Yahoo Weather App for iPhone Review

Yahoo Weather app
Yahoo Weather app. image copyright Yahoo Inc

The Good

  • Simple to use
  • Beautiful design
  • Just the right amount of detail

The Bad

  • No Notification Center integration

The Price

For most people, weather apps are primarily about knowing what to wear in the morning, planning day trips, or deciding what to pack for vacation and business trips. Those users need forecasts that are easy to understand quickly—and perhaps a little more detail, such as when rain or snow is expected to start or stop, or what time the sun will rise or set. Weather enthusiasts will always need more in-depth data, of course, but the average person seeking a basic weather app will have a hard time doing better than Yahoo Weather.

Simple Forecasts, Beautiful Design

The Yahoo Weather app makes it simple for users to get forecasts for their location or practically anywhere else. By default, the app uses the iPhone’s built-in GPS to determine your location and supplies the temperature and forecast for that area. Additionally, you can add other locations via city name or zip code. Swiping left and right in the app moves you through all the locations you’re tracking. Swiping down refreshes the app and provides the latest weather information.

Beyond simply supplying the forecast, though, Yahoo Weather does so with an appealing design. Each location’s weather is displayed over a photo of that area sourced from user-submitted Flickr images (which Yahoo also owns). When there is no Flickr photo of a location, a default image is used. The combination of these appealing photos and the big, stylish typography used to show location, high and low temperature, and current temperature, make Yahoo Weather attractive and enjoyable.

Getting More Weather Information

For those seeking greater detail about the day’s weather, swiping up the screen reveals a wealth of additional information. First, you can get an hour-by-hour forecast for the next 11 hours showing the expected temperature and conditions (sun, clouds, rain, etc). Below that, a forecast for the upcoming 5 days gives conditions and highs and lows.

Swiping farther reveals a detailed forecast for the current day, a weather map, precipitation details for morning, afternoon, evening, and night, wind and pressure information, and a sunrise and sunset chart. Beginning with the detailed forecast, each of these sections can be rearranged by tapping and dragging it to a new location in this list.

The weather map offers a neat, not-immediately-obvious feature: tapping it expands the map and offers a number of new views. With the map expanded, you can view a satellite image of your region, zooming in and out and moving around the country and world. Other options for this view include a temperature map, wind speed patterns, and a radar map. While that’s a little more detail than I need, I imagine that a lot of people might enjoy it and find it useful.

The One Drawback

As someone who needs fairly basic weather information, I found only one real drawback to Yahoo Weather: it lacks Notification Center integration. As a result of this, you can’t get a snapshot forecast from the app in the Notification Center pulldown, nor can it give you weather alerts.

The app not being able to display in Notification Center isn’t a failure of the app, though. Rather, Apple doesn’t allow apps to replace its built-in weather app in Notification Center, so until that changes, Yahoo Weather won’t be visible there. It would also be great to be able to make Yahoo Weather your default weather app, but again, Apple doesn’t allow changing default apps in the current version of the iOS.

The Bottom Line

Great design can seem to some people like window dressing or an unnecessary extravagance. To those people, actionable information trumps everything. The Yahoo Weather app proves the value of design. It’s a simple app that provides a relatively small amount of data in a way that’s so appealing and intuitive that it makes you want to use it again soon. Its design alone makes it a more compelling app than the built-in iOS weather widget.

Weather buffs and amateur (or professional) forecasters likely won’t find enough granularity here, but for the average person just looking to know what to expect from the day’s weather, Yahoo Weather is exactly what the day calls for.