Weather apps are an essential part of my daily workflow: I check the weather on my phone every day to help determine what I’ll wear and where I’ll go. If you're like me and looking for more than just your basic temperature and upcoming forecast, there is a wealth of great weather apps out there. In addition to offering things like pinpoint location accuracy, animated radar maps, and detailed minute-by-minute forecasts, today's weather apps are the playground for cutting-edge app design. (Apple even awarded Yahoo Weather its prestigious design award in 2013.) Weather seems like a pretty mundane topic, so it may come as a surprise to some that the best weather apps are fun to play with and pretty to look at.
You can spend days — and a lot of money — looking for the best weather app for your iPhone. We’ve done the hard work, testing out dozens of weather apps, and have found the best weather apps that are both fun to use and functional. It’s okay to love a weather app, just make sure your heart is devoted to one of these.
On Android? Check out our picks for the best weather apps for Android!
Dark Sky is the best paid weather app for iOS. It offers a scarily accurate minute-by-minute predictions for precipitation, and pushes alerts right to the front of your phone. A typical push notification from Dark Sky might say “Light Rain starting in 12 minutes,” which means you have exactly 12 minutes to find cover or grab an umbrella if you want to stay dry.
With Dark Sky, you know exactly when it is going to rain, how hard that rain will be, and how long it will last. The app also has 24 hour and full-week forecasts, as well as animated maps for precipitation and temperature. The interface is simple and attractive, as cool a weather app as you’ll find anywhere.
Dark Sky costs a few dollars more than the average weather app, but it does work on both the iPhone and iPad. And its longer-term forecasts make Dark Sky a complete enough app that it easily functions as the only weather predictor you need. But it earns its price with those short-term predictions, which feel like magic the first time you get them. Once you get that first notification that it’s going to rain in 12 minutes and you get inside just before the downpour, you’ll be thankful you spent the money.
For those looking for a free forecast, Yahoo Weather is the best free option on iOS. It’s one of the prettiest weather apps ever created — and it very clearly inspired Apple’s own default app for iOS 7. Where the built-in app will tell you the current temperature and a basic short term forecast, Yahoo Weather includes advanced data such as wind speed, barometric pressure, and sunrise and sunset times. And it does it all in an attractive, easy to read manner that doesn’t bombard you with confusing numbers and metrics.
Yahoo Weather presents the current weather conditions with images pulled from Flickr, and gives you everything you need in one, vertical scrolling column. It has hourly forecasts, five or ten-day forecasts, and detailed meteorological information for the current conditions. The iPhone version even has animated weather apps, but it lacks alerts for severe weather conditions. It’s not nearly as powerful as Dark Sky, but it’s a great way to quickly find the basic information you’ll need for the day.