Ask any Android enthusiast about why they love the operating system and they’re likely to reply “Widgets!” These homescreen mini-apps can display all sorts of information. They also allow users quick access to core system functions via toggles.
Though Android’s default notification screen now allows quick access to the settings menu there is still convenience to be found in widgets that instantly turn features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Airplane Mode on or off. Let’s look at some of the best toggles on Google Play right now.
This app is not just about toggles. It’s a complete widget pack that has been around for years and throughout its existence has managed to remain one of the most reputable widget packs around. Millions of people have downloaded the app and over 80,000 have reviewed it.
One component of the app is a pack of toggle widgets that are basic, functional and attractive. Using them is simple. First install Beautiful Widgets and then access the 1×1 Toggle Widget. When you select a new widget you’ll have the chance to define the function it toggles and customize its look and feel.
This is a good choice for users who are also looking for other widgets, as there’s a lot of nice stuff to be found. However, Beautiful Widgets is priced at $2.69, making it the most expensive option here. Another problem is the sheer number of widgets - they can clog up the widget selection menu!
Beautiful Widgets requires Android 2.2 or newer.
When Google released Android 4.0 it introduced a revised notification menu with a convenient system menu shortcut. Some developers have followed Google’s lead and begun to place their apps on the notification menu as well.
Notification Toggle, as the name suggests, does just that. It offers toggle functional that’s very similar to any other app, but the toggles are placed on the notification menu instead of the home screen. Tablet users may not care about the increase in space but smartphone users may find this preferable.
Headline feature aside, this app is comprehensive and provides many options for both toggle type and appearance customization. Users can even add custom icons.
Notification Toggle is free and requires Android 2.1 or newer.
Power Toggle one-ups everyone else by providing both a notification menu toggle and a homescreen toggle. You probably only need one or the other, but if you’d for some reason like to try both – this is your app.
I like Power Toggle’s appearance and personally found it better than Notification Toggle. With that said, this app doesn’t offer the same level of customization. Users can change size and color – which is probably enough for most people. But power users will miss the ability to add custom icons.
Power Toggle is free and requires Android 2.3 or newer.
Rounded Labs is one of several developers on the app store that provides free one-off toggle widgets. These act like icons on your homescreen but toggle features instead of opening apps. And instead of downloading them together users can download them one at a time.
You may wonder – why? Clutter is one reason. Because of how Android handles widgets, some widget apps end up installing a very large number of different widgets at once, cluttering up the selection menu. Simply downloading the handful of toggles you need will prevent this.
All of the Rounded Labs widgets are free and works on Android 1.5 or newer.
SwitchPro Widgets is another Android veteran. It gained popularity primarily because of its style. Though they’re no longer unique (every new toggle app seems to copy this style) the SwitchPro Widgets are still attractive.
One of this widget’s defining features is the ability to add many toggles in a small space. Others can now do this, but in my experience SwitchPro is still able to cram more toggles into a given space than any other app. The app keeps the icons clear and functional even as their scale is reduced. Hitting the correct toggle is not difficult even when nine or ten are crammed across the skinny side of a 4-inch display.
Yet Switch Pro also supports extremely large toggles. Want to make a panel of switches that spans almost your entire tablet homescreen? That is also possible.
SwitchPro is $.99 and requires Android 2.1 or newer.
There are many options for toggle widgets for Android. It may seem at first glance as if there’s not much space for difference, yet the widgets available are often not similar. SwitchPro is not at all like Beautiful Widgets, which doesn’t have much in common with Power Toggles. Feel free to try them all and, as always, leave us a comment if we missed your favorite.
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