How To: Access widgets from the status bar of your Android device

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I know plenty of Android users that hardly rely on widgets, and that’s too bad, because they’re missing out on the numerous functions they can perform. Right now, Android is the king of widgets but Apple managed to implement them nicely, despite the fact they joined the party rather late.

Windows Mobile has a completely different view on widgets. In Microsoft’s mobile OS, Live Tiles can act as app icons, shortcuts, widgets and even folders holding more Live Tiles, which is definitely one of the most brilliant things about this ecosystem.

Android and iOS widgets are completely separated from app icons, and the latter operating system offers a simple way of accessing them regardless of the current screen by simply pulling down the ‘Today’ view.

If you’re an Android user and you like the idea of having an iOS-style widget drawer, follow the instructions below to get it in a few easy steps.

The app that offers this functionality is called Snap – Widget Drawer and it lets you access your widgets by pulling down from the status bar.

Snap Widget Drawer (Google Play)

Download Snap – Widget Drawer (Google Play)

Install Snap from the link above – the app supports all devices running Android 4.1 or higher.

When the setup is complete, launch Snap and tap the plus sign shown at the bottom of the screen. A list will all the widgets currently installed on your device will be displayed. Select and add the ones you want to the list.

Snap Widgets list

Note: The free version of Snap lets you add up to 3 widgets in your drawer. Unlimited widgets can be unlocked via a $1.85 IAP, that also removes ads.

The widgets list will remain editable, meaning you can change the order of the items as well as delete any of them and/or add new ones.

Widget Drawer activation areas

Open the Options menu (three-dot icon) to access Snap’s preferences and you’ll be able to set up to two activation areas. They can be the left, center or right side of the status bar. When you pull down from these areas, you’ll open the widgets drawer instead of the notification tray. This way you can use both.

Snap Widget Drawer homescreen

Now you can finally make use of your new widget drawer by swiping down from the activation area(s) you just defined.

Snap is a new app, so it doesn’t have to many customization options. You can reduce the widget drawer’s animation effect, but you can’t resize your widgets for example. Also, you should be aware the widget drawer can be accessed from the lock screen – you might want to avoid placing widgets that contain personal and/or sensitive data. Even so, your phone needs to be unlocked to actually interact with the widgets.

Have you tried Snap and do you find the widget drawer useful? What other features would you like to see implemented in the app? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or drop us a line on FacebookTwitter or Google+.