Dark Sky, my weather app of choice for several years, is no more. This is sad, but I’ve done what any sensible person would and downloaded 12 weather apps from the App Store to find a suitable replacement on my iPhone (I don’t really check the weather on my iPad).
Apple Weather is fine, but it isn’t as “glanceable” as Dark Sky was for me. I could open Dark Sky and know what to expect from the day without much faffing about.
This isn’t meant to be an in-depth look at any of these apps but rather a glimpse into how I picked my Dark Sky replacement.
For those in a hurry, I’ve gone with Hello Weather as my weather app of choice. Its design pleases me, I like the widgets, and it tells me exactly what I want to know.
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.
As you can see, all of these attributes are highly subjective, but that’s the way of the world.
Here are the apps I considered:
- (Not Boring) Weather
- CARROT Weather
- Foreca Weather
- Hello Weather
- Hey Weather
- The Weather Channel
- Weather Fit
- Yahoo! Weather
Let’s get to it!
It certainly isn’t boring! This app has a point of view, that’s for sure. It approaches weather as a sort of game with bold graphics and an interesting soundscape. Sadly, all the bells and whistles distract from what I’m looking for: getting the weather at a glance.
The widgets are very striking but the hourly forecast isn’t as detailed as I would like.
Price: The basic functionality is free, and the upsell isn’t very hardcore. There are two levels of “membership” to the (Not Boring) apps: Believer for $14.99 a year and Patron for $69.99 a year. Both levels grant you access to 4 apps, including this one, and a variety of skins and what have you. Honestly, seems a little pricey to me.
AccuWeather is all about the weather right now. The hourly forecast isn’t highlighted, but I’ll tell you what is: the fact that you can sign up for AccuWeather Premium+, which removes the MANY ads in this app.
This is a run-of-the-mill weather app with an above-average propensity to pester you to upgrade.
Price: You get the basics for free; Premium removes the ads for $9 a year (or $.99 a month). You can spring for Premium+ to get alerts for $19.99 a year (or $1.99 a month).
CARROT Weather is probably the best weather app on iOS at the moment. Its gimmick is that it is a weather robot with sass. That sass, however, can be a bit much, so you can adjust just how sassy it should be. And it is clear that the developer (based in Philly!) is trying to stay on top of the latest tech Apple deploys. There are all sorts of neat features in CARROT Weather that you won’t find elsewhere, like an AR view of the weather (not useful to me, but pretty neat), missions, fake ads, and more.
The design is streamlined, and the customization capabilities are impressive. You can even make it look pretty much like Dark Sky.
CARROT Weather has lots of widgets too, but you have to pay to use them (fair enough).
Slam dunk, right? This is the app for Scott! Well, it isn’t. I must admit that while I like opinionated apps (i.e., the developer has a clear idea of how their app should work), my opinions and those of CARROT Weather don’t precisely line up. And to get it to look like Dark Sky, I’d have to pay $30 a year (there’s a discount for Dark Sky users – that’s nice), which feels a bit pricey to me. Maybe I’m just cheap.
Price: Free to access most of the app’s functionality, with the primary exclusion being widgets. Premium for $19.99 a year gets you widgets, Apple Watch complications, and more. For $39.99 a year, you can get Premium Ultra which includes a host of additional features. More info on CARROT’s site.
Clime really focuses on the radar map, which is a feature I rarely use. The weather detail section is rather pedestrian, and the hourly forecast is shown in 3-hour chunks. Not for me.
The widget is pretty nice if you’re hoping for a tiny little weather map (so cute!).
Price: You get the basic functionality for free (with ads). Upgrading to “Pro” gets rid of the ads and allows for additional map features (among other things) for $29.99 a year (or a CRAZY $9.99 a month – honestly, that seems like a ripoff to me and reason in and of itself not to download this app).
I really like Foreca. All the features are available in the free ad-supported version, and the ads aren’t annoying. You can pay to remove them for a pretty low price, which is nice.
Sadly, it takes a couple of taps to get to the hourly forecast for any given day, which is a dealbreaker for me. I do very much like that you can customize what shows up in the hourly forecast. For example, I care more about “how it feels” rather than the actual temperature.
Price: The ad-supported version includes everything. You can remove the ads for $.99 for 3 months or $2.99 a year.
Well, hello, Hello Weather. Sometimes you launch an app, and it just clicks. That’s what happened with me and Hello Weather. I like the little app icon; I like the visual design of it, and while the hourly forecast isn’t as front and center as it was in Dark Sky, I dig it.
Moreover, I really like the large Hello Weather widget. Given this widget, I will hardly even need to open the app itself! And the Lock screen widget is pretty lovely too.
Price: The basics are free, with a little button urging you to pony up. You can get rid of that button and get access to the widgets, icons, Watch complications, and more for $12.99 a year, $1.99 a month, or $44.99 for a lifetime (I seriously considered the lifetime option, but I figured I’d try it for a year before I made such a commitment).
I guess informal greetings to the weather are a thing on the App Store. There’s nothing wrong with Hey Weather, but the hourly forecast isn’t the default view which takes it out of contention for me. I don’t like the design of the hourly forecast either, but I think most folks probably would.
I find the widgets to be information dense in a bad way.
Price: All the basics are free, and if you spring for Premium, you get access to more widgets and some additional features (coming soon). The Premium pricing structure is a bit much: 1 month – $2.99, 3 Months – $5.99, 1 Year – $19.99, Lifetime – $44.99.
As you might be able to guess from the name, MyRadar is an app focused on the radar map. This is something I don’t really care about. I might check out the radar map when we expect some very heavy rain, but that’s very rare.
I actually like the weather detail view in MyRadar, but I don’t want to tap twice to get to what I want to see.
The Premium version does include some aviation features on the radar map, which could be helpful to some folks, but I am not one of those folks.
The widget included for free is pretty basic, but it gets the job done.
Price: As with these apps, most features are free, but if you want the good stuff, you have to shell out some cash. In this case, Premium costs $3.99 a month or $14.99 for a year.
Tomorrow.io has a pretty slick look, and displays all the basic information that you could want. It does make the hourly forecast a secondary consideration, which takes it out of the running for my weather app. However, it does include a very interesting feature: activities. It’ll let you know when the weather is right for particular activities like running. This is such a brilliant idea!
Tomorrow.io’s widgets are very stark, in a good way, and display the information that I’m after nicely.
Price: This app is entirely free, I would image because it looks like the company that makes it sells their weather predicting platform to businesses and this app helps them showcase it. A great deal!
One thing that annoys me about The Weather Channel app is that it is alphabetized under “T.” That’s not the app’s fault, of course, but it really gets my goat.
The app itself is fine. A few more ads than I would like, though you can get rid of them. It wants you to watch videos from the Weather Channel, which isn’t bad if that’s what you’re looking to do. I almost never want to watch a video about the weather when I’m checking the weather on my phone.
I like the Weather Channel’s widgets, especially the medium and large ones. I think they are well-designed and show you what you want to see, and the inclusion of the radar map on the large one makes sense to me.
Price: I bet you’ve figured out that it is free with ads, and if you pay $9.99 a year or $1.99 a month, the ads will be gone! If you want more forecasts and features, you can become a Premium Pro user for $29.99 a year (or $4.99 a month).
Weather Fit’s gimmick is pretty good: it’ll tell you what things to wear based on the weather. This is something that I, personally, suck at doing. Especially during that transitional period between seasons, I never know if I need a jacket, a coat, or a short-sleeved shirt.
There’s a little character who is dressed up for the weather to guide you in the right direction. You can customize the character, but as a fat guy I was disappointed to see that I couldn’t make my character chubby (nor can you make it super slim for my friends at the other end of the Bell curve).
The weather reporting itself is pretty basic, which makes this app a no go for me. I couldn’t test the widgets either since they are part of the premium version, and I didn’t want to sign up for it just to verify the widgets weren’t for me either.
Price: Free with a Premium version (including widgets) for $1.99 a month, $11.99 a year, or $39.99 for a lifetime.
Yahoo! weather is another one of those very well-established weather apps. The app’s main selling point is that it features a picture of the location you’re seeing the weather of sourced from Flickr. I like that a lot, but I think that perhaps a little too much of the screen is taken up by an unobstructed view of said picture, but then again, I just want to see the current weather and the hourly forecast, which is on the first “page” of the app.
I also want to applaud Yahoo! for how they handle ads in the app. They aren’t plastered all over the place but appear as you scroll through the app. You can’t skip them, but if you swipe quickly, you don’t have to see them for too long.
The widgets include the information you’d expect with a local picture, making them a slight cut above the other more generic weather widgets.
Price: Free with ads.
You already know that I decided that Hello Weather works best for me. I’ve been using it happily for a couple of days and don’t regret it!
For Dark Sky fanatics
For those looking for a more direct replacement for Dark Sky and want a lot more bells and whistles, I’d recommend CARROT Weather. It is a great app, just not what I was looking for.
For cheap weather good
The state of weather apps in the App Store is strong, even without Dark Sky. And I hope that as Apple improves the included weather apps those clever iOS developers will stay a few steps ahead.