Home Widget brings a feature that I hoped would come in iOS 16

During the first few months of the pandemic in 2020 when the UK was in lockdown, I decided to finally follow through with some plans for the house to help make some appliances easier to manage.

The first easy win in this was smart lights. Over a weekend, I replaced every light that we used across the house with a smart one that would be available to manage over Apple's Home app, or Amazon's Alexa as a way to command the lights in the living room.

But while Apple's Home app, in which you can manage all of your lights and other smart home appliances, was easy enough to use, it's never had widgets, which has always baffled me.

Widgets first arrived in iOS 14 back in 2020, but it's taken an innovative app called Home Widget to lessen my annoyance with the lack of a Home one. Now, I've got a bunch of widgets on my home screen for my lights, without opening a single app.

Let there be (smart) light

Home Widget app in iOS

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Available for free, alongside an in-app purchase of $ 8.99 / £8.99 / AU$ 10.99 to let you create an unlimited amount of widgets, the app will monitor every smart appliance that's connected to your iPhone, and these will show in the app.

After this, you can create different panels for the lights or other appliances in your home, alongside choosing the colors, icons, and more.

Once you're done, you can place them on your iPhone or iPad home screen. Pressing one of these will either switch on or off what you've selected, without having to go into an app like Apple's Home.

Yes, this may sound very obvious to those who don't have smart lights in their home that manage them through an iPhone, but after two years of using the Home app, it's always felt off that a tentpole iOS feature that Apple has been showcasing since 2020, is nowhere to be found in its own Home app.

But Home Widget does it well, especially in how easy it is to manage your widgets. There's also a nice touch of the app showing all the widgets you've made on its launch screen, in a Tetris layout.

The app recently updated to 1.2, which brings support for HomeKit cameras, battery sensors, the color of your lights, and more.

Regardless of whether Apple brings widgets to its Home app in the future, perhaps at WWDC 2022, Home Widget is already a favorite and scratches a big itch that I've had for my house for two years.

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Windows 11 may not be as popular as Microsoft had hoped

The explosive growth seen by Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system over the past few months is beginning to slow, new figures suggest.

The latest report from AdDuplex shows that Windows 11 user numbers are levelling out, perhaps suggesting Microsoft needs to up its game with some new updates or additions to the platform soon.

For the month of March 2022, Windows 11 took just 0.1% market share from other editions of Microsoft's software, accounting for 19.4% of the overall usage, with a further 0.6% using a Windows 11 Insider build.

Windows 11 upgrade

The numbers show that, despite Microsoft's push to get users to upgrade to Windows 11, its previous edition is still holding strong for many consumers.

Of the 80% using Windows 10, the larger proportion were found to be using the two most recent update families. Windows 10 N21U (21H2), released in November 2021, had 28.5% of the overall market, with its slightly older sibling, Windows 10 M21U (21H1), released in March 2021, taking 26.5% of the share.

The remaining 25% was made up of various older builds dating back to 2018, indicating that Microsoft does still have some work to do in order to get a large number of users upgraded to its latest editions.

AdDuplex takes its figures from 5,000 Windows Store apps, so may not be entirely representative of the true market share, but the figures do appear to corroborate recent findings from Microsoft itself.

The company recently shared that 1.4 billion devices are running both Windows 10 and Windows 11, although it didn't reveal specific numbers for either build. 

This has posed a problem for some business users however, as recent research found that as many as a third of work laptops or PCs don't meet the minimum requirements to run Windows 11, with the lack of TPM 2.0 the main culprit.

The report from Riverbed added 19.45% of devices will need a storage upgrade, 11% will need to be upgraded to TPM 2.0 and 8% will need to be upgraded with UEFI – with 12% of work PCs needing to be replaced entirely.


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