Steve Jobs may have invented the three-click rule. This rule refers to how the late CEO and co-founder of Apple pressured the original iPod team to ensure that a user was always three clicks away from playing a song.
I thought about this while creating a new lock screen for when I’m traveling in the car and how the platform’s news support for lock screen widgets has reduced the number of taps on my iPhone to launch an app or action without going to the home screen .
I use Apple Maps and Google Maps for different purposes – whether it’s using the Apple app to look up certain landmarks when my wife and I are away for a weekend, or using Google Maps to get from one destination to another.
However, it’s the combination of the Google Maps and iOS 16 lock screen widgets that have been the most helpful for me when driving somewhere, and I’m hoping for more when iOS 17 arrives.
When we’re about to leave for a road trip, I switch my iPhone’s lock screen to the screen above, and the Google Maps widget on the right lets me choose the destination I’ve visited before, and the weather widget on the left will give me a idea of the weather in the next few hours while on the road.
This also launched the second part of setting up my iPhone to drive. Since Spotify is integrated with Google Maps, it can also play a song if I need to, but since we like to listen to a lot of podcasts on the road, I use Apple’s Shortcuts function to automate a playlist of podcasts.
As soon as I enable ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’, the automation starts playing my Cloudy podcast playlist, picking up where we left off. It’s incredibly easy to set up my iPhone to drive now, and before iOS 16, I spent most of my time setting up podcasts before hitting the road.
These lock screen widgets aren’t just for display – they can help bring taps to or below the benchmark Steve Jobs set more than twenty years ago with the iPod. Combine that with shortcut automation and it’s already becoming a time saver for me and certainly for many others.
When it comes to iOS 17, I’d love to have more widgets placed on the lock screen – one above and three below the time isn’t enough, I want at least six to put.
For now, however, widgets and automations are a perfect match for me when driving, both before and during, which is why I consider iOS 16 a great update for the iPhone.