So many weather apps — Pick one and learn it

So many weather apps — Pick one and learn it


by Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com

A while back I wrote an article about weather apps. I recently reviewed it and updated some of the information. All of the apps I mentioned have gotten better. All of the apps have the same basics and maybe one or two unique features. In doing the research to update my article, I found several reports like Four Best Weather Apps, The (9) Best Weather Apps for iPhone, 15 Best Weather Apps for Android, and 15 Best Weather Apps. And all these articles were written within the last 3 months! In my article, I list 4 apps:

  1. Weather Underground
  2. Accuweather
  3. The Weather Channel
  4. Dark Sky

What To Do?
Learn.

I think having too many choices is bad. The best app (or software, or phone, or …)  is the one you know how to use, and use it well. Just pick one! Then use it. Explore the settings, explore the menus, experiment, read the Help screens.

For example, I picked The Weather Channel as my app. It works the same on my iPhone as it does on my Android devices. When I first open it, I’ve learned to just scroll down (swipe up on the screen) until I see what I want – Radar screen, for example. When I keep scrolling down, just below Radar & Maps is an option for Road Conditions. I tap on that and get a map, then I tap on the Layers button  and see all sorts of choices. Hey, look at this: Wind Speed. Good to know! Avoid driving thru the dark blue and purple areas! We heard lots of horror stories about windstorms in the desert just yesterday. Here is another, really cool, wind map. You can actually see the movement of the wind in real time on this map from Hint.fm.

Experimenting with severe weather alerts is not so easy. This is something that needs to work when the occasion arises, so I checked out the help feature by tapping on the 3-line menu and choosing Help and feedback. Scrolling thru, I see an article entitled, “How do I sign up for weather alerts?” and I learn that this feature requires you to be logged in. So, I tap the 3-line menu again, signed up, and logged in. Then I tapped on alerts in order to turn on the Severe Weather warning alert. I still have a question about whether it will “follow me” or just give alerts for my saved places, so I used the Help menu to send an email to The Weather Channel help. I’ll come back here when I get an answer.

My point is that every app requires some learning, even for those of us who teach this stuff! Spend the time, you’ll be glad you did.

Install the Widget

Widgets are mini programs that are easily accessible on your phone or tablet. With the Weather Channel widget you can see the current weather info at a glance, and have one-touch access to other features like the radar map. On Android devices, widgets can be right on a home screen, and they can be large. On iOS devices, they are on your notification screen – just swipe right. For more info on how to use widgets, see our What Does This Button Do show, episode 31: Widgets

Keep your App up to Date

It is important to keep your apps up to date. Sometimes the updates will be little bug fixes and sometimes they are major new features. You can view “what’s new” in the description of the update. To learn about how to manage updates to your apps, see our What Does This Button Do show, episode 14: Updates.

Leave a comment to tell us what you’ve learned about the weather app you use.

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She and her husband, Jim, produce a free weekly online show called What Does This Button Do?  They have been Fulltime RVers, popular seminar presenters at RV Rallies, and regular contributors to RVTravel.com, for many years.

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7 thoughts on “So many weather apps — Pick one and learn it

  1. TechiePhil

    My favorite is Storm. Another hyper-local app that follows me somI don’t have to enter a location.

  2. Harry Salit

    I have the layers button but I can’t the 3 line menu button. Where is it?
    Thanks

    1. Harry salit

      Still can’t find it!

      1. RV Staff

        Sorry, Harry. I’ll contact Chris Guld, of GeeksonTour.com, and I’m sure she’ll be able to help you. (I’m sorry — I was going to take care of this last week and forgot. 😮 ) —Diane at RVtravel.com

      2. Chris Guld

        Hello Harry

        1. Chris Guld

          The 3-line menu is at the top left by the title of the Weather Channel. It’s not there when you’re on the Layers screen, it’s before you get there. It’s for exploring all the general settings and for Help.

  3. John Ahrens

    We have found that using two (for us Dark Skies and Weather Channel) work best. Why? Because at least here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather can change dramatically in less than a mile, so having the hyper-local information of Dark Skies is valuable, particularly for the next hour, which it’s best at. If we want to look at weather in other locations, or longer term, usually the Weather Channel is better. We also find that comparing the two is useful, as when they agree, we can figure that it’s pretty certain (they seem to favor different models). When they disagree, then we have to figure which seems more likely, based on history, and our understanding of the local patterns.

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