How to add widgets on Mac and what ones are available

In macOS Sonoma, widgets come to your Mac desktop. Here’s how to use them.

Widgets on Mac

Apple / Pocket-lint

It’s fair to say that widgets have had a significant impact on how we use our iPhones. A massive calendar widget that takes up half your home screen can ensure that you never miss an appointment again. A water tracking widget can help you keep properly hydrated throughout the day. And that weather widget lets you know in an instant that it’s going to be another rainy day.

Widgets on the Mac haven’t yet made quite the same impact, mostly due to the fact that they end up hidden away in your Notification Centre. All that is changing, however, with the introduction of interactive desktop widgets in macOS Sonoma. Here’s how to add widgets on Mac.

You’ve been able to use iOS-style widgets on Mac since the introduction of macOS Big Sur. However, up until now, those widgets have been relegated to the Notification Centre, which isn’t always ideal. It’s easy to forget they’re there, and you can’t see the information they contain at a glance.

In macOS Sonoma, it’s now possible to add widgets to your desktop so that you can always keep an eye on them. In addition, widgets can now be interactive, allowing you to turn your lights on and off in the Home widget, for example, without having to launch the Home app.

How to add widgets to the Notification Centre

Even if you’re not running macOS Sonoma, it’s still possible to add widgets to the Notification Centre.

  1. Open the Notification Centre by clicking the date the menu bar, or swiping left with two fingers from the right-hand edge of your trackpad.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the Notification Centre and click Edit Widgets.
  3. Select the app whose widget you want to add from the list on the left of the screen.
  4. Select the widget style and size you want to use.
  5. Hover over your chosen widget and click the green + (plus) icon.
  6. You can drag the widgets around within the Notification Centre to rearrange them.
  7. Click Done to finish.

How to add Notification Centre widgets to desktop

In macOS Sonoma, any widgets that are already in your Notification Centre can quickly be moved to your desktop. If you can’t wait until the official release to try out Apple’s new operating system, you can install the macOS Sonoma public beta right now.

  1. Open the Notification Centre.
  2. Find a widget that you want to add to the desktop.
  3. Click and hold the widget and drag it from the Notification Centre onto your desktop.
  4. Once on your desktop, you can click and drag the widget to reposition it wherever you want it.

How to add widgets directly to your desktop

It’s also possible to add widgets directly to your desktop without adding them to the Notification Centre first.

  1. Right-click on your desktop.
  2. From the context menu, select Edit Widgets.
  3. Select the type of widget you want to add from the list on the left of the window.
  4. Select the style and size of widget you want to add.
  5. Click the widget you want to add, and it will appear on your desktop.
  6. You can click and drag to rearrange the widgets as you see fit.

Previously, the only real limit to the widgets you could use on Mac was the apps you had installed on your Mac, and whether those apps had their own widgets. In macOS Sonoma, the same thing still applies, but with significant difference; it’s now possible to install widgets for apps that you have on your iPhone, even if you don’t have those apps installed on your Mac. For example, if you have the Google Maps app installed on your iPhone, you should be able to add a Google Maps widget to your Mac desktop. This feature uses Continuity, so it will only work as long as your iPhone is near your Mac.

In order to use your iPhone widgets on your Mac, you’ll need to ensure that the feature is enabled.

  1. Open the System Settings app.
  2. Select Desktop & Dock from the left-hand menu.
  3. Under Widgets ensure that Use iPhone widgets is turned on.
  4. Now when you add desktop widgets using the method above, you’ll see your iPhone widgets listed alongside the Mac widgets as long as your iPhone is in range.

As well as widgets for apps you install on your iPhone or Mac, there are also widgets for the Apple apps already on your Mac. These include:

  • Calendar
  • Clock
  • Find My
  • News
  • Notes
  • Photos
  • Podcasts
  • Reminders
  • Screen Time
  • Stocks
  • Tips
  • Weather