In iPadOS 17, lock-screen apps may be added to the iPad. Like a few other features that are only on the iPhone, they will be much more useful on the iPad’s big screen.
As leaks and rumors go, this one is on the “like, duh, obviously” end of the scale. When widgets were added to the iPhone in iOS 14, they were also added to iPadOS 15. In iOS 16, which came out last year, the iPhone got lock-screen apps and customizations, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the iPad will also get them.
And unlike the iPhone, which has trouble fitting more than a few widgets, the iPad has plenty of room for all of this and more. In fact, a few parts of the iPhone’s user interface would work better on the iPad.
“The weather image will be the one I always use on my iPad. In a MacRumors discussion thread about the new feature, iPad user and weather watcher Charles Shaw says, “My location uses every weather image, and it changes often.”
iPad Lock Screen Widgets = Useful
The lock-screen issue on the iPhone is not simple. First, there are the lock-screen widgets, of which you can only add four (or five, if you choose to replace the date display above the clock). Then there are Live Activities, which let apps show things like sports scores or flight status reports in real time.
Lastly, the iPhone’s “Dynamic Island” is not on the lock screen but is still connected. It is Apple’s fun status and alert box that stays on the screen and turns the camera cutout into a lively assistant, kind of like a Clippy that no one hates.
I would say that all of these are great, but they would be even better on the iPad, partly because of its big screen and partly because of the way we interact with it in a completely different way.
Not everyone agrees, though. How you use the iPad makes all the difference.
“Maybe,” UI designer Graham Bower told Lifewire via email, “if you have your iPad set up like a Mac on your desk.” “But most people won’t find this useful.”
First, the iPad’s screen could show a lot more. To be fair, the iPhone can only have four (or five) widgets. There is definitely room for a lot more widgets, but Apple has decided to keep it simple and clean. The iPad’s screen could also fit widgets that are bigger and have more information.
Widgets on the iPhone are just icons that show information. The iPad could show widgets with more information, such as a unique “now playing” panel, the weather, a list of things to do, or any widget you already have on your home screen.
iPadOS 17 Always-On
This leads us to Live Activities, which are basically apps for the home screen on the lock screen. Live Activities lets you quickly check the latest sports score, pizza delivery status, or taxi arrival time even when your phone is locked. It works best with the always-on screen of the iPhone 14 Pro, but an iPad would work even better. Why? Because you don’t always have your iPad in your pocket.
When used normally, the only benefit is that you can fit more widgets on the screen. Widgets are not just dumb icons that display info; when tapped, they can do things like play the latest episode of your favorite podcast.
But an iPad propped up on a desk, kitchen table, or anywhere else would make a great status board. Here, having a screen that stays on all the time makes perfect sense. Who needs a phone screen that stays on when it’s always in and out of your pocket? But if you put the iPad on a stand or put it on the Magic Keyboard, it would be a great place to look up information quickly.
The only problem with this idea is that an always-on display needs OLED that only needs to light up the necessary pixels, so it can stay on without draining the battery. There is a chance that the iPad will get an OLED screen this year or next, but nobody outside of Apple knows for sure.
Lastly, Dynamic Island for the iPhone would be even better on the iPad. The Island started out as a way to hide the iPhone’s camera hole, but it quickly became a favorite part of the user interface. On an iPad, it’s much easier to move the little Island out of the way, but more importantly, there’s no camera gap on the screen, so Dynamic Island could go anywhere.