If you’re an iPhone user who downloaded and installed iOS 16 after its release on Monday, take some time from learning to configure those nifty customizable lock screens and tap on the included Weather app. On the surface, it looks a lot like the updated version introduced in iOS 15 – but below the surface is where the action is.
Tap any one of the cards on the main display – hourly or 10 day forecasts, humidity, air quality, UV index, wind, precipitaton and more – and you’ll get a screen with lots more information. Suddenly, the iOS Weather app is one of the best out there for climate data junkies.
But in order for iOS Weather to get this new life, something had to die. That’s Dark Sky, the hyperlocal weather app that Apple purchased in 2020. It will be shut down on Jan. 1, 2023.
The Dark Sky Company launched the app on iOS in 2012, then added an Android app. When Apple acquired Dark Sky, the Android version was killed shortly thereafter, and paid users of that platform were given full refunds. There is no indication recent buyers of the $3.99 iOS app will get their money back.
At least one user, who replied to a Tweet about Dark Sky’s impending demise, expressed annoyance because she had paid for it twice, including a few months ago.
Dark Sky also built an API for its weather data, and charged other developers to tap into it. That API is also going away, along with the excellent Dark Sky website, shutting down on March 31, 2023. The API is being replaced by WeatherKit, an Apple weather service which will cost less than Dark Sky’s did, and offer developers 500,000 API calls per month before charging.
While the iOS Weather app is beautiful, and the depth of data very impressive, I’ll still miss Dark Sky app and the web page. The app’s interface was nowhere near as gorgeous as Apple’s, but it was simpler and I think clearer in some instances.
It’s hard to believe that Dark Sky has been around for a decade. I first discovered it in late 2013, when a friend using it told me it was about to rain, and a few minutes later the sky opened up in a downpour. I happily forked over my $3.99 and have been a fan ever since.
One of the features that Apple has finally brought over from the original app is the one that originally sold me: weather alerts for your current location. I’m hoping over time I’ll come to love the iOS Weather app as much as I do the original Dark Sky. A few predicted downpours oughta do it.