The Dark Sky Weather App Is Gone, But You Still Have Plenty of Options

Apple’s offering is probably all you need

  • Apple purchased the Dark Sky weather app in 2020 and has finally shut it down. 
  • Most of Dark Sky’s features have made it into Apple’s own weather app. 
  • Carrot Weather and Hello Weather are probably the best alternatives.
Closeup on someone holding an iPhone with the Weather app open.

Unsplash / Mockup Photos

Apple has shut down the much-loved Dark Sky weather app, but you won't miss it for long. 

When Apple bought Dark Sky, it immediately started shutting down third-party access to its unique weather data. That was, after all, the most likely reason it bought the app and service. Apple delayed the final shutdown and the removal of the Dark Sky app for an extra year, but now, as of January 1, 2023, it's over. And while Apple has included some of Dark Sky's features in its own much-improved weather app, some users will be missing it. We are here to help. 

"When Dark Sky first launched, its biggest selling point was its minute-accurate rain warnings. This was a game-changer for many people, as it allowed them to plan their days around the weather with much more precision than ever before," Robin Salvador, software engineer and owner of FlightRadar told Lifewire via email.

Rain Warning

Dark Sky had two related features that no other app or weather service had at the time. One was its hyper-local rain forecasts, which could tell you down to the minute when the drops would start falling at your current location. This could be handy to check that the weather would hold off long enough to take the dog out for a final walk before bed or—via its alerts—prompt you to drop into a cafe to wait out the rain moments before it began. 

Screenshots of the DarkSky weather app.


In short, Dark Sky gave its users a rain-detecting superpower and did it with a very neat trick. You know how you look at the precipitation radar animations in your weather app to predict where the rain will go next? Dark Sky works the same way. And a nice side result of that image-analysis system was its hyper-smooth radar animations—none of this step-by-step nonsense. Dark Sky's animations were as smooth as your parents' smart TV, still set to soap-opera mode. 

Now, Apple's weather app can also give local rain warnings. One of the big disadvantages of Dark Sky's rain warnings was that they only worked in a few territories: the US, the UK, and Ireland. That's still the case for Apple Weather. However, if you relied on these warnings or if you just like the distinctive look of the Dark Sky app, there are alternatives. 

Hello Carrot

Carrot Weather might be the best weather app around, thanks to absurdly-deep customization and an embarrassment of features and options. Apple's current weather app is more than enough for most people, but Carrot Weather can do a lot more.

One of those features is visual customization, which lets you recreate Dark Sky's layout in Carrot Weather (you'll need a paid subscription to do that). Another is that you can get plenty of weather notifications.

Screenshots from the Carrot Weather app.

Carrot Weather

"For those looking for a more direct replacement for Dark Sky and want a lot more bells and whistles, I'd recommend CARROT Weather," says podcaster and writer Scott McNulty in his massive roundup of Dark Sky alternatives for the iPhone. 

If Carrot Weather is too much for you (and it can be a bit daunting to set everything up), Hello Weather is another great option, one that I used before Apple's weather app got so good. Hello Weather's best feature is its design.

It combines beautiful icons and interface elements with a super-clear, at-a-glance layout that makes it dead simple to get a quick overview or go deep. In fact, the design is so good that you can get most of what you want from the app's home-screen widgets, which are equally glanceable. 

Screenshots of the Hello Weather App.

Hello Weather

Default Weather

In the end, though, Apple’s weather app is now good enough for almost anyone. Try that before exploring the alternatives because it really has almost everything, including those ultra-local Dark Sky precipitations warnings, air-quality warnings, and enough maps that you can do your own forecasting. 

And as a side note, Apple’s weather app has the best Apple Watch app I have yet used. It arranges the day’s forecast around the clock, so when you glance at the bottom of the dial, you see the forecast for 6 PM. So obvious, and yet so intuitive and easy to read that all other watch weather apps are dead to me. 

The long-term forecast for iOS weather apps, then, is good, even though we can’t really tell exactly what will happen in the next couple of weeks or months.

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