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- The best free weather apps tend to offer more features than the basic app on your iPhone or Android.
- Most free weather apps also have paid subscription tiers that add premium features or an ad-free experience.
- Here are five of the best free weather apps that offer a dramatically better set of features than your generic app.
You can get the weather from your phone with the built-in weather app, but third-party apps tend to offer so much more. Not only can you get a quick weather forecast, but some apps can deliver severe weather warnings, radar imagery, and even hour-by-hour precipitation forecasts. Here are five of the best free weather apps for both iPhone and Android phones.
The Weather Channel
You probably already know the Weather Channel (iOS, Android) as a staple of basic cable television. The app is like an extension of that channel on your smartphone, with a wealth of quality content. You get hourly and extended forecasts, radar imagery, and even video clips and other content pulled straight from cable TV. The app also includes sunrise and sunset times, air quality reports, tides times and moon phases, as well as optional weather alerts. While much of the app is free, The Weather Channel app is ad supported. If you prefer, you can subscribe to the premium service for $4.99 per month for ad-free content.
The Weather Channel app includes video clips along with weather data and forecasts.
AccuWeather (iOS, Android) isn’t just a full-featured weather app — it also has a modern, clean interface that makes it a joy to browse for weather updates. The Today tab tells you everything you need to know, like temperature, precipitation and more, in a simple but attractive format, and you can scroll for tons of additional details, including air quality, allergy data, and sunrise/sunset times. You can also get an hour-by-hour weather forecast, radar imaging and a hurricane tracker. You can use AccuWeather for free with ads, or subscribe for the ad-free version for $19.99 per year (there is a free trial as well).
The attractive interface makes Accuweather a joy to use.
Clime: NOAA Weather Radar Live
While you can use Clime (iOS, Android) for free, there are a slew of premium features (and no ads) tucked away behind a $19.99-per-year subscription. If you pay to upgrade, you get hurricane and lightning strike tracking and detailed precipitation forecasts, for example. Even if you sticker with the free version of Clime, you get a lot of weather info. There are one- and seven-day forecasts, severe weather alerts and NOAA’s satellite imagery for a detailed look at precipitation, temperature and other weather data. Beware, though: Perhaps more than any other of these free weather apps, Clime isn’t shy about repeatedly and annoyingly asking you to upgrade to the paid service.
Clime includes severe weather alerts and NOAA satellite imagery.
Perhaps the best reason to use Yahoo Weather (iOS, Android) is its beautiful interface. You can set up weather pages for multiple cities and swipe among them, and each page gets a gorgeous full-screen image that makes the app fun to use. The images are both time-of-day and weather-condition appropriate, so when you’re looking at New York’s weather, the background image will be dark and rainy if you are checking it during an evening rainstorm. Swipe up to see an hourly and 10-day forecast, and keep scrolling for air quality, pollen count, coronavirus data, wind, precipitation, radar imagery, and more.
Each city has its own gorgeous background photo that’s appropriate to the local time and weather.
If you’re looking for some personality with your weather forecast, Carrot Weather (iOS) can dispense a healthy dose of snark. Carrot’s wit is so integral to the app that you can tweak a slider to choose how sarcastic the app will be, from professional to “homicidal” to “overkill,” along with the option to let the app get political and use profanity. Also in the app: You can unlock weather-related achievements and kill time by going on “missions” to find locations on the world map, plus an augmented reality mode that overlays the weather forecast in a view of the world around you. Clearly, Carrot is not your average weather app. Even so, weather prediction it does, pulling data from the excellent Dark Sky service, with seven-day forecasts, infographics, radar and more.
Carrot’s snarky voice and gamification make it a lot more than a standard weather app.
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