The Best Weather Apps for the iPhone
There are many different reasons why you need to know what the weather is like outside. Whether you need to know what time to leave for work in inclement weather, what to wear outside or anything else, being keen to the weather conditions is important in our lives. It is something we cannot control in the least and something that we need to be prepared for.
Years ago, people relied on the weather channel or a weatherman on the news to give them the information they desire, but now, technology and our smartphones have changed that. You can now access the current weather, forecasts, radar, precipitation and a ton more information pertaining to weather right from your phone or any other device. Most phones and tablets come complete with some kind of weather app pre-loaded, but they are often fairly lackluster. As a result, there have been many other companies and developers that have created their own weather apps.
However, there is one big problem with this fact. If you search the word “weather” in the app store, you will be greeted with an almost endless list of options that all promise to be great and “the best”. So with so many possible apps to trust with your weather needs, how do you choose which weather app is the best and which ones should be avoided? If you are struggling with that choice, this article is for you. In this article, I will go over a ton of different weather apps and offer my best choice, a runner-up and a list of honorable mentions as well, any of which is a good choice.
The winner and my choice as the best weather app out there is none other than Accuweather. Not only is this app extremely simple to use and very comprehensive in terms of what it includes, it is also free. There are some ads that are impossible to ignore as this is a scrolling app, but they really don't interrupt with the flow of the app at all. There is an Accuweather Platinum upgrade for $3.99 which will get rid of the ads, but the free version alone is still outstanding and well worth a download as your primary weather app. This app features just about everything you need to know about what's going on outside and has comprehensive forecast data for millions and millions of different locations.
With so much possible information and data at your fingertips, you might assume the app would be a bit cluttered and hard to read, but that couldn't be further from the truth. As soon as you click on the app and select your city, you are taken to a beautiful page that shows the temperature, over a backdrop of what the weather looks like outside. For example, if it is sunny and clear where you are, the animated background will show a reflection of that. And if you are currently sitting through a snowstorm or thunderstorm, the app will show that too.
But instead of simply offering the temperature on this page, they also offer the "RealFeel". This is a great addition as it gives you a better understanding of how cold or hot it will feel outside. As just a number, the temperature doesn't really matter that much to us, it is more about how we feel, and this feature is amazing for that. For example, some apps might just say that it is 6o degrees outside, but it may actually feel closer to 40. This app will tell you that and you will definitely be thankful for that fact.
On this main page, you will also notice that you can "Check Minutecast". This is a cool feature that allows you to put your address in and see if any precipitation is expected at your location in the next two hours. This is very helpful as many weather apps will simply say that it is raining in your city, but not your exact location. But as we know, some cities are massive and the weather will change throughout it. As a result, it is very good to know what they weather will be like at your exact location at an exact time. When you swipe left on the main page, it also takes you to a page where you can add a number of other locations in case you want to keep tabs on the weather of an upcoming vacation destination or just see how the weather is throughout the world.
However, when you swipe up from the main page is when you truly get to the meat and potatoes of this app, the large amount of customizable information and data. The first thing you will see is the "Looking Ahead" section which gives a brief overview of any major weather happenings in your area over the next few days and an outlook on how the weather will generally be. This gives you a great and simple snapshot of what to expect in the next little while.
Next, you can see more information about the current weather in your city including the humidity, UV index, wind speed and direction, cloud cover and much more. Below that you will see an hourly forecast which will show you the outlook over the next few hours. This section includes the RealFeel, probability of precipitation, as well as most of the information that is included in the "Currently" section. You are then greeted by a "Trending" news section that will include a couple of different news stories and videos that are important in the world of weather.
Keep scrolling down and you can see the daily forecast as well as up to a 15-day forecast as well, which is great for figuring out the best day to hit the beach or stay inside. These forecasts include a ton of information including temperature highs and lows, the possibility of precipitation, cloud cover and a short description of what to expect from the weather throughout the day. And the page concludes with a look at the times the sun and moon phases with a cool little animation to boot as well.
Also, when you're on this page full of information, you can simply swipe to the right which will reveal a highly detailed and constantly updating weather map and radar. This will give you an inside look on if any inclement weather is coming your way shortly in the future, and also allows you to check out the weather across the country with ease. In addition to looking at what weather is coming your way in the future, this page also lets you look in the past in case you want to see what the weather was like overnight or throughout the earlier hours of the day. While this may not be as useful as seeing what weather is coming up, it is always good to be able to go back and see what the weather was doing.
The app also can connect with your calendar and give you notifications of severe weather events such as storms, snow or anything else that could possibly throw a wrench in your daily plans or travel. So if you have a beach day planned, this app will let you know if you should pack extra sunscreen, or stay inside. There is also the option for you to report a weather condition in your area if you spot something interesting, and you may even be featured in the news section of this app if your video is high quality.
The fact that all of that information is available on a completely free app with only a few ads is pretty great. An app of this caliber (even just the free version) could easily cost a couple of dollars and I would still have no problem putting it at the top of the list. If you are looking for a simple yet comprehensive weather app that won't break the bank, this is a fantastic option. As you can see from this entry, there is a ton of things to like about this app and it offers more than enough information to be prepared enough for whatever inclement weather might be coming your way, all in an incredibly simple and beautiful design.
The runner-up for the best weather app out there goes to Weather Underground. Just like our winner for the best weather app, this app is free with the inclusion of ads. But again, the ads aren't terrible enough to skip out on this app. There is an option of paying $2.79 to remove the ads for one year if they are really annoying to you. But just like in Accuweather, I never found the ads annoying enough to get in the way of the great things this app does.
If you are a budding meteorologist or having a ton of different data at your disposal is your thing, this is the app for you. Also, this might just be the best option of all weather apps when it comes to truly localized forecasts. This is because they have nearly 200,000 (and growing) personal weather stations around the globe. This means there is likely one nearby your location that will give accurate local forecasts and weather conditions. This app has the largest such collection of personal weather stations of any app, which is a huge plus. So while some apps may only give one temperature and wind speed for the city, this app will provide numerous different options. In fact, when I used this app, it had a specific station right for my neighborhood, and I don't live in a giant city or neighborhood by any means.
In addition to being great with hyperlocal weather forecasts, this app is also extremely data-heavy. Whether you like your data in graph form or in simple text, this app has you covered. You can see past, present and future data for things like wind speed, precipitation, temperature, UV, pollutants and more. One knock on this app is that forecasts can only be provided for up to 10 days in advance, which is quite a bit shorter than other apps. However, as mentioned, this app is definitely more focused on data, so this really isn't a big deal for those who would primarily use this app. This app also has a layout that can be a tad more overwhelming than our winner, but again, for those who love a ton of crowd-sourced data, this is perfect.
While it's forecasts and current weather detail sections are decent and definitely suitable for most people, the true selling point and the reason why this app is so good is because of the highly detailed and interactive map. This map has a wide array of buttons that can help you see the radar for your area, the temperature over time, a satellite view as well as an option to layer and more.
As you can see from that description alone, this map is much more detailed than the one offered by AccuWeather and other weather apps. You can also quickly zoom in an out to see the weather and conditions from all over the world due to the many personalized weather stations used by this app. Also, with so many weather stations all contributing to this app, you can even see that different areas of the city have a different temperature, wind and more. It is very cool to be able to get such a hyper-local look at the weather, even in a relatively small city or town.
So while the interactive and incredibly detail and data-heavy map/radar/satellite is the main selling point of this app, there are also some other cool things included too. For example, there is a section where you can take a peak and various different webcams from all over your city to give you a great look at the current conditions in different areas at any given time. There is also a "Wunderphotos" section, that shows you various different user-submitted photos of the weather. Wherever you are in the world, you can see photos from places across the globe and get a great look at the kind of weather they are experiencing.
All in all, this is a great choice for your primary weather app is data and precise information at all times is your thing. It may not be as streamlined, simple and well-designed as AccuWeather, but it is definitely worth the number two spot. The interactive map alone is worth the download, so the wide range of other solid features is simply a bonus to those who download it.