The Ultimate iPhone Weather App Smackdown

Weather apps. They are often compared. Sometimes reviled, sometimes praised. It seems as if everybody’s trying to find an alternative to the stock iOS Weather app. But why?

Well, the stock app (while free) does not have a ton of features, and some people simply want to get more out of their weather app. That said, it’s really no different then people trying to find different calendar apps to offset the stock app or a different note taking app to offset the stock app. But I found that weather apps are different.

In this post I’m going to compare several of the top contending weather apps in the iTunes store. I’m going to compare them to the stock weather app as well. Hopefully by the end of the piece, you will find that I have spared you the pain of searching for the perfect weather app that meets your needs.

WeatherNeue

WeatherNeue

The most minimal of weather apps, WeatherNeue(free) is for the user who just wants to know what it is like where they are. It grabs your location upon startup, then it gives you the current conditions and a four-day forecast of that location. No more, no less. All you’ll find in this app is the local temperature, sky conditions, humidity, wind speed/direction, and the four-day forecast.

But for some people, that’s all they want.

S°lar

 

S°lar

Ben Brooks, who has reviewed more weather apps than I can event think of, really loves this app. He describes S°lar($1.99) as “the Clear of weather apps” and he’s spot on.

The app itself is beautiful to look at, and offers some amazing swiping features that allow you to see a forecast of what to expect over the next 24 hours by pulling your finger up the screen, and you can also see how the weather will look over the next three days by just swiping down on the screen. A double tap brings up any of the locations you’ve stored in the app, and you can even activate a feature that tells you what it “feels like” outside.As a Canadian, I really appreciate the ability to view temperatures in Celsius, and you can also share to Facebook and Twitter if you’d like.

I don’t need much more than what S°lar offers in a weather app, so it’s found a spot on my home screen. If you’re into a more fully functional minimal weather app, than give S°lar a look.

Partly Cloudy

 

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy($1.99) isn’t just a complete weather app experience, it’s also a very unique one. The clock visualization within the app offers you an array of information for multiple locations.

You’ll be able to see temperature, wind force, amount of precipitation, and more right from the eye-catching main view. It has a minimalistic look and feel to it and yet provides a plethora of information. You can look as far ahead as 7 days when checking out weather forecasts just by running your finger on the screen ahead in time.

Partly Cloudy is a great choice for those who want to have all of the weather information at their fingertips – and yet not get overwhelmed by it at the same time.

Sky Motion

Sky Motion

I remember sitting outside waiting for fireworks and there was the faint smell of forthcoming rain in the air. So I opened up Sky Motion(free) and wanted to see how much longer I had before I’d get dumped on. That’s what it does best.

It uses a combination of geolocation, radar, and motion tracking tools, as well as “other technology borrowed from the computer graphic and video game industry” to forecast all sorts of precipitation. So while it might not be the perfect weather app on its own, it is a nice weather companion app that could work alongside the stock Weather app or one of the ones mentioned above. After all, if you live in the Pacific Northwest (as I do) you never know when rain is going to strike.

Dark Sky

Dark Sky

Similar to Sky Motion in many ways, Dark Sky($3.99) also focuses on whether or not rain is in the forecast – and when. It has a pretty unique user interface, where you see a timeline with a graph of the precipitation over the next hour and below it explains current conditions and “predicts” what the next hour will bring. Much like with S°lar, you can swipe your finger to see what is coming up over the next few hours and the radar view it offers is stunning.

Again, this may not be a standalone app if you’re looking for a complete outlook of the weather in your area (or in other areas, although Dark Sky can search other areas other than your current location). But it can act as a nice complement to an app that does have a more generalized approach to the weather. But it is a pricey complement, so bear that in mind.

I use S°lar and Sky Motion as my weather apps of choice, but there are plenty of reasons to go with any of the ones mentioned above. Think I’ve missed one worth mentioning? Let me – and our readers — know in the comments.

Photo credit: Cliff (CC BY 2.0)

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  • http://trishussey.com Tris Hussey

    I can’t believe you didn’t like Weather Live! While, yes, Partly Cloudy was my favorite on my iPhone for a long time, but wow I think the UI of Weather Live just is gorgeous.

    https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/weather-live/id464770748?mt=8

    • http://mikevardy.com/ Mike Vardy

      I hear you. But “ultimate” to me doesn’t necessarily mean incredibly customizable. I like simple, and I didn’t really feel that way about Weather Live. I like clean, and I felt that S°lar has that in spades.

  • Trisha P

    sky motion is an awesome app. Neue is not bad either but can’t beat the fact that SM tells you when it rains!!!

  • Kiwiholden

    You left out the single most important thing, where the stats are coming from!
    I don’t use the stock app or widget because it is always wrong.
    I feel like yahoo just makes educated guesses from the US.
    I use pocket weather AU (no good out side aus)
    But it gets its stats straight from the aus Bureau meteorology so I know it is as close as anyone can get also it has everything I need

    • Kiwiholden

      I’m yet to see any app that comes close to the amazing features in the one I use.
      I don’t have time to list them but yeh

      https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/pocket-weather-australia/id546266910?mt=8

    • Richard Harris

      Don’t forget the weather tweaks for jailbroken iPhones. Australian BOM Weather+ gets Austrlaian BOM weather information in notification center and the stock weather app, UK weather does the same thing with UK’s Met Office weather information.

      Also Wake With Weather is a good way to get your weather, it gets Siri to read out weather information after your alarm goes off in the morning.

  • Cookie

    Being Canadian, you should check out Atmosphérique – it draws its Canadian weather data from Environment Canada. Swipe sideways to go to other locations, swipe down to see first a detailed 5-day forcast, then again for an hour-by-hour forecast of the next 24 hours, starting at the current time. The home screen shows an abbreviated 5-day forecast as well as important “Canadian” information including windchill and sunrise/sunset. It bumped all the other weather apps off my home screen.

    • http://trishussey.com Tris Hussey

      There’s also Weather Office that pulls environment Canada data as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/THExREALxTACO Jeremy Taco Patterson

    No love for WeatherBug? It’s not visually striking by any stretch of the imagination, but it offers a TON of info, as well as accessing any local live-cam feeds for viewing right within the app.

  • http://twitter.com/JMOBILEHITE352 JAN J*MOBILE E. HITE

    ACCU-WEATHER APP **FREE** gives You up to LOCALES & 4 DAY WEATHER SOUND EFFECTS & MOTION **ANDROIDPHONE** Mine Came with PHONE. I hope iOS6 had it available.

    • http://twitter.com/JMOBILEHITE352 JAN J*MOBILE E. HITE

      16 LOCALES,I forgot to mention.