Apple’s iOS 14 introduced a new world of iPhone customization thanks to the updated widgets that can be displayed on the Home screen as well as in the Today View. While they are incredibly useful, they are not very interactive, they limit what is shown, and you cannot resize them afterwards. However, those issues pale in comparison to the annoying Photos widget in Today View’s auto-generated Smart Stack.
If that sounds like an incomprehensible word salad, let’s take a step back.
You can swipe right from your home screen, lock screen, or Notification center to open Today View, which gives you quick access to widgets with useful information about your favorite apps. You may see widgets displaying weather or recent stock quotes, but iOS 1
That standard Smart Stack at the top of Today View houses tons of native Apple widgets that rotate throughout the day. It can even use Siri intelligence to show you a specific widget when it thinks you want to see it at a specific time. But for most people, myself included, it always seems to choose the Photos widget to display, which indiscriminately picks an image from your Photos app.
OK, it’s not 100% random, as the photos shown are strictly from “For You” in Photos, chosen “intelligently” by iOS. Still, they are random enough that sometimes you don’t like the images that appear. This can be annoying on its own, but it’s more of a problem when someone borrows your iPhone or peers over your shoulder and sees an image you’d rather not see.
Luckily, in Today View’s Smart Stack, there’s an easy way to get rid of that Russian Roulette Photo Widget. There are actually multiple ways you can hide those photos, and I’ve got six options below for you to choose from, including moving the Smart Stack, removing the Photos widget, or replacing it with a third-party option.
Option 1: Delete the photo widget from the smart stack
The best way to get rid of those annoying photos from the auto-generated smart stack is to remove the photo widget from the stack. Smart Stacks are a handful of iOS-chosen widgets that cycle automatically, and you can easily remove or replace any “stacked” widgets.
Open the Today View and long press the Smart Stack until the quick action menu appears. Then tap “Edit Stack”.
At the top of the list you should see the Photo widget. To remove it from the Smart Stack, long swipe it to the left or briefly swipe to the left and press “Remove”, then exit the editor. Now you will no longer see random photos at the top of Today View. Instead, you’ll see the rest of the widgets, which may include Calendar, News, Music, Tips, Batteries, Shortcuts, and other Apple widgets.
Option 2: Move the Smart Stack widget out of sight
If you still want the Photo widget to exist in the Smart Stack, but don’t want to see it all the time, you can just move the widget in Today View.
Long press the smart stack until you see the quick actions disappear, but don’t let go yet; after a second or two, the home screen editor will open where everything shuffles and you can drag the smart stack to a more suitable place. To exit the editor, tap Done, tap the background, swipe up from the bottom as if going to the home screen, or press the home button if you have one.
You can also long press the Smart Stack widget and then choose “Edit Home Screen” from the quick actions; then you would touch and hold the Smart Stack, drag and drop it to a new place and exit the editor.
Option 3: Stop the automatic rotation of the Smart Stack
You can keep the Smart Stack at the top of the Today View with the photo widget included, without unexpectedly embarrassing photos appearing. By default, Smart Stack widgets will automatically cycle through the widgets, so sometimes you will see the Photos widget and other times you won’t. Instead of the Smart Stack automatically scrolling through widgets, you can turn off automatic rotation.
Open the Today View, then long press the smart stack and tap “Edit Stack” from the quick action menu. At the top of the stack editor, turn off ‘Smart Rotate’, which will cause the Smart Stack widget to automatically cycle through widgets.
Once turned off, you have to manually swipe up or down the stack to view different widgets, and the Smart Stack will remember which one was opened last.
Option 4: Delete a specific photo from the smart stack
If you don’t want to delete the Photo Widget from your Smart Stack, but want to delete an embarrassing, inappropriate, or boring photo that appears, go to Photos. As mentioned earlier, the photo widget fetches images from the “For you” section in Photos, so you’ll need to remove the image from that collection.
In the Today view, tap the photo to open it in Photos, then swipe to view it in “For You”. If the image doesn’t appear in the stack, open Photos directly, tap the “For You” tab and manually locate the photo. Once you see the image in ‘For you’, long press it and tap ‘Delete from’ [Collection Name]. The photo is not deleted, but it is deleted from “For You” and then from the Today view.
You delete the photo from this Photos-centric feature, as well as from the Photos widget in the Smart Stack, but not from your library, so you can still enjoy the photo from there. Below you can see my unwanted image in the smart stack before it is removed from ‘For You’ (left) and after that (Turn right).
Option 5: Delete the smart stack completely
The easiest way to prevent photos from appearing in Today View is to delete the entire Smart Stack. It’s a drastic measure, but if you don’t care about the widgets in the Smart Stack, why not?
In Today View, long press the smart stack, then choose “Delete Stack” from the quick action menu. Then select “Delete” from the popup that appears to completely remove the Smart Stack from the Today view.
Option 6: Replace the photo widget from the smart stack
Finally, there’s always the option to replace the Photos section of the Smart Stack widget with a third, especially one that only shows photos of your choice. To do this, you can remove the Photo Widget from the Smart Stack, as seen in Option 1 above, and then place the new Photo Widget above the Smart Stack, or remove the Photo Widget from the Smart Stack and then Drag and drop the third-party widget onto the Smart Stack to add it.
There are a handful of third-party photo-focused widgets, such as Custom Widgets – Photo & Text, Home Photo Widget, and PictureWidget, but Photo Widget, which we’ve discussed earlier, is a great option.
In our Photo Widget guide, you can learn how to download the Photo Widget app, select a photo (or album) and add it to the widget. Once you have the widget, you can easily move it from your home screen to the Today View or simply add it to the Today View. You can customize the widget by choosing whether to display the date and the rate at which it refreshes when you choose multiple photos.
If you want it to be in your Smart Stack, make sure it has the same widget size as the Smart Stack, open the home screen editor, drag it to the Smart Stack and let go.
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