One of the best things about Android is its flexibility – meaning you can customize it any way you want with widgets and themes.
Widgets are interactive icons that live on your phone’s home screen. They show you information without requiring you to launch an app or dig around in your phone’s settings.
Widgets have been available for almost as long as Android has existed, but they’ve become more polished and functional over the years.
To get to your widgets, press and hold on a blank part of any home screen, then tap Widgets.
#1 Power Toggles
You may well spend a lot of your day swapping Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and sync on and off (particularly if you’re trying to conserve battery power), and this native widget helps you toggle these settings with a single tap.
Trying to identify a song that’s playing is one of those times when speed really does matter—and SoundHound can save you the trouble of digging into your app drawer. Google Now does the same trick, if you need more help.
#3 Slider Widget
It’s already pretty easy to access these settings on Android through Quick Settings, but Slider makes the process even faster. Slider comes in four different sizes and lets you access notification, call, media, and ringtone volume, as well as brightness directly from your home screen.
#4 Battery HD
Battery info is hugely important for smartphone owners, and Battery HD brings a ton of it. The app’s widgets can show battery level, time remaining, current temperatures, charging status and more besides.
#5 Amber Weather
This widget offers options as variable as the weather in the Midwest. Choose from 90 plus customizable widgets in 30 different languages. You can set it to send you weather advice when you wake up or before you go to sleep.
Calendar widgets keep important schedule information in view, which might be why there’s so many of them (including Google’s). Month focuses entirely on widgets, and there are some excellent ones to pick from.
If there’s a particular person you frequently need to get in touch with, you can create your own shortcut to that person’s contact info on your home screen. Just open up the contact you want to add, press the menu button, and then press Add Shortcut, and you’re all set.
Feedly widget displays the most recent stories from your feed on your home screen, making it easy to quickly glance at news headlines. Simply tapping the headline in the widget launches the full article.
#9 Countdown Days
That long-awaited vacation; your next birthday; an upcoming deadline at work—there are all kinds of reasons why you might want to have a countdown clock on your home screen, and Countdown Days does this for you, with a choice of skins.
#10 Pure Flashlight
Android 5.0 Lollipop comes with an integrated flashlight feature, but Pure Flashlight—depending on how your phone is configured—gets you there in one tap rather than several. It’s basic but it does the job nicely.
#11 Google Keep
If you frequently use Google Keep, installing the widget on your Android phone’s home screen can help you make the most of the service. With the widget, you can see your recent notes, recordings, and photos without having to open the app.