Apple's Weather app for iPhones continues to be unsettled, with the company continuing to report ongoing issues following an outage yesterday – and it's just one of many reasons why I'm still missing the app that it swallowed up, Dark Sky.
Alongside many Reddit users, who are reporting "weather unavailable" warnings, we've also had problems with the Weather app's widget showing "no weather data". Apple is aware of the issues, saying "some users are affected", but this follows some similar problems yesterday.
In the grand scheme of things, intermittent problems with a stock weather app aren't exactly phone-ruining. And I'm sure Apple will fix what appear to be server issues soon. But these Weather app problems just add further fuel to my annoyance that this inferior experience has replaced a better one I loved and used on a daily basis.
Just over three years ago, Apple bought Dark Sky, an app that forced its way onto many people's home screens thanks to its ability to combine an algorithmic analysis of the speed of clouds and storms with your precise location. In short, this hyper-local forecasting could save you from many a soaking. And it really worked!
Apple's purchase of Dark Sky was particularly bad news for its Android-based fans, as it meant that app was shut down. But the slight silver lining for the app's iOS users was that Apple promised to fold Dark Sky into its own Weather app.
Unfortunately, that isn't going too well. Aside from the fact that some Weather app users have found the app to be borderline unusable in the past few days, it's also lacking when compared to Dark Sky in other ways.
A mixed outlook
One of the reasons I loved Dark Sky was its elegant simplicity. As its name suggests, its main focus was on helping you avoid inclement weather – and it was generally very reliable at giving you minute-by-minute alerts about rain.
But Apple's Weather app has swallowed all of that up into something that's more bloated and, currently, pretty buggy. You can find hourly rain predictions, but they're buried in a sub-menu in the Today view the graph is tougher to read than Dark Sky's simple breakdown.
The Weather app is simply a lot more cluttered and busy, with several tiles below the radar map that you can't customize or edit. And anecdotally, it also feels a little less accurate in its weather predictions, bringing back some of the guesswork I remember from the pre-Dark Sky days.
Perhaps it is just early days and Apple will eventually refine its Weather offering. And to be fair in some respects, like the radar map that visualizes storm clouds, it actually feels a little slicker than Dark Sky. But for now, I'm still missing the app that I paid for, and was one of the most used on my home screen.
If Apple's Weather app continues this stormy performance, I may well switch to one of the best iPhone weather apps, like Carrot Weather. For now, Apple's app is on borrowed home screen time, but I'm hoping its outlook will improve once the current bugs and server issues are fixed.
And if you use an older iPhone you might have to switch to another Weather app anyway, as a leak suggests Apple will pull support for its services on old Apple devices.