With iOS 16, lock screen widgets are now available to iPhone users. This has been a game-changer for many, ourselves included. We’ve found that the combination of Google Maps and lock screen widgets have been particularly useful when driving. With a few taps, we can launch our podcast player and start my favorite show without ever having to leave the Maps app. And with Apple’s Shortcuts function, you can automate this process so that it happens with even fewer taps. Here’s how it works.
Using Lock Screen Widgets with Google Maps
When you’re driving, the last thing you want to do is take your eyes off the road to fumble with your phone. With lock screen widgets, you can keep your attention where it needs to be while still getting the information you need. To use a widget, simply swipe right on your lock screen to bring up the Today View. From there, scroll down to find the widget you want to use and tap on it.
There are a number of different widgets available, but the one I’ve found most useful is the Google Maps widget. With this widget, you can see my current location, estimated time of arrival, and step-by-step directions—all without ever having to leave the lock screen or open the Maps app. This is extremely useful when driving in unfamiliar territory or needing to make a quick stop.
Automating Your Podcast Player with Shortcuts
In addition to being able to see my current location and directions on the lock screen, you can also launch my podcast player with just a few taps thanks to Apple’s Shortcuts function. For those not familiar with Shortcuts, it’s a powerful automation tool that allows you to string together a number of different actions into a single tap. So, for example, you have a shortcut that starts my podcast player and loads up my favorite show when tapping on the Google Maps widget on my lock screen. This saves even more time and helps me stay focused on the road.
iOS 16’s new lock screen widgets are making road trips more efficient. With just a few taps, you can see the current location, estimated time of arrival, and step-by-step directions—all without ever having to leave the lock screen or open the Maps app. If you’re hitting the road this winter, be sure to take advantage of these time-saving features.