- 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 significantly better features than your generic app.
The built-in Weather app lets you get the weather from your phone, but third-party apps usually offer so much more. Not only can you get a quick weather forecast, but some apps can provide severe weather alerts, radar images, and even hourly precipitation forecasts. Here are five of the best free weather apps for iPhone and Android phones.
The Weather Channel
You probably already know the weather channel (iOS, Android) as a staple of plain cable TV. The app is like an extension of this channel on your smartphone with a wealth of quality content. Get hourly and extended forecasts, radar images, and even video clips and other content straight from cable TV. The app also includes sunrise and sunset times, air quality reports, tides and moon phases, and 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 ad-free content for $4.99 per month.
AccuWeather (iOS, Android) isn’t just a full-featured weather app — it also has a modern, clean interface that makes checking for weather updates a pleasure. The Today tab shows you everything you need to know, like temperature, rainfall and more, in a simple yet attractive format, and you can scroll down for tons of additional details, including air quality, allergy data and sunrise/sunset times. You can also get hourly weather forecast, radar images and hurricane tracker. You can use AccuWeather for free with ads or subscribe to the ad-free version for $19.99 per year (there is also a free trial).
Climate: NOAA Weather Radar Live
While you can use Clime (iOS, Android) for free, there are a number of premium features (and no ads) hidden behind a $19.99 per year subscription. For example, if you pay to upgrade you get hurricane and lightning tracking and detailed precipitation forecasts. Even sticking with the free version of Clime gives you a lot of weather information. There are one- and seven-day forecasts, severe weather alerts, and NOAA satellite imagery for a detailed look at precipitation, temperature, and other weather data. But beware: perhaps more than any other of these free weather apps, Clime isn’t afraid to repeatedly and angrily ask you to switch to the paid service.
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 between them, and each page gets a beautiful full-screen image that makes the app fun to use. The images are appropriate to both the time of day and the weather conditions. So when you look at the weather in New York, the wallpaper is dark and rainy if you check 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 images and more.
If you’re looking for some personality in your weather forecast, Carrot Weather (iOS) can deliver a healthy dose of Snark. Carrot’s joke is so important to the app that you can adjust a slider to choose how sarcastic you want the app to be, from professional to homicidal to over-the-top, along with the option to let the app get political and to use obscenities. Also in the app: you can unlock weather-related achievements and kill time by going to “Missions” to find locations on the world map, as well as an augmented reality mode that turns the weather forecast into a view of the world around you fades in. Carrot is clearly not your average weather app. Despite this, the weather forecast works by pulling data from the excellent Dark Sky service with 7-day forecasts, infographics, radar and more.