Weather apps for iOS are seriously a dime a dozen. Less than a year ago, I went through every app I could find, and picked the 4 best ones of the lot. But there’s one app that wasn’t around back then, and this one could easily take the crown for best weather app for iOS, or at least for the iPad.
I’m talking about AccuWeather, an extensive free weather app available for iPad, iPhone, and even Android. While the app itself is multi-platform, I tested it only on the iPad, and was thoroughly impressed.
AccuWeather is a beautifully designed one stop shop for short-term and long-term local forecasts, weather updates from anywhere in the world, synoptic maps, weather-related news and much more. With its free price tag, it’s probably the last weather app you’re ever going to need.
Hourly Weather At Your Fingertips
The first time you run AccuWeather, it will ask to use your current location. Once you grant that request, AccuWeather will immediately load it’s beautiful main page, all set up for where you are right now. In the app’s menu, it’s referred to as the “Currently” tab, and this is what it looks like:
As you can see, the main page give you the weather for right now, as well as an overlook for the next few hours. At a glance, you can see everything from temperature and rain conditions, to wind speed, humidity and cloud cover. Tap on any of the tabs above the hourly temperature squares to find out how the current weather fits different sports and outdoor activities, and what health risks it could present.
Want to take a peek at the weather tonight? No problem. Simply slide the hourly tab towards the right side of the screen to browse through the day’s hours. The app’s graphics also change accordingly, which is a nice touch.
By tapping the menu icon on the bottom right corner, you can navigate between AccuWeather’s different tabs. Tap on “Forecast” to find a detailed 15-day forecast, which you can also browse back and forth by sliding the sun and moon icons at the top.
While it is ad-supported, the free version doesn’t limit the amount of locations you can add. Tap the small arrow next your location’s name to add more locations to your list. The interface is very intuitive, and by using a name or a zip code, you can add any city or town on earth.
Once you have your list, you can check out the weather anywhere you wish with just two taps.
Maps And News
If you’re serious about the weather, and want to see more than just forecasts, check out the “Maps”, “News”, “Video” and “Hurricane” tabs. In the maps tab you’ll find a world map, complete with an animated and colorful cloud cover layer. You can zoom in and out, switch between different radars, and even add your device’s contacts to the map.
Browse the news and video tabs for the latest local weather updates from the location you’re currently looking at. Sometimes, such as when a hurricane is imminent, you might find important news updates that are not specifically related to your location.
Speaking of hurricanes, check out the hurricane tab to find any currently active storms marked on a world map. For example, while writing this post, tropical storm Isaac was picking up speed in the Gulf of Mexico. Through AccuWeather, I could see its current location, along with wind speeds and other relevant information.
Customizable to the End
The fun thing about AccuWeather is that not only is it very detailed and very well designed, it’s also pretty customizable. Access the Settings tab and decide how you’d like to see your weather. You can change the app’s appearance, control every unit used in the forecast, and even connect the app with your calendar, to get up-to-date notifications about the weather and your upcoming events.
Want to share the forecast with someone? That’s also easy. Through the share button at the button, you can send a screenshot of what you’re seeing right now through email, Facebook or Twitter.
Weather apps are especially hard to make. Different people want different amounts of data, and many apps fail by being either too simple or too complex. AccuWeather manages to present both an easy-to-use and beautiful interface, and the ability to choose how many details you want to get. Want to see only temperatures and rain? The rest is very easy to ignore. Want to see more? It’s right there, waiting to be explored. In my book, this is a true win for a weather app.
Tell us in the comments about your favorite weather apps, and what makes them the best of the lot!