Favorite Apps: Dark Sky

People care a lot about weather apps. We know this.

I was using Fahrenheit for a long time before I decided that a dedicated weather app wasn’t worth the home screen real estate. Notification Center’s forecast widget gets the job done just fine.

Plus, I wondered how imperative it was for me to know the weather all the time? Has the forecast ever prevented me from doing what I was going to do anyway, barring a severe snowstorm? Here in New England, we have four distinct seasons, and people have survived for thousands of years without up-to-the-minute forecasts. Just saying.

I haven’t missed Fahrenheit all that much, and Notification Center provides plenty of information when I do need to know the temperature or the forecast.


I’ve been using Dark Sky for several weeks, and it’s incredibly handy.

Dark Sky isn’t your typical weather app. Rather than offer the usual ten-day forecast, it uses GPS and radar to tell you whether or not it’s going to rain in your area. That’s it.

When you open the app, it’ll tell you if it’s raining right now and if it’s going to rain in the next hour. You can also swipe up to see if it’s going to rain in the next three hours, overnight, and the following morning and afternoon. There’s a radar map available too.

You might be asking yourself, as I did, how useful could this possibly be?

The answer, of course, surprises. Here’s why I find it so helpful.

It’s hot in the summertime, and I’m a man who will always roll the windows down instead of putting on the air conditioning in my car. I also compulsively lock my doors and rarely leave my windows open after I park. This is problematic in the summer because my car gets extremely hot with the windows up.

The proper solution is to outfit the vehicle’s windows with weather guards, which allow you to keep the windows cracked even during torrential downpours. I used these on my first car (a 1995 Buick LeSabre), and they work great, but I’ve yet to spend the money to outfit my current vehicle.

My car has a sunroof, and when it’s hot, I often think about leaving it open or cracked. But I fear that a freak summer thunderstorm will strike as soon as I’m away from my car and subsequently soak the interior.

Dark Sky to the rescue. Whenever I park and leave my car for any period of time, I check Dark Sky, which automatically detects my location and tells me if it’s going to rain in the immediate future. If not, I know I can leave my windows cracked safely, which is a boon when the temperature hits triple digits.

In my experience, Dark Sky is remarkably accurate. It rains when the app says it will rain, and it stops raining when the app says it will stop. Literally. Down to the minute. It’s the only dedicated weather app currently on my iPhone, and I recommend it. Try it out this weekend. It comes in handy far more often than you’d think.

For more, read Ben Brooks’ extensive review.

Buy Dark Sky as a universal app for $3.99 on the App Store.

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