How to add and use desktop widgets in macOS Sonoma

Apple’s macOS Sonoma brings many interesting new features to Mac users, and desktop widgets are among the most useful. As the name suggests, you can now drag and drop widgets directly onto your desktop, giving you quick access to to-do lists, local weather forecasts, smart home controls, and more. Here, we’ll show you how to use them.

The best part of macOS Sonoma widgets is their interactivity. Now, there is no need to open the widget to use its associated app. Instead, you can simply interact with your widgets, tick off your reminders or play music straight from your desktop. It’s a great time-saving tool and works with many types of widgets, including those made by Apple and third-party developers.

Widgets are now housed in the new Widget Gallery, which you can access by right-clicking on your desktop and choosing Edit Widgets. You don’t even need to install the widget on your Mac to run it, as it will only be available when you have it on your iPhone (provided it’s running iOS 17 or later). Just make sure both devices are using the same Apple ID and Wi-Fi network, and that the iPhone is near your Mac.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to place widgets on your desktop, how to interact with them, and how to change their settings in just a few clicks. Once you’ve mastered this feature, you’ll have a great new way to use macOS Sonoma to get work done.

Add widget to desktop

step 1: To add a widget to your desktop, you first need to open the Widgets Gallery by right-clicking on your desktop and selecting Edit widget, Or open Notification Center and select Edit widget under the window.

Widget Gallery in macOS Sonoma.

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step 2: This hides your open windows and reveals the widget gallery, which contains all your available widgets.

step 3: To add a widget, select an app’s name in the left sidebar and drag the widget to your desktop.

step 4: You can place your first widget wherever you want. For subsequent widgets, you will see an alignment box when you move the second widget closer to the first widget. This helps you snap your widgets together nicely.

Dragging a widget to the desktop in macOS Sonoma.  An alignment grid is visible.

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Step 5: If there are any files or folders in a location you want to drag the widget to, they will wrap around your widget as soon as you place it on your desktop.

Step 6: In addition to the desktop, you can also move widgets from the Widget Gallery to the Notification Center.

Step 7: Once you’ve finished dragging the widget to your desktop, select Done Click the button in the widget gallery, or simply on your desktop or dock.

Interact with your widget

step 1: Some widgets can be interacted with on your desktop without opening the app to which they belong.

step 2: For example, place a widget from the Podcasts app on your desktop. You’ll notice that you can play and pause podcasts directly from the widget, without having to open the Podcasts app to access these controls. Or try adding a reminder widget – and it’ll let you tick off your tasks right from your desktop.

An interactive widget on the desktop in macOS Sonoma.

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step 3: If you click on any area of ​​the widget that isn’t interactive – like its background, for example – the app will launch itself.

step 4: If you select a non-interactive area of ​​a widget whose app is installed on your iPhone but not on your Mac, you’ll see the message “open [app name] on your iPhone to continue.”

Edit widget settings

step 1: Once the widget is installed on your desktop, you can change it in various ways to suit your needs.

step 2: To resize a widget, right click on it and select a size from the context menu that appears.

The right-click menu on a desktop widget in macOS Sonoma lets the user edit the widget's settings.

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step 3: Similarly, to remove a widget, you simply need to right-click on it and select delete widget In the menu. Alternatively, you can open the Widgets Gallery and click – button in the upper-left corner of the widget.

step 4: Some widgets have settings that can be edited (though you can’t do this for every widget). For widgets that can be edited, right-click the widget, then select “edit [app name], This will bring up a settings window. For example, in the Weather app widget, you can change the location used for weather results.

Step 5: If you open the System Settings app and select Desktop and Dock In the sidebar, you’ll see some more options below widget Topic. For example, you can change whether widgets fade out when you’re using another app. Or you can set the widget to disappear until you hide other windows and show your desktop. You can also disable iPhone widgets when you’re using your Mac.

The System Settings app in macOS Sonoma appears with widget settings.

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Interactive widgets are a useful addition to macOS Sonoma and will save you a lot of time and clicks in the long run. Place some of your favorite widgets on your desktop and you will find it much easier to work than before.

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