Top handy widgets for Android & iOS

9 smartphones with the best battery back-upTry these widgets out

Dec 14, 2016, 01.12 PM IST

Although widgets behave differently on these smartphone platforms, they still do the same basic thing — they make your life easier and improve your smartphone experience, Karan Bajaj lists a few of his favourite widgets.

Once you place this widget on the home screen, you can customise what it shows you. Choose from a list of options (time, weather, system info, calendar entries and so on). Each option gives you multiple display styles for each type of information (text, icon, animated graphic and so on). You can also choose the behavior of the widget when it is tapped.

CircleLauncher is a widget that functions as a virtual launcher button on your home-screen. Tap the button to access and launch your favorite apps, contacts and web bookmarks. You can have the shortcut icons appear in a circle or in a horizontal/ vertical line as per your preference.

Place this widget on one of your home panels to have a game of chess available to you at any time. The game includes option of undo or redo and you can leave the game mid-way and continue where you left off. The only thing we don’t like is that there is no way to change the level of difficulty or play against a person.

With this widget on your home panel, you can quickly adjust volumes for voice calls, notifications, alarms, media and ringtone with one touch. It also includes a slider to adjust the screen brightness.

You can choose to integrate this widget on the home-panel or in the dropdown notification panel. It offers you the option to add one-tap shortcuts to various functions like WiFi, data, brightness, GPS, music controls and flashlight for quicker access.

This is one of our favorite all-in-one widgets for Android. It lets you customise your home panel with time, weather, a Gmail unread count and alarms. You can even add more extensions to the widget if you need more information like WhatsApp chats, music player info, battery status and so on.

For WhatsApp’s addicts, the iOS widget allows for a quicker way to get back to four of the most recent chat icons — it shows these chats in your notification bar along with an unread message count. Tap the name to open it directly within the app.

Two factor authentication is recommended to protect your accounts from hacking. Authy makes it easy to generate codes for all the services that use Google Authenticator, right from your iPhone/iPad’s notification center.

Familiar with the running T-Rex dinosaur game that appears in Google Chrome when it can’t find an internet connection? Well, that dinosaur has a name — Steve! You can now play the same game as a notification widget on iOS. Bring the notification center down CHESS NINJA and tap the widget to start playing.

As is evident from the name itself, this widget lets you add your favorite apps as well as functions (call mom, message wife, navigate home) on the drop-down notification panel for faster access. You can even have multiple rows of the widget to fit more of your favourites in.

This one is a clipboard management widget that makes it easy to copy and paste text, links as well as photos on from one location to another. You can choose to copy ultiple items to the clipboard and then paste them individually in to other apps. It also supports copy-paste across multiple devices.

This widget tracks and displays your WiFi/3G/4G data usage on the notification panel. It lets you set monthly data limits and shows how much you have left in real time. A smart forecast feature can predict your data usage based on usage in previous months.

Using this handy widget, you can unlock your Mac laptop or desktop using your iPhone/iPad using fingerprint scanning, passcode and even proximity. The app uses Bluetooth or connecting the two devices so make sure that Bluetooth is not off on either device.

The Google Play store has exploded in recent years, with a proliferation of apps that can cater to your every need.

The problem is, there are too many of them. The following apps are a mixture of paid and free ones and popular among Android users.

Even if you pay for a few of these, they are worth your buck.

Simple Habit offers short five-minute meditations, that you can easily fit in at any point during your busy work day. Simple Habit also has a variety of different teachers to guide you, so if you don’t get on with one (or just get bored of their voice) there are plenty of others to choose from.

The app offers meditations designed around specific life circumstances, goals or moods.

Price: Free + $9.99 monthly subscription

Fingerprint scanners can go beyond just unlocking your phone, as they can also be used as shortcuts to apps and functions. But not all phones build those features in.

Fingerprint Gestures lets you configure a double tap, single tap and swipe of the fingerprint scanner to do different things, with launching apps, lowering the notification panel, pausing and toggling the torch among other things.

Price: Free

If you don’t want to stick wit h Chrome as your day-to-day browser, try Brave Browser: Fast AdBlock.

The app is based on Chromium, so the look and layout is similar to Chrome but unlike Chrome it has built-in ad blocking tools, along with options to block tracking and third-party cookies.

You can also block the content that bothers you.

Price: Free

Play loops on pads is a great music maker for people who don’t know how to make music.

The app provides you with a grid of pads, each of which contains a sample, with different grids fitting a particular style of music.

Remixlive is also good software for those who know how to make music, as you can create your own samples.

Price: Free + various IAP

A smart home is only as smart as the apps you use to manage it, and Gideon Smart Home can be the control centre for all your smart devices.

It works with loads of devices from Philips, Nest, Sonos, Belkin, Netatmo and more, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to link up your entire smart home and control everything from one place.

Price: Free

Flychat at tempts to solve you r problem of multitasking with mobile chat by having messages pop up in little bubbles over whatever screen you’re on.

They’re small and sit to the side, so they don’t get in the way, and to reply to a message you just tap the bubble and never have to fully leave the screen you’re on.

Price: Free + $1.09

The problem with weather apps is that, for the most part, they only use one source for their data.

But Climendo Basic uses lots, and then works out what the most likely weather at any given time is.

The complete selection of weather providers that it uses includes AccuWeather, Weather Underground, NOAA, Met Office, etc.

Price: Free with ads or $3.99

File managers aren’t exciting, but they are useful, especially if you have a lot stored on your phone.

Google Play is full of options, but Solid Explorer File Manager is one of the best. It’s not limited to just displaying local storage, as you can also link cloud storage accounts to the app.

It also looks good, with a Material Design-influenced interface that’s easy to navigate.

Price: $1.99