The Notification Center widgets are one of the features of OS X Yosemite that we can take advantage of most on a daily basis to increase our productivity. They are ideal for performing small tasks without losing sight of the application we are using, and they shine with special intensity while we work in full screen.
The only problem is that, unlike the old Dashboard widgets, still present in Yosemite though somewhat forgotten, they don’t exist as independent apps that we can look up directly, but are an extension that they develop may or may not include in their Mac applications.
Finding out which applications have a widget is not a particularly easy task in the Mac App Store, but we have the solution: a collection of the apps with the best widgets from the Notification Center .
iTunes released a widget at the beginning of the year with version 12.1 but the truth is that it’s no big deal either. Silicon (Free on the Mac App Store) is a mini music player much more attractive, and the best thing is that it’s not limited to iTunes but it also has Rdio and Spotify. The only drawback we can put to it until further notice is that it doesn’t fully support Apple Music and if we want to listen to its songs we have to download them first by adding them to our local library.
Microsoft knew what it was doing when it acquired what is undoubtedly one of the best task list applications available not only for the Mac, but for virtually any device you can think of. The Wunderlist widget (free on the Mac App Store) is a good example. Nothing like the virtually useless Apple Reminders widget.
Already set to replace apps from the apple, Fantastical(39.99 euros on the Mac App Store) is another excellent example. Its price is paid only after you use the calendar in a more conscientious way to write down all your appointments and tasks, which with its widget, become also available in the Notification Center.
If you don’t need that much and just want to have a calendar always at hand, MonthlyCal (0.99 euros on the Mac App Store) is a good option.
Monity (2.99 euros in the Mac App Store) is a curious case. Instead of an app that happens to have a widget, we can certainly talk about a widget that, despite itself, also has an app. If you like to keep track of what’s going on on your computer in detail, this is a surefire recommendation: CPU monitor, processes, memory management, network activity, battery, disk … is an all-in-one that will delight the most technical.
Alternatively, I recommend iStat Mini (£2.99 on the Mac App Store), which is less complete but more visually appealing; Battery Monitor (free on the Mac App Store), if it’s essentially the battery condition of your laptop that matters to you; Memory Monitor (free on the Mac App Store), the same as the memory; and Brightness Widget (£4.99 on the Mac App Store), an app that gives you more control over screen brightness levels than the system itself.
Another case of app totally focused on your widget, Converts (1.99 euros on the Mac App Store) is a unit converter (area, energy, temperature, length, weight, speed, pressure, power, volume and time) that never hurts to have on hand right under the calculator. And speaking of a calculator, if Yosemite’s one falls short and you need a scientific alternative, PCCalc (9.99 euros on the Mac App Store), there’s no need to say more.
Airmail (9.99 euros on the Mac App Store) arrived in force in 2013 (check out our analysis) and although it still has some frills to polish that make us reluctant to crown it as the best email client for OS X, it’s certainly an excellent alternative to Mail. Its widget puts our inbox within reach of a gesture in the Control Center, allowing us to reply, archive and delete messages directly from there.
I’ve had enough of this work. It’s time to give free rein to the procrastinator in all of us with InstaDesk (4.99 euros on the Mac App Store), an Instagram client that completely transforms the experience of the well-known social network by making it ridiculously comfortable to enjoy the images shared by our contacts.
Its only limitation, imposed by the network API, is that it does not allow you to upload images from your computer, but beyond that you can do everything else in a faster and easier way than from its website or the official iOS app. You can even download the pictures you like the most. Its Notification Center widget displays the six most recent images from our feed and is a great way to tune out for a second.
Yosemite’s standard Weather widget meets the needs of most users by providing the current temperature and weather situation by displaying a more complete forecast once you click on it. But if you want something else, the Live Weather (3.99 euros on the Mac App Store) is the first place you should look. The app is totally mesmerizing, especially in full screen, and its widget not only offers at first glance much more information, but also makes it more clear.
Parcel (Free in the Mac App Store with app purchases: 1.99 euro annual subscription) is another essential tool for those of us who are on the lookout for packages all day long, whether it’s for work or pure consumerism. Correos, SEUR, MRW, ChronoExpress, NACEX, DHL, UPS… is as powerful as it is simple, and thanks to its widget we can feed the desire to receive that order from Amazon by performing the shipment tracking with a mouse gesture.
If Vaya Tele is the second page you visit (after your time at Apple, that would be more than enough) and you consume more series in the original version than would be advisable to receive a minimum exposure to sunlight, then TV Today (2.99 euros in the Mac App Store) will be an automatic purchase. Directly from the widget you can follow your favourite series and not miss a single episode, access descriptions of its next chapters and know exactly when they will be broadcast.
See? There are real gems for the Notification Center. The only question you might be asking yourself now after installing some of these apps is… how do I start enjoying their widgets? Nothing could be easier: in the Today tab of the Notification Center, at the bottom, you’ll find an “Edit” button. Click it and it’s a piece of cake from there.
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