Gadgets

Scriptable supercharges iOS widgets like no other app

Illustration of the article titled Scriptable Supercharges iOS 14 Widgets Like No Other App

Screenshot: Alex Cranz / Gizmodo

With iOS 14, iPhone users finally got a taste of the sweet and sweet life of widget anyone who has used an Android phone in the past decade already knows it. I avoided most of the early widget apps and largely avoided using most widgets in general (and maybe you should too!). It’s not 2009 and I’m not using this original Motorola Droid. But Scriptable, an application from the developer Simon støvring, might change your mind.

Scriptable lets you set up cool Siri automations in iOS using Javascript, but with the advent of widgets it also lets you run scripts right on the home screen – meaning I can finally have this transparent weather and calendar widget which I prefer instead of a big box that obscures my wallpaper.

If you’re like me and most of your coding experience is limited to HTML, or the TI-83 racing game’s car looks like a sausage, then Scriptable’s myriad of scripts can seem daunting at first. Fortunately, most of the scripts I’ve come across have amazing instructions in the script itself, and Scriptable automatically encodes things so you know what should and shouldn’t be replaced.

A Github user has already put together a great list of widgets and scripts you can run, including one that finally lets you see what’s playing on Sonos without opening the app. And on Github and Reddit, there are a lot of people who can guide you if you run a script and have errors.

This Scriptable widget allows me to keep track of my Homebridge server.  It's good!

This Scriptable widget allows me to keep track of my Homebridge server. It’s good!
Screenshot: Alex Cranz / Gizmodo

But one of the best scriptable widgets I’ve found actually requires two scripts, so I thought I would detail my own how-to guide here to walk you through its use so that you can also have a nice big weather widget that doesn’t hide not your beautiful big wallpaper.

Both scripts are from developer Max Zeryck. The first, Widget-Blur, solves one of the more annoying problems with iOS widgets – they don’t support background blur or transparencies. Widget-Blur uses a screenshot of your wallpaper to produce a background image that perfectly matches the restrictions of iOS widgets, essentially making the background of the widget transparent. You’ll need this if you want to use its other widget, Weather Cal, and have a transparent background.

To get started, you’ll need to open the link above on your phone. You will see 807 lines of code. Copy them all, then open the Scriptable app, tap the blue plus sign in the upper right corner, and paste the script. At this point you can also rename the script so as not to confuse it with others. To do this, just tap the name at the top and rename it as you want. When everything is sorted, you can hit the To play button in the lower right corner. After that, the script will walk you through things including going into “wiggle mode” on the home screen to take a screenshot. When everything is done, you will have a widget ready photo stored in your photo album.

Now is the time to get the Weather Cal widget and configure it. You can get the script in two ways: either by copying and pasting it from Github or by choosing the Weather Cal widget generator in the Gallery section of Scriptable. I did the latter to avoid copy and paste errors.

Once the script is loaded, you have some work to do. Weather Cal is incredibly customizable, but it can be intimidating if you’re not used to coding. Its good! It’s really easy, I swear.

First, you will need an API key from OpenWeather to feed the weather side of the widget. API keys are currently free from OpenWeather, so sign up for a and wait for it to be delivered to your inbox.

Back in the script, you will need to paste the API key between the two quotes on line 8. If you cannot see the line numbers of the code, go back to the scripts list in Scriptable and press the button Settings button in the upper left corner. So choose Editor and activate Show line numbers.

For me the hardest part of the whole setup is pasting the API key into the script. Editing scripts and typing on your phone screen don’t exactly blend together. I moved the cursor while holding down the space bar, then created a large space between the quotes so that I had enough space to touch the screen until the Dough the prompt appeared.

Once you have inserted the API key, all you have to do is adjust the other widget settings you want. You can choose Fahrenheit or Celsius, dictate which calendars are visible, and even change the type of font used. Zeryck did a great job documenting what each line of code does, so it’s easy to tweak things. It even warns you of code not to touch if you’re less familiar with Javascript.

When you are done making changes, tap To play button to run the script for the first time. This step is absolutely crucial. If you first try to run the script directly from the widget, it won’t be able to get permission from iOS to verify your location. Run it directly in the Scriptable app first to avoid this.

Then add the Scriptable widget to your home screen, choose the Weather Cal script, and enjoy widgets that don’t make you feel like you’re around ten years behind.




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