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How to add widgets to your MacOS Sonoma desktop

MacOS Sonoma leans into the same Widgets that are taking iOS by storm. Here's how you can add them to your desktop.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer

You can add as many widgets as your desktop will hold to satisfy your craving for information and quick access.


If you've used any mobile platform over the years, you know what a widget is and that it can make your digital life a bit easier. 

You can add informative widgets that simply keep you apprised of whatever data you need. You can also add interactive widgets that can work with many of the apps you have installed on your laptop or desktop, including Batteries, Calendar, Clock, Contacts, Drafts, News, Notes, Podcasts, and many more. Many of the widgets also come in different sizes, each of which offers a different level of information to present. 

Also: Upgrading to MacOS Sonoma? Do these 7 things first

Of course, not everyone enjoys a good widget. But for those who do, MacOS Sonoma is ready to serve them up. Even better, as you turn your focus to applications, the widgets will slightly fade away, to less likely distract you from what you're doing. 

You can add as many widgets as your desktop will hold to satisfy your craving for information and quick access.

With that said, let's see how to add widgets to your desktop. The process is quite simple but there is one possible caveat.

How to add your first MacOS Sonoma widget

What you'll need: The only thing you'll need for this is a MacOS device (such as a MacBook Pro or iMac) running Sonoma. If you're laptop or desktop is running a version of MacOS earlier than Sonoma, you will not be able to add widgets, so make sure to run the upgrade.

1. Disable Stage Manager

I'm placing the caveat up front. I found out, very quickly, that if you use Stage Manager (which I do), you'll have to first disable it, otherwise you can't access the desktop right-click (or two-finger tap) menu. Once you've added your widgets, you can re-enable Stage Manager without any problems. 

To disable Stage Manager, click the icon in the Menu Bar and then click the On/Off slider associated with Stage Manager until it's in the off position.

The Stage Manager drop-down menu in MacOS Sonoma.

You can't access the desktop right-click menu until you temporarily disable Stage Manager.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Open the Widgets editor

With Stage Manager disabled, right-click (or two-finger tap) any blank spot on the desktop and click Edit Widgets from the popup menu.

The MacOS Sonoma right-click desktop menu.

You can also quickly change your desktop wallpaper from this menu.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Also: Three new MacOS Sonoma features even a casual Mac user will love

3. Add your widgets

In the Edit Widgets popup, locate the widgets you want to add and then drag them onto your desktop. You can then place them wherever you want and in any order you want. When finished, click Done.

The MacOS Sonoma Edit Widgets popup.

You'll find all types of widgets can be added to your desktop.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Enjoy your widgets.

You should now have a desktop filled (or partially filled) with informative and/or interactive widgets. Remember, if you use Stage Manager, go back and re-enable it.

A MacOS Sonoma desktop containing widgets.

You can move the widgets into any order you like by clicking and dragging them.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

If, at a later time, you decide you want to remove any one of your widgets, all you have to do is right-click (or two-finger tap) the widget to be removed and select Remove Widget.

The right-click menu for the Clock widget in MacOS Sonoma.

Each widget will have different right-click context menu options.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

And that's all there is to adding widgets to your MacOS Sonoma desktop. If you work more productively with these little additions, you'll find Sonoma to be a real boon. 

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