macOS tailor-made: These are the best widgets

Although Apple severely limits the possibilities to customize macOS, you can expand macOS High Sierra in many ways. In our new series, we show you how to step by step to a tailor-made operating system.

Like no other manufacturer, Apple attaches great importance to a close integration of hardware and software as well as to a large extent intuitive and consistent operation. Excessive customization of the operating system runs counter to this request and may jeopardize its stability and security. Therefore, it is not possible to redesign macOS beyond recognition or, as other operating systems allow, to use a completely different user interface. However, Apple makes it possible to expand and supplement the functionality of macOS and the user interface – where appropriate – with on-board tools, apps and plug-ins. For example, you can add new file formats to QuickLook and Spotlight, add more to the menu bar, and add new widgets and various apps, such as photos or Safari, to the message center.

The Extensions preferences

Some of these enhancements – but not all of them – have been managed by OS X Yosemite in the system settings of the same name. Therefore we take a look at it in the first episode of our series. The Extensions section is responsible for Actions, such as tags, Finder extensions such as Dropbox, the plug-ins in the Photo app, Message Center widgets, and commands in the Share menu. The other plug-ins for Safari, Apple Mail, Quick Look or Spotlight are not listed there. Therefore, we will take these into account in the further episodes of our series.

First, let’s take a closer look at the system settings. Open it and click on the “Extensions” icon. In the left column you will find the different categories. Clicking All lists the extensions managed by this preference. “Finder” displays the plug-ins for the Finder, “Photo Edit” the for the photo app. By clicking on “Today” you will see all widgets for the “Today” view in the Notification Center and under “Menu Sharing” you will get access to the entries in the “Share” field.

Would you like one? disable these extensions, then click on the entry to remove the tick. If you want to switch it on instead, then add the hook instead by mouse click. Please note that with the setting “Extensions” you can not install or delete any plug-ins, but you can only show, activate and switch them off.

Install extensions

In most cases they include extensions in the system settings to macOS or to apps and programs that you have installed on your Mac. These can be apps from the App Store or other sources. They complement their functionality in the framework provided by Apple. For example, if you install DropBox, the corresponding Finder extension will also land on your Mac and provide seamless access to your Dropbox via the sidebar. Other enhancements can be installed separately, such as the following notification center widgets or plug-ins for the photo app.

The Best Widgets for macOS

Swift Note

Swift Note 2.2 is a notes widget for the message center. The color of the notes can be adjusted. Swift Note is available for free. It is possible to synchronize the notes with the iPad and iPhone using the iCloud.

Price : 2,30 Euro
Web :


Parcels 3.1 is a tracking application for parcels of numerous delivery services. The Notification Center widget displays the status of each shipment. The app can be used for free – limited to a few broadcasts.

Price : Free (+ In-app purchases)
Web : www / DE

Battery Monitor

Battery Monitor 2.4.3 is a standalone and free app that monitors your MacBook’s battery. In addition, you can access a widget that displays the most important data, such as the state of charge or the number of charge cycles in the message center.

Price : Free
Web :


Todoist 7.0.12 is a task manager for the Mac and the iPhone or iPad. This also brings a widget for the message center and can be tested with restrictions for free. Registration with a Google or Facebook user account is required.

Price : Free (+ In App Purchases)
Web : de.

Workshop: How to Find, Install, and Manage Widgets in the Notification Center

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