iPhone owners are getting this cool free Google upgrade

Google delivers more useful app widgets than you can wave a Lock Screen at

Google iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets
(Image credit: Google)

One of my favourite things about the iPhone 14 Pro is its Lock Screen: the always-on display features the same widgets as other iPhones running iOS 16, but they’re always there for fast access and instant info. At first they were primarily an Apple affair, but the number of third-party widgets is increasing by the day – and now Google's getting in on the act with a selection of really useful widgets for those of us who don't use Apple apps for everything.

Google announced (opens in new tab) the widgets last month but they've started to roll out today. The Google Maps one isn't here yet, which is mildly annoying as that's the one I want most for my Driving focus Lock Screen, but there are plenty of others to stick on your Lock Screen.

What new widgets does Google offer on the iPhone?

Last week updated the Chrome and Drive apps with new widgets, and this week's ones add widgets for some of the most-used Google apps including Gmail and Google News. The Gmail widget comes in circular, rectangular and inline text formats so you can get the information you want in the style that you want it.

The Google News widget is slightly different, as it's only available as a rectangular widget to display a single news headline; tap on it and your iPhone will take you to that story in the Google News app. I'm not a huge fan of news widgets as they tend to show stories I'm not remotely interested in. 

There's no dedicated Search widget yet, but you can use the Chrome widget as a workaround: one of its widgets enables you to search Google in Chrome. And if you're bored you can launch Chrome's famous Dino Game, which usually turns up on the desktop Chrome browser when your internet connection's packed in. But the search widget should be worth waiting for: as Google showed us last month, it'll enable you to configure the widget to search with voice or camera rather than text.

Google hasn't given us a release date for these widgets yet but the pace of the other releases suggest it's a matter of days or weeks rather than months. 

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).