ProWidgets is a brand new tweak for jailbroken iPhones and iPads that builds on the foundation of a previous tweak called Tap to Widgets (both by developer Alan Yip) to provide the most solid and complete widget platform on iOS. With nine built-in, fully-featured widgets and an architecture that allows third-party developers to add their own, ProWidgets is one of the best tweaks you can get right now.
Keep reading for a full breakdown of everything this tweak can do for you.
How widgets work
Because the individual widgets are the heart of ProWidgets, let’s take a look at the nine that are included when you purchase the tweak. But before we do that, it’s important to discuss how the widgets actually work.
To bring up the widgets, you can choose from a ton of different options.
- Individual widgets can assigned to Activator actions
- An extra section can be added to Control Center with a row of toggles that bring up the widgets
- A single button on the bottom-left corner of the lockscreen can quickly bring up a widget of your choice
- A row of buttons can be added to the Today view in Notification Center (and placed wherever you want them, just like the Stocks and Weather widgets that ship with iOS 7)
- A button in each of the lower corners of Notification Center can be set to bring up any widget you want
You can choose to use all of these or none of them.
Most of the included widgets have two views: one provides a list of relevant items (notes, reminders, alarms) and the other allows you to create new items to be added to that list. To toggle between these two views, you just tap the top of the widget (where the title is). Granted, this is not the most discoverable gesture, but it certainly gets the job done. Each widget can be individually configured to show the list or creation view by default.
Each widget can also be “minimized,” allowing you to continue using your phone while quickly referencing a widget or entering new data into it. There are a few ways to minimize a widget. You can double-tap the title bar, double-click the home button, or pull the notification or control centers onto the screen. Optionally, locking your device can minimize your widgets (or close them entirely).
Tapping once on a minimized widget brings it back to the foreground. Double-tapping a minimized widget closes it. You can have as many minimized widgets on the screen as you want. On the iPad, you can also have multiple “maximized” widgets open at once. Minimized widgets float on the edge of the screen and can be moved around to any point on the left or right edges.
The alarm widget makes creating and managing your alarms incredibly easy. I currently keep the Clock app on my first home screen because I routinely need to set or delete alarms for different events. ProWidgets has completely eliminated that need. The list view displays all of your active alarms. You can tap each one to enable or disable it. Swiping right-to-left brings up a delete button.
The alarm creation view provides you with all of the options you’d expect: time, label, alarm sound, repeat, and whether or not snoozing will be an option. Creating an alarm from the widget will immediately add it to the Clock app. You don’t need to open the app to get it to sync up or worry about it not going off.
The browser widget is unlike most of the others because it doesn’t rely on a list view and a creation view. Instead, you’re presented with a web view and a URL bar. Back and forward controls are also available. The best part of this widget, however, is its ability to automatically import your Safari bookmarks. Tapping on the widget’s title bar will bring up the full list, laid out exactly the way you would find them in the Safari app.
On top of all of this, you can also use the “share” button in the top-right corner to add new bookmarks to your Safari bookmarks. Without opening the Safari app at all, these bookmarks will automatically be added to your iCloud account and synced across your devices. I created a new bookmark using this widget and almost immediately saw it appear on my Mac.
The “share” button also allows you to copy the URL, pass it to the real Safari app, or close the browser window. Ironically, the button doesn’t actually contain any sharing options (at least not yet).
There are some additional options for this specific widget that make it even better. One allows the widget to intercept any attempts to open a link in the Safari app, allowing you to open any link without having to leave your current app, even in apps that don’t have a built-in browser.
Another setting allows you to override all “Add to Reading List” buttons. With this enabled, instead of adding a link to Reading List, it will pop up this widget, open the link, and automatically open the bookmarking screen. Essentially, this allows you to replace “Add to Reading List” buttons with “Bookmark This Link” buttons. It’s very handy for those who don’t use Apple’s Reading List feature.
Finally, you can also optionally set the widget to automatically open any webclips saved to your homescreen.
And because all of this wasn’t nearly enough, the developer is currently in the process of adding support for Google Chrome. That means that those who prefer to use Chrome could have their bookmarks from that app imported rather than the ones from Safari. New bookmarks would be added to Chrome as well.
The Calendar widget is incredibly straight-forward. The list view shows all of your upcoming events with a customizable range from one week to a month. Tapping on an event or selecting the “More” button in the list view will open the Calendar app.
The event creation view is as fully-featured as you would expect. You can add a title, location, and start and end times by default. A “More” button on the creation view allows you to access even more settings, including the toggle for all-day events, repeat options, the alert time, and even which calendar to put the event in. As an added bonus, you can create a new calendar right from the widget.
An option in the advanced settings also allows you to add a new button to Apple’s own Calendar widget in the Notification Center. This extra “+” button appears next to the stock widget’s header and allows you to quickly summon the event creation view.
This is the simplest widget included with the tweak. It only has one view: a text entry field. You type in a word and tap the “Define” button. It brings up the definition of that word using the built-in iOS dictionary. That’s it. It works really well.
The mail widget allows you to quickly compose an email message. The standard options (recipient, subject, and message body) are all there, but little else. Unfortunately, you can’t yet choose which outgoing account to use, and signatures aren’t attached to messages. If those things don’t bother you, this is a great way to quickly fire off an email.
The messages widget works just like Mail, but without the subject line. You can pick a recipient (or more than one) and enter a message. It works with both SMS messages and iMessage, although there’s currently no way to tell which one will be sent. In testing I discovered that the widget sometimes takes a few seconds to figure out if it should send an iMessage or not, but because there was no indicator of whether it had decided, I ended up sending an SMS instead of an iMessage.
Notes works a lot like the other list-and-creation view widgets. You can view a list of all of your notes (which you can edit or delete). Changes are synced to the Notes app and iCloud immediately even if the app isn’t running. Oddly, the widget always defaults to storing notes locally instead of in iCloud, but you can change this from the note creation view.
Similar to notes, the reminders widget allows you to quickly pull up a full list of your active reminders, mark them as complete, delete them, or add new ones. Within the widget you can pick which list your new reminder will be added to and select a date and time to be reminded. However, the widget doesn’t allow for creation of geofenced reminders.
As with the other widgets like this one, changes are immediately synced to the Reminders app and iCloud, even without the app running in the background.
The last of the nine included widgets is the timer. This one allows you to set and start the Clock app’s timer (and customize its ending alert), pause it, or cancel it entirely. I tested this widget out several times, but each time I got an error message reading “Unable to start the timer.” Once the timer had been started through the Clock app, however, it worked just fine for pausing or stopping it.
One other issue that I noticed is a poorly-worded popup when you close the widget and a timer is currently running. The prompt reads “Do you want to cancel the timer or just close the widget?” The two options below read “Close” and “Cancel.” Changing “Cancel” to “Stop” or “Stop timer” would probably make this screen less confusing.
Add-ons, themes, and more
ProWidgets doesn’t stop at just those nine widgets. Developers can create their own widgets and allow users to install them through Cydia or by entering the widget’s URL into the tweak’s settings panel.
According to the developer, some of these extra widgets that will be released soon include a quick-picker for Wi-Fi networks, a Spotify controller, and even a Google Authenticator widget for quickly accessing your two-factor authentication codes.
There’s also a bunch of theming options (parallax effect, blur, etc.) and several different themes to choose from. Four themes are included and more can be downloaded the same way new widgets can.
ProWidgets is the most powerful, versatile, expandable, and customizable widget platform you’ll find on iOS. The built-in widgets simplify common tasks to a degree that even Apple has not yet accomplished, and the ability to create custom widgets for any app or function gives it the potential to be the most-used piece of software on your phone.
You can find even more information about ProWidgets, including the third-party widget documentation, on the developer’s webiste. The tweak is available now on Cydia for $2.99, and it’s worth every penny.
A full gallery of screenshots is below: