We first covered Today Extensions way back in Bite #36. They’re a great way to offer quick, glanceable information or entry-points to our app. Today we’ll take a look at some lesser known features of Today Extensions, and how we can use them in our code. Let’s begin.
3D Touch Shortcut Widgets
First up, is one of the newest additions to the Today Extension world: 3D Touch Homescreen Widgets.
The coolest bit is, we don’t really need to do anything to “get” this. If our app has a Today Extension, the widget will automatically appear when a user 3D Touches our app’s icon.
The B-Side comes into play when we have multiple Today Extensions in our app. We’ll need a way to tell the system which one to display above our icon. We can do this by adding a new key to our app’s
(We can also choose “Home Screen Widget” from the keys dropdown).
Today Extensions Widgets don’t have to always be visible in the Today view. We can actually tell the system whether or not our widget should be displayed with this one function:
NCWidgetController .widgetController() .setHasContent(true, forWidgetWithBundleIdentifier: "com.littlebitesofcocoa.latest")
Calling this with
false will hide the widget in the Today View until our app calls the function again with a
Opening Our App
This one is a bit of a stretch to truly call a B-side, but it can easily be done incorrectly, so here we are.
It’s quite common for a Today Extension Widget to need to open its containing app.
Apple has tightened the reigns in recent OS releases to “validate” when and how apps (and specifically Today Extensions) can open apps. Not to worry, we can use this special function on an
NSExtensionContext to open a deep link into our app.
Pro Tip: Opening our own app (i.e. our app that contains the Today Extension) is just fine, but beware if we start trying to open other apps using this function, Apple may scrutinize our Today Extension further during App Review.