By Dan Moren
January 3, 2023 9:30 AM PT
Miss Dark Sky? CARROT Weather has you (cloud) covered
January 1st, 2023 has come and gone, and with it the demise of my weather app of choice, Dark Sky. Goodbye, old friend, you will be missed!
But when Apple closes a door, it opens a space on your home screen. Opportunity awaits! It’s been a long time since a new contender got a shot at some prime real estate on my iPhone.
Despite my allegiance to Dark Sky, I’ve stayed in the weather app game. Over the last several years, I’ve downloaded and tried a number competitors and while none had dethroned Dark Sky, there were a couple others in heavy rotation. Apple’s iOS 16 Weather app is significantly improved on previous versions, though it still seems to prioritize flashy form over function (see “animated weather graphics that take up a big chunk of the screen”). Say what you will about Dark Sky, but its interface was simple and straightforward.
CARROT Weather has been my other go-to app, thanks largely to its incredible power and versatility. So when I saw my old Macworld colleague Chris Breen1 point out that you can actually recreate Dark Sky’s interface in CARROT Weather, well, my interest was piqued, to say the least.
There are, however, some caveats. I’ve been a CARROT Weather subscriber for many years and am still on one of its older (no longer available) subscription plans.2 While that does get me access to many of the app’s features, some are reserved for the more expensive tiers. So, for example, I can still get access to the radar via the toolbar, but I can’t put a little radar widget on my CARROT Weather home screen, à la Dark Sky. For that, I’d need to pungle up $30 per year, or $50 for the family plan. I think I’m okay without it for the moment.
To do this for yourself, open up CARROT Weather, go to Settings > Layout > Layout Gallery and choose the Inline style. Give it a name—oh, I don’t, know maybe, “Dark Ski”?—and you’re done. From there you can customize the layout further if you’d like.
For me, the result is close enough: it apes Dark Sky’s easy-to-read vertical chart of the hour-by-hour forecast, including a pop-up menu that lets you choose from temperature, precipitation, UV, and so on. I was also able to customize it a bit further, adding a summary line to give me the day’s high and low temperatures, as well as including CARROT’s trademark snarky robot for my own amusement. And, of course, CARROT already provides precipitation alerts, one of Dark Sky’s best features, and even uses the new Live Activities API to put them on your home screen.
Should I have used this opportunity to try something different, maybe find something better? Perhaps! But I’m a creature of habit, and this creature likes to know what the weather’s going to be like at a glance, without having to work too hard. I’ll keep playing with Apple’s Weather app, too—it remains a solid contender, but it still has some work to do. Maybe in iOS 17.
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]
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