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The best weather apps for iPhone

Forget the weatherman: These are the best weather apps for iOS

Your local weatherman is always the best person to tell you what the weather’s going to be like, but what happens when you’re on the road, away from home, or can’t get to the TV? That’s where weather apps come in. Apps are a great way to get the latest forecast any time you need it.

More: Forget your forecast app and let these weather stations put your smartphone to shame

Don’t just head to the App Store and start downloading away, though. There are a lot of options when it comes to weather apps, and not all of them are created equal. While just about all of the apps you can find will be able to tell you what the weather’s like and what the forecast is, only a select few do it in a way that we think is top notch.

Our list below looks at six of the best apps on the platform that won’t leave you out in the rain or the cold, and why they should be the next apps installed on your iPhone. We’ll also tell you why we think they’re special and rise above the rest. Without further ado, here’s our list.

Dark Sky ($4)

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Dark Sky gets our top pick for the best weather app out there. Yes, it’s $4 and not free like most of our other picks — but if you’re serious about tracking the weather, it doesn’t get much better than this. Where Dark Sky shines is in its visualizations and minute-by-minute predictions.

You’ll be able to get minute-by-minute forecasts up to an hour in advance and by hourly increments for the next seven days. The app’s simple interface shows you the weather conditions and expected temperatures, and it will even send you notifications before it starts raining or snowing, so you’re not caught by surprise. There’s also an app for Apple Watch that gives you much of the basic functionality without having to check your iPhone.

What we really like is the visualizations. They’re smooth and elegant, which is something you don’t find on most other weather apps. We haven’t seen another weather app do maps quite like Dark Sky does, so it’s really in a class of its own. Without ads in the way, it’s even better — and it’s a one-time fee, which is nice since many other premium weather apps use a subscription-based model.

Download now from:

iTunes

AccuWeather

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AccuWeather gets high marks from us not only for its simplicity but also for its comprehensiveness. While Dark Sky is no-frills, just about any kind of weather information you’d need is at your fingertips here. Minute-by-minute forecasts are available for up to two hours in advance, which is better than Dark Sky, but you’ll only be able to get hourly conditions out to 72 hours versus the seven days Dark Sky allows.

Other features set it apart from the others, though. You’ll get information on allergies, sunrise and sunset information, as well as current weather news and videos. You can also send in your own weather reports and videos. AccuWeather might feature your videos in its news reports.

Overall, we’ve found AccuWeather’s MinuteCast to be nearly as good as Dark Sky, although it does lack the notification features of its competitor.

Download now from:

iTunes

RadarScope ($10 plus $10 a year optional subscription)

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Our next app doesn’t tell you the temperature, nor is it going to give you a forecast. In fact, RadarScope is pretty one-dimensional when it comes to weather apps. It shows you the radar and that’s it, but you cannot get a better radar app from anyone else. At $10 a year, it’s one of the higher priced apps, but it’s worth it.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, storm chaser, or even somebody that just likes up-to-the-minute weather info, this is your app. Radars refresh every six minutes, and storm warnings are placed on top of the radar images as well. You’ll also have access to other radar products, such as velocity, precipitation estimates, and nearly a dozen other products, none of which are available through your standard weather app.

While it’s an additional expense, we recommend subscribing to RadarScope Pro. You’ll get the capability to add lightning data, dual-pane radar data (to view two radars at once), and loop up to 20 frames (two hours of data). It’s $10/year, but this app is a must-have for those most affected by storms and rain.

Download now from:

iTunes

The Weather Channel

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How could The Weather Channel’s app not make our list? It’s free, comprehensive, and has just about everything you need to keep an eye on the sky. The app will automatically change based on your current location and provides current weather plus hourly weather out two days and forecasts up to fifteen days in advance.

In addition, you can set the app to automatically notify you of severe weather alerts, as well as watch exclusive web content and videos recorded from the Weather Channel’s television broadcasts. If you’re up early — check the app from 6-11 a.m. for “The Lift,” an app-first six-minute weather show detailing the day’s weather nationwide.

Allergy sufferers will find the app useful and so will outdoor enthusiasts. The app will tell you whether the weather’s right for a variety of outdoor activities, which change based on the seasons. Its weather maps are also fast updating, and while not as good as RadarScope Pro, lightning data is available, too. You can even eliminate ads for one year for $4.

Download now from:

iTunes

Weather Underground

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If you’re a fan of hyperlocal data, then The Weather Underground is it. The service (now owned by The Weather Channel) is the web’s largest repository of online personal weather stations, meaning you’re likely never too far away from a local weather report.

In addition to local weather data, The Weather Underground’s app is pretty data-heavy. Presented in both text and graphical form, you can find data — both current and historical — on temperature, wind speed, daily rainfall, and even data on pollutants and current UV index. Forecasts are provided only ten days in advance, a bit shorter than other apps and its parent The Weather Channel, but like we said, the focus is on data here.

We’re also fans of the webcam section, which gives you a photo look at what’s going on, and “Wunderphotos,” its crowd-sourced photo feature. Snap a photo yourself, and it might be featured on the app for others to see. Data nerds, you need to download this app right away.

Download now from:

iTunes

Yahoo Weather

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We finish our list of the best iPhone weather apps with one that takes the award for most innovative design. Yahoo Weather feels to us like a iOS Weather app on steroids. Weather always wowed us with its innovative animations, but Yahoo Weather takes it a step further.

Since Yahoo owns Flickr, it has access to a wide repository of stunning photography. Yahoo Weather takes advantage of this and animates weather conditions, such as clouds, rain, storms, and snow on top of a photograph, which also varies based on the time of day. But don’t think the animations are just the only thing that makes this app special.

You’ll still get 10-day forecasts, weather information that automatically updates based on your location, and access to weather maps, all with beautiful animations and a smoothness of speed that is best in class. It almost feels like this should be the default iOS Weather app because it makes Apple’s version feel so basic in comparison. Give it a try.

Download now from:

iTunes