Among the many new features in iOS 10 is a neat way to organize your favorite contacts and even access them quickly thanks to a new widget system introduced in the update. iOS 10 goes beyond general phone call-launching features, introducing ways to customize whether each contact icon will call, FaceTime, text, or email the person you tap on.

The addition makes favorites a far more useful and personal feature, superior to the 3D Touch Quick action it was limited to in previous versions of iOS (an enhanced 3D Touch option is still available). It should be noted that the basic communication preferences stored within each contact card on your iPhone will come into play when customizing your new favorites widget, so be sure to add in any phone numbers and email addresses before you start if you haven’t done so already.

Customizing Favorites in the Phone App

Once you have iOS 10 downloaded, follow these steps to navigate through the new way you can customize favorites in the phone app.

How To Contacts Widget 1

The above image represents Step 5 in the instructions below

  1. Navigate to the Phone app.
  2. The app should open on the “Favorites” tab, but if not tap to it.
  3. Tap the “+” button in the top left corner of the screen.
  4. Search for the contact you want to add and tap it.
  5. Choose between Message, Call, Video, or Mail as your shortcut.
  6. To pick a number or email other than the one shown as default, tap the small down arrow to the right of Message, Call, or Mail to pick from any number/email already stored in your phone for this contact.
  7. Return to the Favorites tab and your new quick access contact will be at the bottom of your Favorites list.
  8. Tap “Edit” in the top right corner to delete or reprioritize contacts.
  9. When organizing your new favorite contacts, be sure to note that the first four contacts will receive top billing in the favorites widget, but a total of eight can fit.

Setting Up the Favorites Widget

The new favorites list is interesting because of its granular settings that allow you to jump into the contacts you only text with, while still accommodating those people you more often speak with on the phone. The personalization doesn’t stop there, however, thanks to iOS 10’s new and visually overhauled widgets system. Follow the next few steps to get your favorites widget up and running.

How To Contacts Widget 2

  1. Navigate to the widgets screen by swiping right from the main iOS 10 home screen, notification center, or lock screen.
  2. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of your widgets and tap “Edit.”
  3. Find “Favorites” and tap the small green plus button to add it to your widgets.
  4. Use the triple bar or “hamburger” icon on the right side of the screen to move favorites further up or down the list.
  5. Hit “Done” to save your changes.
  6. You’ll see your favorite contacts as a widget, with the top four contacts getting premium placement.
  7. Tap “Show More” to expand the widget to a total of eight contacts.

Since the favorites widget can show up to eight contacts, you can return to the phone app to add and rearrange your most important friends, family members, and co-workers to see the changes reflected in the widget.

Your customization options include: adding multiple methods of communication for one person (all four if you contact one person multiple ways frequently), removing the default phone call options for message-focused contacts, and setting your top four most used contacts to save room on the widgets screen, without needing to use the “Show More” option.

How To Contacts Widget 3

An example of the personalized layout that the new widget offers.

iOS 10 is full of other minor but useful features that are worth checking out, which MacRumors is covering in various guides and how-tos to give you a step-by-step walkthrough of each new feature. Check back for new articles, and be sure to read our forums for discussions on iOS 10, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and more.

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