The weather app is arguably one of the most important apps on the iPhone because it provides simple, yet crucial insight about the day and week. Though Apple’s Weather app has improved over the years through iOS updates, it still lacks the detailed forecasts that third-party apps offer.
One major advantage from several third-party weather apps as of late is the ability to forecast precipitation down to the very minute. For instance, at your current location, the app is able to tell you that it will rain in seven minutes. Perhaps it might forecast that it will snow in three minutes, then stop 40 minutes later. It’s remarkably useful for planning a commute and even an entire day around the weather.
Three prominent apps in the iOS App Store feature this type of detailed forecasting.
Dark Sky is one of the pioneers of accurate forecasting down to the very minute. It got its start on Kickstarter in 2012 after raising just shy of $40,000. Years later, it’s become a highly successful weather app with mountains of praise for its accuracy and precision.
The spotlight feature of Dark Sky is its one-hour forecast in which it predicts precipitation for a given location in the next hour. It displays on a visual graph the amount of precipitation by each minute and also bluntly explains how many minutes it will take to arrive and how long it might last. In my experience, it’s almost always accurate. Judging by the reviews in the App Store, my experience is not unique.
In addition to the one-hour forecast, Dark Sky also provides a slightly more general look at the precipitation over the next 24 hours as well as a full seven-day forecast. The app also includes essentials like wind and temperature. Even more impressive in the seven-day forecast is the breakdown of precipitation throughout each day, even seven days in the future. It even predicts snow amounts a week ahead.
Dark Sky is $3.99 for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.
Carrot Weather is a new member of the Carrot family of apps. It features the always sassy Carrot bot delivering the forecast in a very intuitive design along with a humorous remark or two about the day. You’ll always get a chuckle whenever you check Carrot for the weather.
Much of the navigation throughout the app is very gesture-based. To switch between hourly, daily, and weekly forecasts, swipe left and right on the screen. Swipe up to reveal a more detailed layout of the current weather, plus hourly and weekly predictions. Carrot Weather also depicts the current conditions in the background much like Apple’s Weather app does. The hourly and daily forecasts include the minute-by-minute forecasting, similar to Dark Sky.
Carrot Weather is currently on sale for $2.99 in the App Store and supports iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
Weather Nerd is the newest app of the three on the iOS App Store. It’s geared toward power users who don’t want to miss out on a single minuscule morsel of the forecast.
Of the three, Weather Nerd stands out from the other two a bit more due to its unique approach. Rather than the standard hourly, daily and weekly forecasts, Weather Nerd breaks the forecast down into five categories: the hour, today, tomorrow, the week, and a calendar view. The latter can travel back in time to display past forecasts or forward to predict a forecast based on “historic averages.”
Even more, the app provides specifics for wind, moon phase, sunrise, and sunset. In fact, the wind throughout the day has its own subtle place on the combined temperature and precipitation graph. If you tap Nerd Out you’re taken to a web page with even more so-called nerdy statistics for the day.
Weather Nerd is on sale for $3.99 for iPhone and iPad. It does not currently support the Apple Watch, unlike the aforementioned two apps.
Note: Carrot Weather and Weather Nerd are powered by data from Dark Sky’s Forecast API. This means that their forecasts should be identical to each other since they draw from the same source. The discernible differences between the apps are the individual designs and the breadth of forecast details each offers – some more than others.