Ever since the rollout of iOS 14 last year, app developers have been busy creating widgets for their apps on the iPhone and iPad. Last month, Google released Home Screen widgets for the Chrome browser on iOS, and now, it’s bringing new changes to its existing widgets for the Google app.
Google app on iOS gets customizable backgrounds on iOS 14
The Google app on iOS is getting new custom backgrounds that you can apply to both of its existing widgets. These backgrounds give users a way to personalize their Home Screen differently every day without needing to switch their device’s wallpaper.
Google offers different categories for users to choose from based on what they prefer to see and their mood. Additionally, you can also allow Google to “refresh” the themes on a daily basis so you wake up to a new home screen every day.
How to Change Themes for Google widget
Customizable widgets are currently only available for the Google app and we’re yet to hear a word whether the Mountain View giant will add the functionality to its other apps. Follow the steps below to get the customizable theme functionally for Google app widgets on your iPhone or iPad.
Update the Google app from App Store
You will only be able to access the new feature once you have updated your Google app on iOS to its latest version on the App Store. You can directly access the app’s App Store page by clicking this link and update the app from there.
Alternatively, you can open the App Store on your iOS device, tap on your account picture at the top right corner and then tap on the ‘Update’ button adjacent to the Google app listing on this screen.
Add a Google widget on your home screen
You can skip this step if you’re already using a Google app widget on your iOS Home Screen. But in case you’re not, then here’s how you can add the Google widget on your iPhone or iPad.
Note: You need iOS 14 for this. So, if you haven’t updated your phone to iOS 14, or can’t do that (device being ineligible), then you can’t use the guide.
To add a widget on iOS, you need to trigger the editing mode on the home screen. For this, tap and hold on an empty area on your screen until the icons on the screen start jiggling. Another way to enter editing more is by tapping and holding on any icon on your screen and then selecting the ‘Edit Home Screen’ option from the overflow menu.
When the icons on the home screen start jiggling, tap on the ‘+’ icon at either corner at the top (top left corner for iPhone X and above; top right corner for older iPhones).
You will now see a list of all available widgets on your device with the most prominent widgets at the top portion. To add the Google widget on your screen, scroll down and tap on the ‘Google’ app.
On the next screen, choose the Google app widget you want to add. At present, there are only 2 widgets that Google offers – a 1×1 Search widget and a 2×1 Google widget for Search/Lens/Voice/Incognito. Select between either of the widgets by swiping left or right, and then tap on the ‘Add Widget’ option at the bottom to add it.
The selected widget will now be visible on your iOS Home Screen.
You can now proceed to customize this widget’s background on the Google app.
Change your Widget background to a Custom Theme
Once you’ve added the Google widget on your iOS Home Screen, open the Google app from your App Library.
When the app loads up, tap on your account picture at the top right corner.
In the overflow menu that appears, select the ‘Settings’ option.
Inside Settings, tap on ‘General’.
When the General screen appears, select the ‘Widgets’ option at the bottom.
Next, select the ‘Widget theme’ option from the Widgets screen.
Now, choose a category of themes you want to apply to the Google widgets. By default, the ‘System default’ option will be selected which basically follows your system’s theme and changes between black and white accordingly. You can also select the ‘Light’ or ‘Dark’ options to set it to a single theme.
However, the highlight of the latest Google update is the addition of a slew of preset themes that you can choose from various categories – Earth, Travel, Abstract Art, and Solid colors. Choose any category you want to select a theme from.
This will open a list of all the custom backgrounds that are available inside the selected category. Select a theme you want to apply by simply tapping on it.
Additionally, you can toggle the ‘Refresh daily’ option at the top of any of the preset categories to allow Google to select a theme for you and apply one every day.
Now, go back to your iOS Home Screen. You should be able to see the background you selected get applied to your Google Widget.
When you apply a background inside the Google app, the selected background is set for both the widgets and there’s no option to select two different themes for the two widgets.
What Themes can you choose from?
The latest update to the Google app’s widget offers four theme-able options other than System Default, Light, and Dark themes.
Shows a bunch of aerial-view photos that would look best with natural backgrounds.
A collection of minimalistic themes that gets you ready for the vacation mode.
Themes that would go with any wallpaper you have to give you that aesthetic look.
For the ultimate clean look, you can go with a solid colored background that matches your wallpaper’s color tone.
That’s all we have on adding custom themes for the Google app widgets.