Weather forecast

The Best Weather Apps for iPhone

By Austin Meadows iOSNo Comments

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Whether you’re a weather nerd looking to analyze an upcoming storm system or just someone hoping to avoid getting caught in the rain, your iPhone has the skills for the job. From detailed forecasts to real-time alerts, our smartphones keep us more informed about the weather than ever before. 

While Apple’s default weather app gets the job done, there are far better options on the App Store. Most are free for basic functions, with some offering premium subscriptions for extra features.

Based on user-friendliness, features, forecast accuracy, and cost, these are our picks for the best weather apps for iPhone and iPad right now.

The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel

There’s plenty of competition for the title of best free weather app for iPhone, but the Weather Channel’s Weather makes a strong case. It offers 15-day forecasts, live Doppler radar maps, weather alerts, storm trackers, and plenty more, all without charge.

The app has a handful of features that help set it apart from the competition. You’ll get sunrise and sunset times and pollen and allergen forecasts, for instance, along with air quality data and a live hurricane/storm tracker.

The app is fully Dark Mode-compatible, and on devices running iOS 14 or later, you’ll get the option of using homepage widgets that provide a quick overview of the weather without opening the app at all. 

The Weather Channel is the world’s leading weather provider, but more importantly, it’s also the most accurate, at least according to a ForecastWatch study (pdf). This means that forecasts will be consistently accurate, whether you’re viewing local details, national storm trackers, or the likelihood of sunshine on an upcoming vacation. 

This app is free and ad-supported. There is also an optional premium plan which removes those ads, and adds advanced radar and 15-minute forecast details. Premium costs $4.99 per month, or $29.99 per year. 

WeatherBug

Weatherbug

WeatherBug is a popular free iPhone weather app that pulls data from 10,000+ professional-grade weather stations to generate accurate forecasts at over 2.6 million locations worldwide. It supports Apple Watch, so you can get live forecasts and weather alerts to your wrist, and has homepage widgets for iOS devices. 

This app has all the standard features you’d expect: current conditions, hourly and 10-day forecasts, severe weather alerts, rain radar, and more. It also has unique aspects like “lifestyle forecasts” to see how the weather will affect your workouts, trips, and allergies, etc.

What really sets WeatherBug apart, however, is its selection of interactive weather maps. The app has 18 different maps that are updated in real time, including Doppler radar (North America), wind, temperature, lightning, pressure, humidity, and more. If you prefer visual data to text, WeatherBug is the way to go. 

WeatherBug is free, and ad-supported. You can pay $0.99 per month ($9.99/year) to remove the ads. 

CARROT Weather

Want your weather served up with a heaping side of snarky sarcasm? Look no further than CARROT Weather

The backbone of the CARROT Weather app is its personality-driven forecasting. The app’s artificial intelligence “weather robot” will deliver your daily forecasts in snarky, profanity-laden terms that will have you belly laughing as you put on your rain jacket.

If you’d rather not have your weather app cursing at you, you can change the snark level. Five preprogrammed weather personalities range from “professional” to “overkill,” with the swearing dialed up or down as (in)appropriate.

You can also record your own TV news-style weather reports to share with friends, mess around with augmented reality features, and unlock achievements by experiencing weather events and traveling the world. There’s plenty to explore with CARROT Weather, alongside all the standard reporting and forecasting features you’d expect. 

In short, CARROT Weather is an app that makes weather genuinely fun. If this sounds like a tall order, well, it is–and yet the app’s developers have achieved just that. 

CARROT is free and ad-supported. There are three tiers of optional premium subscriptions available, starting at $4.99 per month or $19.99 per year. These remove ads, and add everything from extra weather sources and Apple Watch support to alerts, widgets, full customization, and more.

RadarScope

RadarScope is the best weather radar app for iPhone. It’s packed with advanced features, backed by Nexrad Level 3 information from radar stations across the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere, and data from several international weather agencies.

RadarScope is primarily aimed at weather enthusiasts and amateur meteorologists. It’s a highly visual app, with detailed radar maps that can be fine-tuned to display reflectivity, velocity, and more. For weather nerds, few apps deliver as much data and or as many customization options as RadarScope. 

To be honest, the app is overkill for simply checking the weather. Instead, it’s best used for those who are genuinely interested in meteorology and the tracking of weather patterns and storms. 

The app costs $10 and is ad-free. Optional Premium plans (starting from $9.99/month) expand the app’s functionality even further, with real-time lightning data, storm and hail size information, a 30-day radar data archive, and plenty more on offer.

Clime: NOAA Weather Radar Live

If you’re not enough of a data enthusiast to splash out on Radarscope, take a look at Clime: NOAA Weather Radar Live instead. Aimed at the general public, it’s the best free weather radar app for iOS, providing accurate, high-res maps to help track the path of weather systems in real-time.

The app pulls live data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and displays temperature, precipitation and more in a simple visual map view. As well as standard forecasts, you’ll also get weather alerts, snow depth information, and cloud cover information with a couple of taps.

While the basics are free, some of the app’s best features are reserved for its premium subscription. Costing $9.99/month or $19.99 per year, you’ll get everything from hurricane, lightning, and wildfire trackers to the air quality index and “RainScope,” a minute-by-minute precipitation forecast.

Weather on the Way: Road Trip

Weather on the Way

Planning a road trip? Weather on the Way should be your next app download. This unique weather app lets you plug in your origin and destination, and it will provide weather information along your entire route. 

The app intelligently forecasts the weather in each stop at the time it estimates you will be there. It can also be used to evaluate multiple routes, picking the one with the best weather or the lowest chance of weather-related delays. Think of it as the love child of Google Maps and your favorite weather app. 

Instead of clunkily checking the weather for each city along the way, this app gives you a quick overview of what you can expect on your entire road trip. It’s especially useful for winter driving, when knowing weather conditions and precipitation forecasts for mountain passes is vital. 

Weather on the Way works in 70+ countries, is free to download, and doesn’t have ads. You get premium features like alternate route suggestions and recommended departure times for the first five trips, after which you can revert to the free version or subscribe to PRO for $2.99 per month or $16.99/year. 

IQAir AirVisual

It used to be that we just checked the temperature and precipitation forecasts before heading out. Nowadays, with wildfire smoke and pollution worse than ever, it pays to also check the air quality—and IQAir AirVisual is a great way to do just that. 

This app provides an easy way to monitor air quality levels in your local area, as well as global measurements. It provides AQI (Air Quality Index) ratings for your immediate area, air quality forecasts, and detailed air quality maps along with wind pattern data.

The app also provides basic weather forecasting, although its focus is definitely on air pollution and smoke. We’d recommend using it in combination with one of the other apps on this list, rather than relying on it as an all-in-one solution.

Usefully, you can also pair the app with one of the company’s indoor air quality monitors (sold separately) to analyze indoor air quality, and compare it to the air outside. This app is free to download, with no ads. All features are included: there are no premium subscriptions. 

Yahoo Weather

Yahoo Weather

Yahoo Weather is a simple yet popular app that combines beautiful imagery and solid weather data. The app displays pictures of your current location that match the current weather conditions.

Users in San Francisco on a rainy day may see an image of the Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in fog, for example. Stunning high-res images, particularly for major cities, make opening the app a treat.

You’ll get hourly, 5-day, and 10-day forecasts, as well as air quality information, radar and satellite maps, and more. Other apps certainly offer more data, but for an uncluttered, strikingly beautiful glance at the day’s weather, this is a good option.

Yahoo Weather is free and is ad-supported. There are no premium options available. 

AccuWeather: Weather Alerts

AccuWeather is a deceptively simple app for iOS that delivers accurate weather forecasts and detailed radar maps. While it appears relatively basic on the surface, unique features like MinuteCast help it stand out from a crowded pack.

This provides hyper-local, minute-by-minute predictions of the weather over the next two hours, so you can time your errands around the rain or snow. It also has live weather alerts and storm warning features. 

Unusually, AccuWeather also provides very long-term weather outlooks, with predictions for up to 45 days out, and the app offers weather data for more than three million locations worldwide. You can also watch weather highlights and forecast videos from AccuWeather’s news team. 

AccuWeather is free, and ad-supported. For 99c per month or $8.99 per year, a premium subscription removes the advertisements.


Main image via Shutterstock, other images via respective developers

About the Author
Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows

Austin is a digital nomad with a passion for exploring alternative lifestyles and testing the latest technological innovations. Rarely under the same roof for long, when he's not sampling wine and cheese in Bulgaria or downloading the latest travel app, you can find him running, gaming, or cooking up something delicious.

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