More Replacements for Dark Sky

One of the great things about writing a blog post looking at 12 different possible replacements for Dark Sky (that late and beloved weather app on iOS) is that several people will say, “Why didn’t you include this app I love, and you’ve never heard of?”

My little roundup wasn’t meant to be comprehensive, but some of the apps suggested were intriguing. Could they be the Dark Sky replacement of my dreams? Would they replace my new beloved weather app, Hello Weather?

Spoilers: No, they aren’t, and they didn’t. I’m still a Hello Weather stan, as the kids say (do they say that?). However, I do like a few very much and will be keeping one or two on my iPhone.

Which ones? Read on!

Here are the apps I’ve considered for this round:

Before we jump in, I’m going to quote myself so you know what I’m looking for in a Dark Sky replacement:

It is important to know what I’m looking for in a weather app, so you can figure out if this blog post will be helpful to you. Here’s what I need in my weather app:

  • An easy-to-read hourly forecast for the day.
  • A little bit of personality, but not too much personality.
  • An attractive design.
  • A reasonable price, and if it is free not too many ads.

WTForecast

Oh, another sassy weather app! The design of WTForecast is fine and places a premium on the conditions as they are right now, along with a funny little text summary of the weather. Actually, the text gets center stage which for some folks is great. I am not one of those folks.

I like the widgets more than the app itself, though not enough to keep the app on my iPhone.

Price: Free, with ads. $1.99 to remove the ads (cheap!) and $.99 to get additional voices.

Weathergraph

Weathergraph’s developer realized that people liked Dark Sky’s linear layout and so they added one of their own! On the left, you’ll see Weathergraph’s default layout and on the right is the new linear “Dark Sky” option. The best part? This layout is available in the free version of the app. The app does, however, remind you fairly often that you can opt-in for “Weathergraph Pro” to unlock more features.

I think Weathergraph is a nice-looking app, but it isn’t for me. While I like the new linear layout, something about it is a little off to me (yes, that’s the worst kind of feedback, but what can I say?). I think it might have to do with the fact that it defaults to showing you multiple days in the line. Sometimes less is more.

However, if you’re in the market for a free app that looks almost exactly like Dark Sky, this is the app for you (CARROT weather also has a linear mode, but you have to pay for the pro version to get it).

The app includes several widgets which get extra features when you spring for Weathergraph Pro. I find them to be almost for me. The interface design is slightly too dense for me.

Price: The app is free, but you can unlock more features with the Pro version at various price points: Yearly – $19.99, Monthly – $3.99, Forever – $59.99, Quarterly – $9.99, Weekly – $1.99.

Weather+

I don’t even know, man. Weather+ seems like an app from another time (it reminds me of Konfabulator if anyone else remembers that). It is a weather widget that floats above a video background reflecting the current conditions. You can change the background to a few free choices and spend some money to get more options. Why would anyone use this app? I have no idea.

Since the app is basically a widget, you’d be forgiven for thinking it includes actual widgets. It does not.

Price: You can get “Premium” Weather+ for $8.49 a year, $5.49 for 6 months, or $1.49 monthly. What do you get? No ads, access to all the background videos, and somewhat inexplicably “premium customer support.”

Wunderground

I’ve always thought of Weather Underground as the hip weather website that the man doesn’t want you to know about. That’s mostly because of the name, I reckon.

The app is fine. It doesn’t include a widget, and while the hourly forecast is just a one-screen scroll away, I don’t feel like it offers enough detail for my needs.

Pricing: Free with ads, which you can remove for $1.99 a year (not too bad!). You can also get more features with WU Premium for either $19.99 a year or $3.99 a month. The App Store listing includes a yearly ad-free in-app purchase but it seems that’s not actually an option in the app!

Weather Strip

Weather Strip is probably the most interesting weather app I’ve come across thus far. It is like the developer said, “What if I made the hourly forecast the entire app?” And then did just that!

The main interface of the app packs in a lot of information in a very small space. And as you can see below, the widgets basically replicate that on your home screen.

One super cool feature is that little funky arrow icon on the map screen. Tap that, and you’ll be taken somewhere with interesting weather. Pretty neat!

This app is a very dense weather data visualization and one that almost knocks the crown off of Hello Weather’s cute little icon in my heart. However, I find it hard to use at a glance. It feels a bit overwhelming, but that’s just me. I really do like it, and I can tell you that it will stay on my iPhone while the other 18 apps will be deleted.

Price: The basic plan, which doesn’t include widgets, will cost you $8.99 a year or $1.99 a month. You can spring for Premium, which includes widgets, for $16.99 a year or $3.99 a month.

Snowflake

I should say that Snowflake’s developer reached out to me and gave me a free copy of the app. Now, I know what you’re going to say, “Isn’t that going to make you like the app, Scott?” It certainly isn’t going to make me not like the app. However, it was given to me with no expectations or strings, so my opinion is still trustworthy.. or at least as trustworthy as it usually is.

I like that the hourly forecast is right there under the current conditions and that it is easy to read. I also really dig the “wordy” summaries of what you should expect for the coming days.

It just feels a little “generic” to me. I want a little more personality in my weather app (though, annoyingly, I don’t want too much of it!).

The widgets are pretty straightforward, which is a good thing for a widget. You want to just glance at the thing and see what’s happening.

Pricing: $4.99 for the app and $4.99 a year for Snowflake Plus or $.99 a month.

Overlook

Another app that just says, “Screw it! Let’s make the whole thing an hourly forecast.” I do like the design of Overlook. It isn’t as overwhelming as Weather Strip, though that means it isn’t as detailed (which is the whole point of the app!).

I do feel like you might be able to squeeze a little more data onto the screen, especially since I’m using this on a giant iPhone Pro Plus.

Overlook only offers small and medium widgets, but they are pretty nice – if minimal.

Price: Something else that is pretty minimal about Overlook is the price: it is free. No ads, and no upsells whatsoever. Why? I don’t know!

Mercury

Now, I’m sure neither developer will like this when I say it, but Mercury feels like Snowflake with some personality. I’m not suggesting that either app has influenced the other but let’s face it – there are only so many ways to present the weather. They highlight similar data points, and Mercury does it with a bit more flair (and I think the name is pretty clever too).

I like the highlighting of current conditions and the iconography on the Hourly and Daily forecast lines. That iconography is carried through to the widgets as well (which you don’t get with the free version, but you can see demo versions which I appreciate).

Sadly, for me, the hourly forecast just isn’t as detailed as I want.

Those are some nice-looking widgets, though.

Price: $1.99 a month, $9.99 a year, or $34.99 for a lifetime.

Conclusion

Hello Weather is still the champion weather app, as far as I’m concerned. However, I’m also going to spring for a copy of Weather Strip because now that my eyes are used to the widget layout, I really do like it.

I expect that this post will generate another handful of apps for me to evaluate, so if you have a favorite weather app that I didn’t cover, let me know in the comments! I should mention that I won’t install Weatherbug on my phone, so if that’s one you like, you’re out of luck!


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