The iPhone has a remarkable number of weather app options, and you’ll find a ton that suit different needs depending on what you want. That said, one shines brighter than the rest, and Dark Sky is one of the best full-featured weather apps in the App Store.
Available for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch
Hyperlocal weather forecasts based on your exact location
Minute-to-minute, hour-by-hour, and weekly predictions
Full radar views with smooth animations
Completely customizable push notifications
Today widget to quickly check the weather
Where It Excels
It’s a little hard to justify paying for something as simple as a weather app, but Dark Sky is really worth it. Dark Sky once suffered from a lack of features, but recent updates make it a full-featured weather app that still manages to be simple to use. Open up the app, and your immediately see what matters: current weather and the forecast for the next hour. You can then dig a little deeper to find hourly and weekly forecasts, as well as take a look at the radar for your area. You can set up custom notifications too, so you get alerts when precipitation is likely in the next hour, a daily summary, severe weather alerts, or your own customizable alerts for things like if it’ll drop below freezing or if you’ll need sunscreen.
Where It Falls Short There’s not much to complain about with Dark Sky. Sure, it costs $4, but you get a solid weather app that’s consistently updated and has a bunch of features. Since it does use your exact location, forecasts do get a little wonky sometimes, but it doesn’t happen anymore than any other forecasting tool. It’s also only available in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland, which leaves a lot of potential users out of the loop. The Competition There are a ton of excellent weather apps on the iPhone that suit different needs. Want a full doppler radar? Sure, that’s doable. Prefer something minimal? You have options. Want one that only notifies you about bad weather? Yep, that exists too. All of these are worth checking out to see if they fit your specific needs. If Dark Sky isn’t your thing, Yahoo Weather, our previous pick, is a worthy contender. It has a gorgeous design, large photos that are easy to read, and the basics of radar, satellite, and heat maps. Sadly though, it now has large, annoying ads, which can really get in the way. Likewise, the four big free apps, Accuweather, The Weather Channel, WeatherBug, and Weather Underground are all similar alternatives. All have the same basic feature set as Yahoo Weather, but offer slightly different experiences in terms of interface and coverage. The fact is, different apps might have more accurate forecasts than others for your area, so it’s worth playing around with a few to see which works best for you. Today Weather (1.99¢) may very well be one of the best weather apps around, but it doesn’t get updated as frequently as we’d like. That said, if you like the features of Accuweather, Weather Underground, or the Weather Channel, but hate the ads, then Today Weather is worth a look.
Perfect Weather ($2.99) is another fantastic weather app that features a ton of information if you’re willing to pay for it. Perfect Weather’s big strength is that it loads up fast, gives you a five day forecast, and then provides with all the additional details you could possibly need at a glance. This includes a full satellite image, hour-by-hour temperature, and plenty more. It’s all fast too, so you can get in and out of the app quickly.
If you’re more a fan of minimalist weather apps, you have a few solid options. Blue is a great little app that shows you the forecast for the next day or so in a handy color coded index. Sun is actually a free webapp designed specifically for the iPhone and uses gestures for control. Weather Neue (free) shows simplified current weather and a four-day forecast in a lovely package. Finally, Partly Cloudy might be the prettiest of the bunch by using the visualization of a clock to show you the weather forecast in a surprisingly intuitive way.