Outside it is raining cats and dogs, and you’re curled up in the armchair looking at your iPad mini, securely tucked in your iPad mini 6th generation case. Or maybe you’re looking at your iPad Pro, carefully protected by an iPad Pro 12.9 5th generation case. Either way, you’ve got everything you need right there, and can enjoy an afternoon watching movies, being creative with photos, or simply scrolling social media.
But maybe your friend messages you ‘BBQ tomorrow at Estes Park?’. You’d love to do a BBQ—- low and slow cooking is a passion of yours— but the idea of trying to keep a fire going in one of those pavilions while it rains like this is not a pleasant one. What will tomorrow be like? The easiest way to find out is to look at the weather widget on your iPad— at least that is, if it’s set to the right location.
Unlike the iPhone, your iPad doesn’t have a native weather app. What it does have is a weather widget, and that widget can be just as good as an app if you’ve got the settings right. Here’s how to do that.
Do you find that too restricting? You might want to consider downloading a full-featured weather app. Here are a few favorites:
It’s not free— the current price on the app store is $3.99— but most users of this app say that is well worth the minimal cost. The information is ‘hyperlocal’ —- specific to exactly where you are— and down to the minute, in case you ever wondered what the likelihood of rain was exactly three minutes from now. There are also ‘feels like’ options that take into account factors like windchill, and a UV index that lets you know just how likely you are to get a sunburn.
The most obvious ‘different’ feature of Dark Sky is an interactive weather map. Defaulting to your location, the map lets you zoom in and out and checkout other countries, states, or cities. It’s a fun way of looking at the big picture even as you get the data you need on the places you care about.
Accuweather is another favorite weather app, and this one is free, though there are ads and an option to pay for ad removal. The main screen is well designed; simple but informative.
Accuweather also offers a weather map, with radar layer views that show temperature, tropical storms, temperature contour, cloud cover, and precipitation details. Their ‘RealFeel temperature’, often different than the actual temperature, is a pretty accurate guess at what the temperature will feel like to you, and there’s a ‘minute cast’ that tells you what is going to be happening minute by minute for the next two hours. There is also information available on pollen count, invaluable to allergy sufferers. It’s no good scheduling that BBQ in the park if you’re going to be sneezing the whole time you’re outside!
Where Storm Shield shines is in severe weather alerts— alerts that are customized for your exact location. You can get these notifications as either text or voice; if voice, they’ll sound just like the weather alerts you might hear on the radio.
No more listening to that boring channel you hate, just because it might give you some critical weather news. Now you can get it all on your iPad. Storm Shield also includes a widget that allows you to check your text alerts as soon as you open your iPad.
The weather channel bills itself as the ‘world’s most accurate forecast’. Is it? That may be debatable, but it is a favorite among weather apps and is often #1 for weather on app store downloads.
Much like Dark Sky and Accuweather, the Weather Channel also offers a ‘feel like’ temperature that gives you information on what the temperature is likely to feel like to you, no matter what the thermometer says. It also includes allergy information, real-time rain updates, and a nice radar map that allows you to follow weather patterns. Whether you prefer this one or Accuweather will come down to either feel or aesthetics— there’s no big difference between them, though they look completely different.
It’s easy to change your location in the iPad’s native weather widget, but if you want something more comprehensive, you can always download one—- or all— of these weather apps. The only one you’ll have to pay for is Dark Sky, and even the cost for that is minimal. There’s no reason to go browsing for a weather website in Safari before you answer that question about a barbecue tomorrow—— if the appropriate apps are installed on your iPad, finding out the weather is as easy as finding the date.