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In iOS 14, Apple overhauled widgets and introduced an option for adding widgets to the Home Screen, but in the process, a well-loved Favorites widget that existed in iOS 13 was removed.

shortcutsfavorites.jpg

The Favorites widget allowed users to set certain contacts and contact methods as favorites that were easily accessible, so you could, for example, add a favorite option for messaging Eric or calling Dan, with those actions executed with a tap on the widget.

Why the Favorites widget was removed is a mystery and it could be a simple oversight with Apple planning to reintroduce it later, but for now, those who relied on the widget can recreate its functionality with Shortcuts. It takes some effort, but it may be worth the time investment if you often relied on your Favorites.

Creating a Favorites Shortcut

Making a shortcut that replicates the behavior of the Favorites widget isn't too tough, but if you want multiple favorite options, you'll need to create a separate shortcut for each one in the Shortcuts app.
  1. Open the Shortcuts app.
  2. Tap on the "← Shortcuts" label in the upper left hand corner.
  3. Tap on the folder icon in the top right to create a new folder. Your favorites shortcuts need to be in a folder if you want to use them with the Shortcuts widget.
    shortcutfoldersetup-arrow.jpg
  4. Name the folder ("Favorites" in our case) and choose an icon.
  5. Tap on the new folder ("Favorites") and then tap the "+" icon to start creating shortcuts.
    shortcutsfavoritefolder-arrow.jpg
After this step, there are slightly different Shortcut creation methods that can be used to create quick contact options for calling, FaceTiming, and messaging someone.

Making a Shortcut to Call Someone

  1. Tap Add Action and then search for "Phone" or "Call."
  2. Tap the Phone app.
    callshortcutsetup-arrow.jpg
  3. Tap on one of the suggested contacts that Shortcuts offers or tap on the "+" button to select a different contact.
  4. Make sure the Shortcut you've created says Call [Contact Name].
    phonecallcontactselection.jpg
  5. Tap Next.
  6. Give the Shortcut a name. ("Call John" in our case)
  7. Tap the icon to the left to the name to select both a color and an icon for your Shortcut.
    shortcutphonecallcustom-arrow.jpg
  8. Tap "Done."
After you tap Done, your shortcut to make a phone call to one of your contacts will be listed in the appropriate folder in the Shortcuts app. To activate it, just tap it and it will automatically call the intended person. Repeat these steps for anyone you want to create a call shortcut for.

Making a Shortcut to FaceTime Someone

  1. Tap Add Action and then search for "FaceTime" or "Call."
  2. Tap the FaceTime app to get to the Shortcut editing options.
    facetimeshortcutsetup.jpg
  3. Tap on "FaceTime" to select either standard FaceTime or FaceTime Audio.
    facetimeshortcutoptions.jpg
  4. Tap on the blank to select a contact from the list.
    [*]Make sure the Shortcut you've created says FaceTime [Contact Name].
    [*]Tap Next.
    [*]Give the Shortcut a name.
    facetimeshortcutcustomization.jpg

    [*]Tap the icon next to the name to select both a color and an icon for your Shortcut.
    [*]Tap "Done."

When you tap this Shortcut, it will initiate a FaceTime call to the person that was added as the contact.

Making a Shortcut to Message Someone

  1. Tap Add Action and then search for "Messages."
    messagesshortcutsetup.jpg
  2. Tap on "Send Message."
  3. Tap on the [Recipients] blank to select a contact.
  4. Type in the name of the person you want to be able to message.
    messagesrecipientselect.jpg
  5. Make sure the Shortcut you've created says Send "Message" to .
    [*]Tap Next.
    [*]Give the Shortcut a name.
    [*]Tap the icon next to the name to select both a color and an icon for your Shortcut.
    [*]Tap "Done."

Tapping the finished Shortcut will open up the Messages app with a compose window for the person who you added as your target contact. Note that if you want to send a message to more than one person, just type in multiple names at the part where you're entering the name of your contact.

Adding the Shortcuts Favorites Widget to Your Home Screen

Once you've created all your shortcuts for quickly sending a message, calling, or FaceTiming your contacts, you're ready to add a widget that can be accessed from the widget interface or right from the Home Screen.
  1. Go to the iPhone's Home Screen.
  2. Swipe over to where you want to place your new Favorite Widget.
  3. Press and hold on the Home Screen to enter "Jiggle" Mode, and then tap the "+" button in the upper left hand corner.
    shortcutswidgetsetup.jpg
  4. Search for Shortcuts and tap the icon.
  5. Choose the widget you want. If you made a single favorites Shortcut, tap the single option. If you have two to four, tap the size with four, and choose eight if you have more.
  6. Tap Add Widget.
  7. Tap on the widget to customize it.
    shortcutsfolderselect.jpg
  8. Tap on the folder where you put all your favorites shortcuts.
  9. Tap out of the interface and tap "Done."
That's all there is to it. Once the Shortcuts widget is set up with the appropriate folder that contains all of your contact shortcuts, a tap on any one of the widget options will initiate the action right from the widget interface, just like the prior favorites widget.

favoriteswidgethomescreen.jpg

Note that the Shortcuts widget has limited space when it comes to names, so you may need to shorten some of the Shortcut names you've created to make it clear who's going to be contacted if you have multiples.

If you need more detailed instructions on adding widgets,
see our dedicated Widgets how to.

Favorites Still in the Contacts App

Just to be clear, it's the Favorites widget that's been removed, not the Favorites functionality in its entirety. You can still create and access your previously made favorite options in the Phone app under the "Favorites" tab if that's easier than making a whole bunch of Shortcuts.

favoritesapp.jpg

For more on how to make use of widgets and the new Home Screen changes in iOS 14, make sure to check out our widget how to and our Home Screen guide.

Article Link: iOS 14 Favorites Widget: How to Make a Replacement With Shortcuts
 
Last edited:

JM

macrumors 68000
Nov 23, 2014
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If anyone wants to get real jiggy-wit-it, you can add some lines of code in there to ask you who you want to call/text so you can have multiple people within one shortcut button.

Here we go, actually. You can set up multiple people just by hitting the plus button in the "speed dial" shortcut (under Quick Shortcuts, under Gallery)

83125BDC-DBD2-4481-9B02-83F30FEB3F5A.png
 
Last edited:
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Populus

macrumors 68020
Aug 24, 2012
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Valencia, Spain.
Hey Juli, great article! Yesterday I was wondering if this widget was still present on iOS14, provided that I use it a lot. Just two questions:

1) can you still 3DTouch/HapticTouch over the phone app icon to show you your favorites on iOS14?

2) are those shortcuts you’re explaining accesible with the phone locked? Because having the favorites widget allowed others to know who to call on an emergencyif they grab your iPhone

Thank you!
 
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jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,798
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California
Hey Juli, great article! Yesterday I was wondering if this widget was still present on iOS14, provided that I use it a lot. Just two questions:

1) can you still 3DTouch/HapticTouch over the phone app icon to show you your favorites on iOS14?

2) are those shortcuts you’re explaining accesible with the phone locked? Because having the favorites widget allowed others to know who to call on an emergencyif they grab your iPhone

Thank you!

A long press on the Phone icon doesn't show Favorites, but you can access them from the Lock Screen. You can't use the Messages one without unlocking, but calls and FaceTime should work. I'm hoping Apple brings the original widget back... makes a lot of sense to have it and a lot of people seem to be missing it.
 
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MikeTheBohunk

macrumors newbie
May 2, 2017
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East End
That's actually one notable change in iOS 14 in general: long-pressing any icon on the home screen no longer shows the associate widget for any application. The old-style widgets are now only available in the leftmost page.
 
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johnnytravels

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2019
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Sad day for grandma’s all over the world...
Apple really has accessibility down to the minutiae of it /s
 
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Joexg

macrumors newbie
Oct 1, 2020
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2
Hmmm, are you perhaps storing your contacts in an odd way? let’s say I have a contact named Steve. My contacts list has Steve listed just once, but if I tap his name, I see both of his numbers. Are you storing it some other way, such as having a contact called “Steve Mobile” and “Steve Office”?
 
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Spacetime Anomaly

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2017
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Way out in space
Hmmm, are you perhaps storing your contacts in an odd way? let’s say I have a contact named Steve. My contacts list has Steve listed just once, but if I tap his name, I see both of his numbers. Are you storing it some other way, such as having a contact called “Steve Mobile” and “Steve Office”?

Perhaps it’s because two different contacts (with different mobile numbers) share the same landline number.

I’ll use the following as a workaround:
1601541227222.jpeg
 
Last edited:
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Joexg

macrumors newbie
Oct 1, 2020
6
2
No. I get to choose if I pick a contact through the phone app, just not when I create a shortcut.

But nevermind, the following works:
View attachment 961729
I’d really like to help make my shortcut work for you, and I’m quite surprised that it isn’t working as expected in this particular way. If you wouldn’t mind, would you let me know the following details:

iOS Version
WidgetPack version (and beta or official release)
Phone Widget version (should be 0.6)

and if I could trouble you a little more, in order to isolate the problem I’ve made a shortcut that only does the part of Phone Widget that isn’t working for you. I’m curious to know if this super-simple shortcut works as intended:https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/f0b16ecf621845698eb12bfca32b236d
 
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Dreamboy

macrumors member
Sep 20, 2012
32
4
Removing the widgets from the 3DTouch app menus is the worst thing Apple has made to iOS in years. I used this shortcuts all the time to call favorites, check stocks, weather, most used chats in WhatsApp...

This didn’t take any space on the home screen and was easily accessible. Now there’s no way to do many simple things and the new widget system seems much worst. I really see iOS 14 as a downgrade from iOS 13.
 
Comment

mcfrazieriv

macrumors 6502a
Jan 30, 2012
970
2,364
I see this and thing "How to clutter my iPhone with more useless crap".
Same with those who are "customizing" the home screen by littering it with themed icons.
 
Comment

adrianlondon

macrumors 68040
Nov 28, 2013
3,283
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Switzerland
I kept calling people by mistake, so I changed my shortcuts into a menu which meant I had toi click twice to make the call.

 
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sdwaltz

macrumors 6502a
Apr 29, 2015
819
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Indiana
To this day I still don't understand what shortcuts do or how they're useful. I'm sure they are, I just...don't understand it.
 
Comment

Spacetime Anomaly

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2017
250
449
Way out in space
I’d really like to help make my shortcut work for you, and I’m quite surprised that it isn’t working as expected in this particular way. If you wouldn’t mind, would you let me know the following details:

iOS Version
WidgetPack version (and beta or official release)
Phone Widget version (should be 0.6)

and if I could trouble you a little more, in order to isolate the problem I’ve made a shortcut that only does the part of Phone Widget that isn’t working for you. I’m curious to know if this super-simple shortcut works as intended:https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/f0b16ecf621845698eb12bfca32b236d

I think we may have been talking at cross purposes. My original question was regarding the stock Shortcuts app, not your WidgetPack (which I haven't tried).

I have already made my own widget that that allows me to choose from a list of options (phone, text, FaceTime, location etc) and it works great.

Have a good day.
 
Comment

adrianlondon

macrumors 68040
Nov 28, 2013
3,283
3,716
Switzerland
To this day I still don't understand what shortcuts do or how they're useful. I'm sure they are, I just...don't understand it.
I use them quite a lot. Apart from having buttons on my Today screen to contact various people, I have some that (using Hue lghts) turn lights on for a while then back off again. I have one to display how many floors I've climbed today from Health stats and comparing that to a weekly average. I also have some that do language translations, by recording what I say in the relevant language and transcribing it (and speaking it back) in the target language. Finally, I have some that opens google's web page showing a stock price (as the Stocks app has delayed prices).
 
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Populus

macrumors 68020
Aug 24, 2012
2,106
2,476
Valencia, Spain.
A long press on the Phone icon doesn't show Favorites, but you can access them from the Lock Screen. You can't use the Messages one without unlocking, but calls and FaceTime should work. I'm hoping Apple brings the original widget back... makes a lot of sense to have it and a lot of people seem to be missing it.
Yeah, thanks for the clarification. Now that I think about it, I think I know why Apple removed the old widget behavior. iOS14 widgets are no longer interactive (to reduce RAM usage?) and whenever they’re pressed they launch the whole app. New widgets are merely app launchers that show info, so I understand why the favorite contacts widget had to be removed, and why we won’t be seeing its comeback at least until iOS 15, 16... or maybe never.
 
Comment

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
51,388
19,449
I see this and thing "How to clutter my iPhone with more useless crap".
Same with those who are "customizing" the home screen by littering it with themed icons.
Except in situations like this where it's there to do something useful and essentially to recreate something that has been there for some time and has now been removed.
[automerge]1601570079[/automerge]
To this day I still don't understand what shortcuts do or how they're useful. I'm sure they are, I just...don't understand it.
What's described in this article is one example of what can be done and how it can be useful.
 
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