Being British I have a dangerous obsession with the weather, but I’m sick of the same old weather apps. I know it’s going to rain — but isn’t there a more engaging way of breaking the news?
It turns out there are many unique and creative ways your iPhone can let you know you’ll have to cancel your plans due to possible flash flooding.
Here are six original iPhone apps that each have their own unique way of scratching the meteorological itch.
This app made a rather memorable first impression when it called me a “meatbag”. Yes, my phone was insulting me. Has it never heard of first impressions?
Undeterred, I decided to give the app a chance (few get away with calling me a meatbag). After you’ve granted CARROT permission to use your GPS you’ll see your current temperature, along with the temperatures at various times of the day. I also got an ominous message about assassins, and what looks to be someone throwing up in my prize roses.
It also readily reveals its geek credentials: when you see it, click New Secret Location Available at the top.
You can also time travel, which provides you with information about the weather on a date in the past. However, the data supplied for weather conditions in the future is definitely fake (duh).
So I did a Quantum Leap back to Germany on November 22nd, 1963, and it seems people were flying from the lampposts, while President Kennedy tragically met his untimely end.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable app, which brings its own cheeky brand of fun and geek humour to your phone — and it’s also available on Mac OS X. There are 29 secret locations to unlock, and Mount Doom is just the first. As you use the app more, further locations are unlocked. I wonder where is next? The planet Tattooine? Vulcan? Dundee?
This is also another really neat weather app. As well as weather for your location, Weathercube can also serve up your calendar appointments (though you are recommended that you use another app of theirs to make it work correctly).
The app works on the principle of cubes — simply tap one to get more detailed information. So, looking at the screenshot above, it says 26 degrees celsius. If you press that cube, it gives you the morning temperature, press it again to get the afternoon, again for the evening, and so on. All sorts of information is provided under contextualised cubes, and it’s all very simple and readable at a glance.
You can use your fingers to swipe at the screen, and watch the cube spin round on its axis. Each side of the cube has different information, such as the weather for the next few days, temperatures throughout the day, and amount of rainfall. It’s free, fun to play with, and certainly more hands-on than most weather apps.
This is an interesting and graphically pleasing app that works on the simple premise — is it cold enough that you need a sweater, jacket or coat?
Once you’ve been located you and the app has figured out what temperature it is, it then gives you a snazzy graphic of the kind of clothes you should be wearing, based on the current temperature.
What is also interesting about Swackett is that if you click those nine tiny squares in the bottom right of the screen, it gives you “smart ideas” about what to do today, based on the weather.
You’ll see things like suggestions for sports to play outdoors given the weather, and whether or not it’s nice enough to take the dog for a walk.
NOAA World Radar (Free)
World Radar is for all the data nerds out there who love stats and maps.
After granting the usual permission for tracking your location, the app will display several screens. Here is one where you get detailed information about the weather at the moment where you are, and what you can expect later. Yes, for August, that’s pretty crap weather for me.
Then if you want to dig deeper into that weather stats (you nerd), then you can look at all kinds of spiky graphs which mean something to someone. Just don’t ask me.
The best bit for me is the weather map of your local area. At the bottom is a timeline and a play button — hit play and the rain, wind, and cloud, will move across the map, as it did at that time. So you can see what the weather was like, say an hour ago, and from there, predict based on the wind speed and direction, what the weather will do next.
You can swipe the map to the left, to change the options for the map, including the type of map you want (standard, hybrid, satellite), and the weather conditions you want to track.
Dark Sky ($3.99)
There’s nothing quite like leaving the house only to get caught out in a thunderstorm when you’ve been assured the weather gods are smiling upon you. If this is something you regularly put yourself through, Dark Sky can help you by providing what it calls “hyper-local” weather for your location.
It works best when you’ve got a strong location fix by forecasting the chances of rain or snow up to an hour in advance. What’s even better is that you don’t even need to open the app as weather alerts are delivered via push notification. In addition to this, the app has a widget you can place in your Notification Center, as well as an Apple Watch app too.
Note: Currently Dark Sky is available for locations in the US, UK, and Ireland. Sorry, rest of the world.
Partly Cloudy ($1.99)
Partly Cloudy is for all you infographic lovers out there. It combines easy-on-the-eyes design with just the right amount of weather information that you will need. Typographically the app is beautiful, and you can activate its dark background mode with a $0.99 in-app purchase.
Want to know what the weather will be like on a certain day and time? Just turn the hand on the analog clock face to the correct day and you will be given a forecast for up to 7 days ahead. You can see predicted temperatures, wind force, chance of rain or snow, and overall conditions (raining, sunny, cloudy and so on).
As well as English, the app is also available in German and Japanese.
Meteoearth takes NOAA World Radar a step further, providing budding meteorologists with some interactive maps to pore over. Once you select locations (as many as you like), you can then tap on one of those locations to be given interactive and near-real-time weather maps.
The timeline covers the next 24 hours, and once you have chosen a weather condition at the bottom of the screen, you can hit the play button on the timeline. You will then see that particular weather condition moving across your location (or not, if it isn’t forecasted). You can only choose one at a time though, so no combining rain and cloud cover.
The app also provides access to webcams scattered all over the globe. So as well as seeing the weather, you can now choose a webcam and see for yourself what the weather is like.
“But What About Yahoo Weather?!”
Yes, there are apps which I’m sure are your favorites, that have been left out here. The emphasis here has been on apps which differ slightly from the norm. Yahoo Weather is an accomplished weather app, but it doesn’t really have anything you could call totally unique.
I also haven’t catered to the storm chasing demographic, but we did so back in 2011.
What weather apps do you use on your iPhone?