Putting Nasa's Astronomy Picture of the Day On My Homescreen Finally Convinced Me to Use a Widget

Illustration for article titled Putting Nasa's Astronomy Picture of the Day On My Homescreen Finally Convinced Me to Use a Widget
Screenshot: Andrew Liszewski/Gizmodo

A few weeks in, I’m still not sure why I should embrace iOS 14's most notable feature: widgets. But developer Mark Hambly has managed to convince me to give up some of my precious home screen real estate with a simple widget that displays Nasa’s Astronomy Picture of the Day every time I unlock my iPhone.

The free APOD Astronomy Pics and Widget app (which also doesn’t contain any ads) is available in the iTunes App Store right now for iPhones and iPads running iOS 14, naturally, and while functionality is simple, it does the one thing it promises to very well. Users can add the widget to their home screen in three different sizes; a 2x2 or 4x4 square, or a wider 2x4 rectangle, and every day it will automatically refresh and display the current Nasa Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Clicking on the widget pops up Nasa’s official description of the image for those who aren’t just in it for the eye candy. If you don’t think you have the patience to wait a whole day for the widget to update with new imagery, there are alternate versions of the APOD widget as well including one that displays a random Astronomy Picture of the Day every time you unlock and open your phone, and one that only shows your favorites which can be denoted in Hambly’s app.


As Apple continues to open up its mobile operating systems and enhance the ways users can customize their devices, maybe one day even dynamic wallpapers will happen. As entertaining as this widget is for astronomy fans, the images are still relatively small, and I’d much prefer to see my iPhone’s lock screen wallpaper updated with the Nasa APOD every morning.

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The NASA app has the option to select APOD, NASA image of the day, other images contributed to NASA, or all of them and have it automatically daily set your background or lockscreen or both. Much easier and less real estate taken than a widget. Not sure if they have this on the iphone though, I use android.