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Who will win the election? These iPhone widgets put results on your home screen

Why fight that nervous election day tic when you can lean into it?

Who will win the election? These iPhone widgets put results on your home screen
[Photo: Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels]
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Election Day 2020 is here, and the conventional wisdom is that you should avoid the urge to fret over the returns in real time. After all, we might not have a grasp on the election results for a while—maybe even for days—after the counting begins this evening.

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But let’s say you’d like to ignore that sound advice and lean into your Election Day anxieties. If so, the NBC News iPhone app has just the thing for you. With its Decision 2020 widget, you can view live results right on your home screen (provided you’ve updated to iOS 14).

To start using the widget, install the NBC News app, then long-press any blank part of your home screen to enter edit mode. Tap the + icon at the top-right of the screen, then scroll down and select NBC News from the widget list. You should then see the Decision 2020 widget, which you can press and drag anywhere on your home screen.

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By default, the widget will rotate between several categories of information, including poll averages, election news, and early voting numbers. Most likely, though, you’ll want to just keep an eye on the actual results. To do that, long-press the widget, then hit “Edit Widget.” Tap the bar that says “Auto Rotation,” and select “Election Results.” You can also use this menu to choose results just from a specific state.

Build your own election day widget

Got a specific site you want to keep tabs on instead? You might want to try another iOS widget called Glimpse 2. The free app lets you take a snapshot from any portion of a web page, then turns it into a widget that periodically refreshes on your home screen. You can potentially use it with any website that’s updating with real-time election results.

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I say “potentially” because Glimpse isn’t perfect. It’s incompatible with some websites because of how they’re formatted—the New York Times Election Needle page doesn’t seem to work, for instance, at least in its pre-results state—and you may have to finagle with the snapshot to frame it just right. But when it works, as it does with Google’s election results page and FiveThirtyEight’s live blog, and it’s pretty neat.

After installing Glimpse, open the app, then hit the + button in the top-right corner. Give the page a nickname, then paste the site’s address into the URL field. The page will load, and if you hit “Toggle widget frame,” you can select the part of the page that will appear on your home screen.

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Then, add the widget in the same way that you did with the NBC News app. You may also want to long-press the widget to edit it, and either remove the bottom “Glimpse” title bar or adjust the page’s rendering delay, which can sometimes solve any formatting issues that arise.

You can also tap on the widget to load the corresponding page in a web browser, because—let’s be honest—once you’ve got a hint of some new results, a simple glance at your home screen won’t scratch the itch.