If you’re a subscriber to the Dark Sky weather app on Android, it’s time to say goodbye. Dark Sky is officially leaving Google Play on July 1, following Apple’s acquisition of the app back in March.
Android users who still have a subscription to Dark Sky will receive a refund when the app shuts down, and the Dark Sky website will remain available to iOS subscribers. Dark Sky is not accepting new customers for its API service, which will continue through the end of 2021, after which Dark Sky’s weather data won’t be available to other app developers.
“Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy,” he said, adding “There is no better place to accomplish these goals than at Apple.”
Dark Sky’s algorithmic, “no meteorologists” approach to forecasts — the New York Times compared it to Moneyball — and slick interface made it seem like the future of weather forecasting, but its accuracy has been contentious. A yearslong study of various weather forecasting services by ForecastWatch determined that Dark Sky was generally less accurate than services like The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, and AccuWeather (Dark Sky didn’t respond to our request for comment).
ForecastWatch founder Eric Floehr told Digital Trends that services that rely on APIs and machine learning are “not usually as good as the forecasts from the large providers,” which pull from hundreds of models and employ armies of meteorologists to interpret the data and adjust predictions.
“If you have an app, ask them where they get their forecasts from or look in the about page and see how they’re getting their forecasts,” Floehr said. “Then dig in and see if they’re a provider that is consistently accurate.”
Android users still have options moving forward. We’ve put together a list of the best weather app alternatives, so you won’t need to turn to divination to decide whether you’ll need a raincoat.
- The Best Dark Sky alternatives for Android
- The best weather apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch
- Weather Channel’s mixed-reality forecasts take TV meteorology to a new level
- Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which one is best for you?
- The best iPhone apps (November 2020)