There are a large number of weather apps available for the iPhone, so it takes a lot for a weather app to distinguish itself. One way to do so is to provide detailed forecasts. Another way to do so is to have a great interface for the same information that other apps provide (and for a long time, Weather Line was my favorite weather app because of the interface). CARROT Weather does both, and adds a new way to distinguish itself: a personality. In fact, I started using the app because it sounded interesting to use an app with a snarky disposition, although I figured that would be a gimmick which would get old quickly. I stayed with the app for because it is a fantastic weather app, more useful than any other I have ever used on the iPhone. After using the app for six months, this is my favorite weather app, and the one that I recommend.
Let's start by discussing what got me to try to this app in the first place: the personality. In addition to telling you the weather, the app provides a line of dialogue relating to what the weather is. For example, if the weather is cloudy, the app may say things like: "The sun is playing hooky today" or "Worst. Clouds. Ever." Sometimes the dialogue is an attempt by the app to insult you, such as: "You've wasted your life. Also, it's cloudy right now" or "Your weather is bad and you should feel bad." Sometimes the app tries to be funny, such as: "It's fifty shades of grey out" or "Every cloud has a silver lining. Except for mushroom-shaped ones. They have a lining of Iridium and Strontium 90." Often the app says something bizarre, such as "That cloud looks like a toddler drowning a rubber ducky" or "What's the point of being able to control the weather if I can't make everyone miserable with cloudy weather from time to time?" Sometimes the dialogue reflects current events, including occasionally a reference to something that happened that same day (often involving President Trump). And sometimes the app lies to you, such as insisting that it is sunny when it is actually raining.
You can adjust the personality in settings, selecting from Professional, Friendly, Snarky, Homicidal and Overkill. You can also adjust the political leaning: Centrist, Liberal, Conservative or No Politics. You can also tap the dialogue on the main page to swap between a generic, professional description of the weather and the more humorous message.
Why does a weather app need to have a personality? It doesn't, but it sure does make the app more fun to use. Sometimes the dialogue falls flat, but it has often made me chuckle. And there must be lots of phrases in there because I don't remember ever seeing it repeat. This app reminds me of other technology with an attitude: Siri, HAL 9000 from the movie 2001, GLaDOS from the Portal video game, etc. When you add personality to an item of technology, it can become more interesting.
As I noted, the personality made me want to check out CARROT Weather in the first place, but this is my favorite weather app because of the quality and presentation of the data.
By default you get weather data for your current location. In the settings you can make the default the last place for which you checked the weather. And you can always tap the current location at the top of the screen to change to another city. The app remembers cities that you selected previously and presents them in a list so that you can select them again more easily. (Or swipe to the left or right with two fingers to switch between cites.) You can even adjust the pinpoint location for a city — down to a street address — and you can change the name. So instead of getting the general weather for Chicago, you can opt to see the specific weather at your grandma's house.
The main screen of CARROT Weather shows you the weather. The top of the screen has a large number telling you the current temperature. Next to that number, you see the "feels like" temperature, the precipitation, and the wind. But those are just defaults; you can put whatever you want next to the temperature such as UV Index, Celsius (if your normal weather is in Fahrenheit), cloud cover, visibility, pressure, humidity, sunrise / sunset, moon phase, etc.) And while three items are displayed next to the number, you can also set a 4th, 5th and 6th item that displays when you tap the number.
In the middle of the screen there is a pixelated person on a landscape, for no real reason other than to show something interesting. But when there is a chance of rain or snow in the next hour (using the excellent Dark Sky data that many other iPhone apps use), you instead get a graph showing you precisely when the precipitation will start and stop in your location. These forecasts are incredibly accurate. If the app says that it will start raining in two minutes, I would start opening up your umbrella in about 90 seconds.
Most of the bottom portion of the screen contains columns showing the weather each hour. Much like the Weather Line app, your eye can quickly see — based upon the relative height of the forecast icon in each column — whether it is getting hotter or colder over time. The icon for each hour also gives you a sense of what the weather will be that hour — sunny, rainy, overcast, etc. The bottom of each column shows you the percentage chance of precipitation during that hour, but I often find it accurate enough to just look at the icon associated with each hour; if there is a raindrop in the icon it will rain, otherwise it will not. Tap any column and the top of the app will show you more detailed weather information for that particular hour.
You can scroll to the right to see hourly forecasts for the next 48 hours. When you reach the end, you can also tap to see extended (although often less accurate) hourly data for a full seven days.
Tap the radar icon at the top of the main screen of this app to see a map with the radar. At the bottom right of the screen you can change the overlay from the radar to something else, like temperature or wind. You can tap a Play button at the bottom left to animate the radar over the past two hours.
The app includes a Time Travel feature to show you the weather for a specific day in the past 70 years. Was it raining on the night of the car accident that is the subject of your litigation? This app can tell you.
You can also select any upcoming date for the next 10 years to get a prediction of what the weather will be like on some future date. I haven't tested this much, but I imagine that it is a guess based on prior conditions for the same date.
There are not many third party Apple Watch apps which are just as useful as Apple's built-in apps, but CARROT Weather is one of them. You can add a complication to your watch screen, and you can customize it to present exactly what you want. What I have been using is a line of text at the bottom of my Activity watch face with an icon to show current conditions, followed by the current temperature, followed by the high and low for the day. That tells me most of what I need to know.
Tap the complication to open the CARROT Weather app on the Apple Watch. On the iPhone, you customize many different aspects of the Apple Watch interface, so you just see what you want to see.
You can configure the app to send you notifications. For example, the app can send you an alert when rain or snow is expected in the next hour (in the U.S. or U.K.). You can get government-issued severe weather alerts. You can get a morning report and an evening report.
The app is a universal app so it also works on the iPad. You can also get the app for the Mac or for the Apple TV.
The app has a Secret Locations feature, which gives you an in-app map game in which you need to find places on a map, but I haven't spent much time with that. There are also achievement badges, much like what you can get with the Apple Watch, but they are much more silly, such as the "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" badge for experiencing your first snowfall.
In the settings for the app located in the iPhone's main Settings app, you can flip a switch to change whether CARROT Weather uses a voice to speak out loud to you when you start the app.
If you want to really annoy the CARROT Weather app, swipe down from the top of the screen to bring up the in-app settings, and poke the "eye" of the app on the left side of the screen. (Or go into AR Mode and poke the app's eye.) The more you do it, the more annoyed the app will get.
The app itself costs $4.99. To access some of the more advanced features, such as customizing the iPhone and Apple Watch interface and receiving notifications, you need to pay for a subscription, either $0.49 a month or $3.99 a year.
If you have a custom weather station that you want to use as the source of your weather information (such as weather monitoring hardware in your own backyard), CARROT Weather can work with that as well, but you need a more expensive subscription of $9.99 a year.
It is fun using an app with some attitude, and I like that you can adjust how much personality the app exhibits. But what really makes this app shine is that it provides you with all of the weather data that you want, in an easy-to-read interface for the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch that you can customize to your heart's content. Even if you don't want an app with attitude, just set the app to Professional mode; you'll still love the app for all of the information that it contains. Additionally, this is probably my favorite third party app on the Apple Watch.
I see that I am not the only one who considers CARROT Weather to be the best weather app. Bradley Chambers of The Sweet Setup picked CARROT Weather as the best weather app, as did Josh Centers in an article for TidBITS. It takes a lot to shine above all of the other weather apps on the App Store, but CARROT Weather manages to do it. This is a great app.