Remove Widget.” You can also customize settings like size, album selection, and appearance. More widgets from developers are needed.

Widgets can be useful for quickly interacting with or gleaning information from apps without having to launch the app in question. Here’s how to place widgets on your desktop for even faster access.

Widgets were added to macOS 14 Sonoma, so make sure your Mac is up-to-date and running Apple’s October 2023 update or later to get the feature. You can add widgets to your Mac desktop using Notification Center or a desktop shortcut:

  • Right-click on your desktop and choose “Edit Widgets” using the context menu.
  • Click on the time and date in the top-right corner of the screen and click “Edit Widgets” at the bottom of the screen.
  • Swipe left using two fingers from the right edge of your trackpad to reveal Notification Center, then click “Edit Widgets” at the bottom of the screen.

Edit Widgets option in Notification Center

When you do this, you should see a widget menu appear along the bottom edge of the screen. Here you can browse the various widgets available to you. Click and drag a widget into place, anywhere on your desktop.

The macOS widget picker

Note that if you click and drag a widget to the right edge of the screen, it will be added to the Notification Center rather than the right edge of the desktop. If you want to place a widget along the right edge of your screen, first drag it elsewhere on your desktop and then close the widget picker.

You are now free to drag the widgets around your desktop and place them anywhere without interference from the Notification Center.

To remove a widget, right-click (or Control+click) on it, then select the “Remove Widget” option to make it disappear. Under the same context menu, you’ll find additional options for setting a widget’s size (where available) or other settings.

For example, if you add a Photos album widget, you can right-click on the widget and select “Edit Photos” to nominate which album you want to see. You can do the same for folders within Notes, set locations within Weather for specific forecasts, change which Reminders list you want to see, highlight specific stocks, and so on.

Remove, resize, or customize your widgets using the context menu

You’ll notice that widgets change their appearance depending on whether you have an active window. You can further change their appearance under System Settings > Desktop & Dock by scrolling down to “Widgets” and toggling “Widget style” from monochrome to full color.

Change how widgets are displayed on your macOS desktop

You can also use this menu to disable desktop widgets altogether (unchecking “Desktop” within the “Show Widgets” section) and set which web browser should open when opening web content from a widget. You can also enable “Use iPhone Widgets” to add any (available) widgets you’re using from your iPhone to your Mac.

As is the case on the iPhone and the iPad, Mac widgets are highly interactive. This means you can do things like check items off Reminders lists, launch Shortcuts, trigger Home scenes, and more without launching the app in question.

Many more are designed purely for glancing, like the Find My widget that allows you to place the location of people or items (AirTags) right on your desktop. Remember to use the macOS “Show Desktop” shortcuts for best results: four-finger spread on a trackpad or Command+F3 on a keyboard.

Most widgets on the Mac come directly from Apple, with precious few for apps like Microsoft Outlook also available. Apple hasn’t made it easy to find widgets either, since there’s no ability to filter by widgets in the Mac App Store. Fingers crossed more developers add widgets soon.

Now that you’ve adorned your desktop with widgets, why not complete the look with a Windows Vista wallpaper?

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By John P.

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