I’m a sucker for a great weather app which is why I’m glad I downloaded Dark Sky ($4). It’s unlike any other weather app on my iPhone. In fact, the default screen looks nothing like what I’ve come to expect from weather apps, which I really like.
Hyperlocal weather forecasts
This is a hyperlocal app. This means that it uses your phone’s GPS to give you your specific forecast rather than the forecast for your zip code or town.
I’m blown away by this app’s accuracy. It told me it was going to briefly sprinkle and it did: the sky shed just a few tears and was done in just a few minutes. I’m going to formally say sayonara to any living, breathing weatherman. With this app (which seems to be far, far more accurate) I simply don’t need them.
Useful, accurate weather notifications
One feature I’ve become addicted do is the notifications. Dark Sky can send you an alert shortly before rain or snow starts at your current location. You can change the notification threshold to: any rain, light rain, moderate rain or heavy rain only. You can also choose to turn this feature off, although I don’t know why you’d want to. It seems to be very accurate.
Dark Sky features a simple interface that mostly revolves around quickly filling you in on the temperature and chance of precipitation. As soon as you open it up you see a black circle near the top of the screen that features the current temp in big type. A bit of supporting information sits around the circle: for instance, Dark Sky is telling me that it’s 73 degrees out and rising, mostly cloudy and feels like 73.
I have no problem calling this the best weather app I’ve used to date.
Directly underneath the circle you’ll see a timeline/chart that shows you the chance of precipitation over the next hour. At a glance it’s easy to see whether or not you can expect light rain or heavy showers. It even tells you how far away the closest precipitation is (in my case it’s currently 29 miles to the south).
I’m really digging the minimalistic design of this app. Color is used sparingly and to draw attention to something important. There’s no distractions to get in the way or any supurflous options. It’s simple and straightforward and as of the moment my favorite weather app hands-down.
Design-driven weather map
From the default screen, swiping left or tapping the map icon will bring up the most gorgeous weather-related satellite imagery you’ve ever seen. Again, the apps design shines through with unorthadox and bold color choices for showing either precipitation or temperature animations. There are no ugly green and yellows here.
In addition to being able to hit the play button to watch the weather develop at a preset pace, you can use your finger to scrub along the bottom timeline of the map view—either forwards or backwards—to focus on exactly what you’d like to see. It’s quite fun to zoom out a bit and watch the world’s weather patterns in such a beautiful format.
This map in simple, there’s no doubt about that. It doesn’t have storm paths or warnings or anything like that, but since I’m not a meteorologist I don’t mind.
Simple weather forecasts
I feel like a broken record when I keep using the word simple to describe aspects of this app, but it’s apt. Swiping right from the main screen will bring up a forecast of what you can expect over the next 24 hours. Swiping right from this screen will bring up a forecast for the next 7 days.
On the weekly forecast view, seeing the upcoming highs and lows is really simple. Each day has a weather appropriate icon (rainy, sunny etc.), a chance of precipitation percentage (like 74%) and of course the predicted highs and lows. Clicking on a specific day reveals when you can expect precipitation to fall during the day and gives you a quick description (such as drizzle in the morning).
At first I scoffed at the idea of paying more than $1 for a simple weather app—until I downloaded Dark Sky. It’s precicely the simplicity of the app that makes it well worth it’s asking price. It’s not overloaded and doesn’t try to do too much. What it aims to do it does very well. It’s a stunningly gorgeous weather app I’ll actually use and couldn’t recommend more enthusiasically. I have no problem calling this the best weather app I’ve used to date.