Comparing iPhone weather apps at a glance

Comparing iPhone weather app screens

Comparing 27 iPhone weather app screens

After the Twitter for iPhone app comparison last week, my friend and Iterate podcast co-host Seth Clifford remarked that weather apps were the new hotness when it came to interface playgrounds for iOS designers. So, I jumped into the App Store, downloaded 26 popular weather apps, added Apple's built-in iOS weather app, and grabbed all their screens.

They tend to fall into two main categories -- informationally dense, and informationally minimalist. Some apps put everything, including a forecast for your kitchen sink, right on the main screen so you can soak in as much as you want at a glance. Others hide away everything but the essentials, and either let you dig deeper when you want to, or eschew complexity entirely. What's clear is that there are a ton of different takes. Some use buttons, some use gestures. Some are static, others dynamic. Some try to match weather with mood, others prefer a dashboard look. Some go for a full-on digital look, while others stick to more real-world analogs. In many cases, the diversity is as thoughtful as it is impressive.

Here, in order, from top left to bottom right, are:

  1. iOS 6 Weather (built-in), Today Weather, WeatherNeue
  2. Check the Weather, Weather 2X, Solar
  3. The Weather Channel, Haze, AccuWeather
  4. Weather HD, Partly Cloudy, Weather Live
  5. Weather Underground, Weather Bug, Blue
  6. Dark Sky, eWeather HD, [Daily Weather+](https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/daily-weather?at=10l3Vy&ct=d_im /id528065804?mt=8&at=10l3Vy&ct=d_im)
  7. Pocket Weather Australia, WeatherPro, Fahrenheit (or Celsius)
  8. Degrees Canada, Weather Dial, Thermo
  9. [Weather+](https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/weather?at=10l3Vy&ct=d_im /id403692190?mt=8&at=10l3Vy&ct=d_im), Living Earth, swackett X

Weather app screens

Of course, the weather screen proper is only one aspect of a weather app, and doesn't cover features like radar, videos, etc. Consider this comparison a starting point. For more on the individual apps, check out our weather app review series.

Still, look over the designs above and let me know what you think. Which weather apps do you use, and are they the same ones that appeal to you most in the comparison above? Any of the weather screens attractive enough they encourage you check out an alternative app?

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Comparing iPhone weather apps at a glance

54 Comments

One of the things I really miss about Android Sense UI was the weather widget. Quick, instant at-a-glance weather. Any suggestions?

I iOS a quick pull down of the notif menu, giving you weather, agenda and reminders. On android widgets just did t work for me, especially as it was dificult to find the one that looks an fits it just right..

Look outside, I've never understood the need for everyone to want to put weather on the home screen in a widget or something else. I check the weather once in the morning, maybe at lunch and maybe at night. The good apps have forecasts and those usually don't change in a 12 hour period.

The Weather Channel is hard to beat because well.....It provides accurate weather and forecasting. The design is nice too along with the radar map.

I use fahrenheit, I like I can see the temp in the badge icon. Maybe not as pretty as some but convenient.

You should be able to add cities manually. In the list there will be Canada, and from there a list of cities. It uses Foreca.com for EU. Of course Doppler radar only works for the US. Not sure why it is not working for you.

Weather apps are one of a few genres which most spectacularly highlights an oddly skewed facet of Apple culture, which is the frequent championing of design over truth. The 'truth' varies with app type: for weather apps, it's data. What matters most, and first, is the source of data the app uses. For where I live (Australia), you can immediately strike off most weather apps, regardless of UI/UX design, and however beautiful or minimal they may be, because the data they display can't be relied on. And I'm not raising minor cavils. I live in a large State capital city, and weather apps are often up to 5 degrees off for *current* temperatures. I've ended up with ShiftyJelly's Pocket Weather, which makes odd (OK, a euphemism) design choices, but uses the only data source really worth bothering with here (our marvellous Bureau of Meteorology).

I've repeatedly seen Apple highlight pretty apps with low truth values over others that are more functional or more reliable, but may be a little uglier or lacking in satisfying and frictionless affordances.

My tendency in general has been to defend Apple against charges that their success is largely due to marketing, because that is obviously just false. But the kernel of suspicion that motivates the charge has some genuine force. The culture that has grown around Apple products does often seem to have some disdain (or at least disregard) for truth. I understand this as an inevitable reaction to just how egregiously bad the user experience of mainstream software mostly was before Apple's rise. But there *is* something to the uneasy sense that Apple culture values style overs substance. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but in a very quick look over some of the reviews in the series linked to in this post, I could see no mention of the accuracy or otherwise of the apps reviewed. Shouldn't this be first? Why bother interacting with (or looking at) a weather app that doesn't tell the truth?

Weather apps don't "lie". However they may use info sources that may or may not be accurate for your location. There is a difference. In terms of Apple I think you are being overly harsh in your commentary. Apple will not and should not be responsible for testing weather apps in every corner of the globe. See the madness in that statement?

Not suggesting it, nor that Apple is solely responsible for the dysfunctional aspects of Apple culture. They're a lynchpin, and some of their decisions (particularly on the app store) don't help, but they're not the whole thing by any means.

Imagine a car review that waxed lyrical about colour, styling, steering wheel placement and
dashboard use, but never mentioned anything about fuel economy, safety, or anything about the motor. Analogues of that are common in reviewing iOS apps, and the weather app reviews linked to above (http://www.imore.com/tag/weather-apps) are typical.

(The primary antonym of true/truth is false/falsity, not "lie", btw. Most weather apps display false information about my location, so it's entirely irrelevant what they look like, or how pleasant they are to interact with).

Do you not realize that similar articles are often written about Android apps? In fact, the authors are often the same people. The issue isn't a dysfunctional culture related to a particular device or company. The issue is a dysfunctional culture related to the democratization of opinion and technology and especially the intersection of the two, e.g. "bloggers."

These are 3rd-party weather apps. Choose the one you like best for accuracy. Apple is not perfect but it doesn't promote inaccuracies over substance & beauty that I'm aware of.

But shouldn't reviews help me to make that choice? Isn't that what consumer reviews are generally for? In what other product area would it even occur to a reviewer not to address basic functioning first?

I feel fairly certain that if you were to conduct a 365 day retroactive quality review of the weather services subscribed to by aforementioned weather apps that Rene would be pleased to post the information.

An appropriate review would include the recorded statistics as well as the percentage of deviation for cloud cover, humidity, precipitation, and temperatures (high and low).

I look forward to your report!

So the actual functioning of the app shouldn't even be mentioned in a review, just because a full empirical/scientific analysis isn't feasible? Don't you think the very minimum requirement might reasonably be a mention of the weather data source used.

I've tried about 20 different weather apps. Nearly all of them are *wildly*, not subtly, in error on most days. I choose to inform the developers rather than call them out publicly. Most of them respond to polite and detailed reports with indifference, and then continue false advertising (re accuracy etc). The *point* of journalism is to counterbalance this kind of advertising by exposing truth and facts. Otherwise it's little more than an advertising adjunct.

I thought Dark Sky didn't work outside the US? I can't pull it up in Check The Weather like I used to now that I'm also in Montreal. Or is it just less functional (no push alerts)?

I have always used the default weather app just because of its system level tie-ins and it usually looks the best. It's not always the most reliable, but I can't convince myself to have another app when I already have one that looks fine. Weather Neue would be my second choice however.

I use four all the time. eWeather HD, MyCast, Radar Scope, and Hurricane (HD for the iPad) I have no problems with eWeather HD adding cities. I have Radar Scope on the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro. I like MyCast for a quick check, and keeping track of hourly weather. Hurricane, and Hurricane HD are good in the off season to keep track of winter storms. I wish the Mac had the Hurricane app. The developer has been thinking about it.

i just downloaded degrees and really likening it,and it shows the current temp on the home screen. seems to be accurate just outside of montreal where I'm from.

No love for Atmosphérique Pro? It's probably the most accurate weather app for Canadians, at least from my experience.

I use and like swackett a lot. Easy access to today tomorrow and the radar maps.
And it is different.

They have one called Peepometer which i use on my iPad. you should check that out if you haven't already.

Currently using a combo of Check The Weather and Weather On. I love the look, speed of updates, and integration with Dark Sky precip data that CTW offers. Weather On has very prompt temp badge updates (hourly), and customizable push notifications that deliver daily summary info.

I used to love weather live until they started constantly started pushing pop up ads to me for their other crap apps or constantly asking for a review. I paid for the app I shouldn't have to deal with ads.

I fancy myself a storm chaser, so RadarScope is definitely necessary in my arsenal, but I also LOVE LOVE LOVE DarkSky. Works for snow too!

I personally use both the default, and

Celsius (Farenheit, for you backwards-ass countries), because it shows me the weather, via my launchboard.

Plz add one more: I use "Weather Genie" on daily basis, and have found its interface quite better than the Apple's stock one's.

From the screen-shots above, Weather Nueu, and Weather Dial look intriguing.

Rene,

Can you tell us which one of these weather app include Allergy (Pollen, in particular) data for Canada? Some of those has such feature, but they are restricted to US only (such as WeatherBug)?

The stock app is just fine with me. Clean, easy to read, week at a glance, multiple locations quickly referenced, perfect.

But I'm mostly impressed with your use of "eschew" ;)

I just recently downloaded AccuWeather for iPhone. I paid the extra money to get rid of the ads. But I can't seem to find the sunrise and sunset times anywhere within the app. Does anybody know if they are here and I just can't find them? I've scoured the app pretty well, in addition to searching the online support site. Am I the only sun chasing photography geek around? Okay, not looking for an answer to that question. Just the one about the inclusion/exclusion of sunrise/set times to the accuweather iPhone app.

Renée, Dark Sky is not available in the Canadian App Store. Of course, we Canadians have our ways of getting US app store accounts. Does the app work in Montreal? It seems it may work as long as you are close to the border. I'm in Vancouver.

Wx Alert USA. Not the cleanest interface and can be difficult to navigate through, but its weather alerts are simply the best. It allows you to set the alerts you want to receive and then it runs in the background and will announce an alert at full blast - perfect for setting when you go to bed if you are expecting severe weather overnight.

I also tried maybe all of these apps but I still prefer Apple Native Weather App.

I consider it more "professional" and good-looking

I just found "Haze" and realized most people just want to know if there is going to be a weather change in a simple format. If you are a fan of the list maker, "Clear" then Haze might be what you are looking for. Rather than touting features look into what Haze has to offer. You might just take your other weather apps and put them in a folder while keeping Haze on the front page.

Which of these Apps has clear and specific up-to-date information about weather in your specific area (town)? What I'm actually looking for is information such as "how many inches of snow or rain", "Snow will begin at 8pm and continue until 6am". Similar to what you get from your local weather broadcast. I use WeatherHD and as beautiful as it is, it seems to not contain this information. Or perhaps, I'm missing something.

There apps worth paying for and there are apps NOT paying for. Regardless of the features, I can never justify paying for a WEATHER APP unless you're a meteorologist who needs information on the go.

For me, I use many of the free ad-based weather apps already mentioned with the Weather Channel , Accuweather and the native app being the main three that I typically cross reference with.

My Two favorites are there: WeatherBug & eWeather HD also managed to post the 3rd one I keep around though don't use as much Fahrenheit. Nod to Living Earth and WunderMap to go along with the others on my iPads.

eWeather HD has an impressive amount of information for your iPhone/iPad.
Enjoy all the weather information Amazing Weather HD can provide:

Ten-day weather forecast

Day/night forecast full-text description
Sunset time/Sunrise time
Moonset time/Moonrise time
Moon day, Moon phase
Wind speed/Wind direction
High/Low temperatures
Chance precipitation
Humidity
UV level
Geomagnetic K-Index
Rain/Snow amounts (Foreca provider only)
Weather alerts

Current weather:

Current temperature
Felt temperature ("Feels like")
Dew point/Humidity
Water temperature
Wind speed/Direction

Weather trends:

24-hour air-pressure history
24-hour predicted air pressure (Foreca provider only)
24-hour temperature history
24-hour predicted temperature (Foreca provider only)

Hourly forecast:

Temperature
Felt temperature ("Feels like")
Chance precipitations
Rain/snow amount (Foreca provider only)
UV level
Wind speed/Direction
Geomagnetic activity
Humidity
Dew point (Intellicast provider only)

Earth activity:

Latest 100 earthquakes

Interactive weather maps:

Weather,
High-definition radar,
Satellite cloud cover,
Severe weather alerts,
Water temperatures (Sea surface temperatures),
Earthquakes.