Google recently updated its Gmail applications for iPhones, and those with iOS 14 gained its widget feature. But it’s quite different than what users expected. It only achieves one purpose – quick links to search, inbox, or the compose menu. Unlike Android, iPhone users won’t be able to see a quick preview of the list of e-mails they’ve received.
Users can’t delete or archive mails without launching the app or read an incoming widget, which beats the purpose of having a widget. What the widget does is offer an ‘undread’ counter, but it’s been doing that for a few years now.
Even if a part of the blame lies on Google, the other is on Apple’s shoulders since its restrictions on widgets are fairly noticeable. When Apple incorporated widgets into the latest update, they were not meant to interact as the Android widgets do. For instance, you won’t be able to skip/play/pause the music on Apple Music or Spotify’s widgets. Even checking off items from your to-do list isn’t possible unless the app is launched.
Apple’s developer’s guidelines is crystal clear on the issue: “Widgets present read-only information and don’t support interactive elements such as scrolling elements or switches.” Developers can go as far as “allowing” the widgets to refresh in the background, but it isn’t what users would envisage while keeping a widget on their home screens.
IOS 14 is the widget’s first iteration to jog your memory, whereas Android has offered widgets for over a decade now. A few updates may fix it unequivocally, but users will be stuck with widgets that show basic non-interactive information unless Apple wants to go that way.