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In the past week or so Apple's language translation widget (which uses SYSTRAN for translation) has stopped working, and in searching for a replacement widget I noticed that a lot of former widget developers have now abandoned support for their widgets, citing Apple's lack of support for Dashboard itself.

Are there any announcements or plans by Apple regarding the future of Dashboard?


UPDATE (2-Aug-2017) - The Translation widget now seems to have been fixed, after a few weeks of being broken. It's not clear whether this was an Apple problem or a SYSTRAN problem. The above question still stands though - does Dashboard have a future ?
UPDATE (2-Nov-2017) - I just upgraded to High Sierra (10.13.1) and while Dashboard is still very much alive, the Translation widget has now completely disappeared !
UPDATE (15-Oct-2019) - With the release of Catalina, the Dashboard is now officially removed from OSX. Mojave (10.14) was the last version of OSX with dashboard support.

  • With a web page that looks like this - apple.com/downloads/dashboard - what ever could you be thinking about a sunset or needing life support? – bmike Jul 19 '17 at 19:13
  • @bmike: not sure if you're joking or not, but as well as third party developers abandoning support for their own widgets, Apple does not seem to be supporting its own bundled widgets, e.g. try using the Translate widget - it's been broken for weeks now, apparently because the server it uses for translation is no longer available. Note also that a lot of the download links on the Dashboard page are broken. – Paul R Jul 19 '17 at 19:51
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    Mostly joking. It looks petrified / ancient with no echo of life let alone signs of life on that page... – bmike Jul 19 '17 at 23:13
  • Aha - that's a relief ! – Paul R Jul 19 '17 at 23:14
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    No announcements I'm aware of. Dashboard is still present in the High Sierra betas, though of course that could change before release. – calum_b Aug 2 '17 at 10:20
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I'm just speculating here, but...

It does seem like apple has left dashboard to die a slow death. I think that we started seeing proof of that, when they introduced a dropdown menu for disabling Dashboard in Mountain Lion (I think). Before that it could be done through the terminal. This was like apple admitting that people don't really use it that much, so let's give them the option to disable it.

In one of the more recent versions of osx, they disabled dashboard by default (Yosemite, maybe?). I'm pretty sure that unless by some miracle there's a dramatic change in how much people use dashboard, Apple is absolutely going to kill it off at some point.

At least from the users perspective, it's hard to justify the existence of Dashboard, when we got menubar apps that do essentially the same thing and maybe even a little bit more in some cases.


A possible replacement for that translator widget could be Instant Translate.

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List of other possible replacements for widgets.

Calendar:

Weather:

  • WeatherBug (Free)
  • Forecast Bar (~$6) I could be wrong, but I remember this one having the option to set a notification like say every day at a specific time. When I tried this, I remember setting it to 15:50, 10 minutes before getting off from work. Don't trust me on this though... I can't remember for sure.

Calculator - You can calculate straight in Spotlight. You can always click the magnifier glass icon on the top right of the screen or use the default shortcut to open Spotlight Cmd+Space. Just write it right there: (20-10)/2. Escape key closes spotlight.

Stickie notes

  • The native app: Stickies.app - There are third party stickie apps, but let's face it, this should be more than enough for most.
  • Memo (Free) - I'm only mentioning this, because you can password lock memos, if you want. When you lock a memo, the content becomes hidden. They can also auto lock after a while.

A few honorable mentions for people who like to customize things like there is no tomorrow.

iStatmenu has a clock replacement (native menubar clock can be hidden from System Preferences). The clock replacement can be customized pretty much how ever you want. It even has a "fuzzy clock", which shows the time in words: twenty past nine. Personally I find that cool, that's why I mentioned it. Anyways, the clock can be clicked to show a calendar (much like those other apps).

uBar is a Dock replacement that can also show the time and when you hover over it, it shows a very plain calendar. Pretty much just to keep track of what day it is, I'd say. Clicking it opens the native Calendar.app.

Übersicht Is very much like some sort of spiritual successor to Dashboard. You can download widgets that show stuff like Weather, Time, Calendar, Disk Space... etc. It's basically an overlay on top of your desktop. You pretty much can't be afraid to dive into some CSS to use this app, because each newly installed widget seems to require you to change poisition, font size and colors.

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    Yes, I think you're probably right, and thanks for the recommendation for Instant Translate. I've used Dashboard for may years, as a place to keep what would in Olden Times have been called "desk accessories" (clocks, calendar, stock prices, weather, dictionary, etc) - I suppose one can achieve something similar by using multiple desktops these days, but it's a pain to have to find new apps to replace the old widgets and then change one's workflow and age-old habits, etc. – Paul R Jul 11 '17 at 9:37
  • @PaulR There's just very little incentive for developers to create or maintain dashboard widgets. They don't usually have ads, there's no market place that can sell them for a price, they target a very limited audience, and generally, their functionality is much more refined and versatile as a phone app – Alexander - Reinstate Monica Jul 11 '17 at 15:55
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    @PaulR Spaces weren't introduced until 10.5 Leopard, whereas Dashboard came in 10.4 Tiger. It made sense at the time, IMO, as you wouldn't want such useful-but-single-purpose apps clutters a desktop you couldn't easily clear/switch. – Alexander - Reinstate Monica Jul 11 '17 at 16:00
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    @PaulR added an extended list of possible widget replacements. – Joonas Jul 11 '17 at 19:42
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    @PaulR If you wanna try Übersicht: here's my widget setup. After installing the app, you click the menubar icon, choose Open Widgets Folder and you can just unpack the zip there. As I said, there may be some positioning that may need to be done, since different resolutions are a thing, but otherwise it should be pretty straight forward. Oh and the Weather app can have trouble getting location automatically. I've set the fallback location in the widget file to Lahti, FI. Screenshot of the setup. – Joonas Jul 12 '17 at 9:51

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