Carrot Weather is probably the most well-known of all the weather apps for iOS, iPadOS, and WatchOS. While there is a free version of the app, you’ll need to pay monthly or annually to get the majority of the app’s features. There are a few different options for the subscription. There is a Premium subscription tier and a Premium Ultra, and Premium Family. Rather than list out all of these options, I’m going to provide some screenshots that break down the costs for each tier and what differentiates them. If you select Premium Family, you’re getting the same features as Premium Ultra and have the ability to share the app with up to 5 family members.
So why would anyone pay to have a weather app when there are free options like Apple’s first party Weather app? It really comes down to three things for Carrot Weather – the app’s “personality”, its level of detail, and advanced notifications.
There are several different levels of snark that you can set Carrot Weather’s personality to be when using the app. This mostly comes out in the summary of the weather that the app displays and in the notifications that the app sends you. The app also reads the summary aloud on iOS when you open the app if you have sound turned on.
There are 5 different personality options that the app provides in the settings, each of which changes the app’s “personality” when you interact with it. You can pick Professional, Friendly, Snarky, Homicidal, and Overkill. You can even tell the app what political leaning you want it to take. Those options are Apolitical, Centrist, Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, Communist, and Anarchist. Lastly, you can select whether or not the app uses profanity with this personality. I’ve provided a few screenshots below that show you examples of what the app shows in the summary for each personality type, using Apolitical and no profanity, along with shots of the different settings within the app.
I’ll be blunt here. The personalities can certainly be funny and sometimes even make you laugh out loud, but it’s nothing more than a nice touch to the app. In my personal opinion, the app personalities are absolutely not a great reason to pay for a weather app, unless you are just massively starved for humor. Keep in mind that you have the same control over the app’s personality with the free version as you do with the paid versions.
The greatest value is in the detail that the app provides, and it can provide an enormous amount of detail on the weather. Just know that some of the information is hidden behind paywalls that require either the Premium or Premium Ultra subscription.
Even with the free version of the app, Carrot Weather features a huge number of graphs and charts that show you an hour-by-hour and day-by-day breakdown of specific weather information such as temperature, the “feels like” temperature, precipitation chance, precipitin amount, wind speed, wind gusts, UV index, humidity, air pressure, cloud cover, and visibility.
Contrast this with something like the Apple Weather app, where you’re given more of a high-level snapshot of the weather at this moment (other than an hour-by-hour break down of overall weather conditions and percipiation). If you’re just a casual weather user who wants a general idea of what the weather is going to be for the day – in other words, do I need to bring an umbrella – something like Apple Weather probably meets all the needs that you have. If, on the other hand, you’re someone who’s way of living depends on the weather – maybe you’re in construction or exterior painting – you probably would greatly benefit from having a more granular, hour-by-hour breakdown of the day’s weather.
In addition to the vast amount of data and charts that Carrot Weather provides, it also has the ability to display weather information from multiple weather sources. So, if you have one in particular that you trust or like more, you can switch to it. Or if you just want to see how much they all agree, you can do that as well. If you want this capability though, you’ll need to pay for at least the Premium subscription tier.
Related to the app’s depth of information, Carrot Weather has the capability of giving you advanced weather notifications. You can customize the app to alert you of precipitation, severe weather alerts, hurricane trackers, lightning strikes, umbrella reminders, sunscreen reminders, morning and evening reports, sunrise, sunset, and moon phase. In order to get the lightning strike, umbrella reminder, and sunscreen reminder, you’ll need to pay for the Premium Ultra subscription tier. The majority of the notifications are available for free, and I think these are the ones that the majority of users actually need.
If you stick to the free version of the app, you’re really not getting anything that unique. As far as I know, just about every weather app has these, including Apple’s free Weather app. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Apple’s acquisition of Dark Sky seriously improved Apple Weather when it comes to precipitation predictions and notifications (among other improvements).
Apple Watch Complications
If you have an Apple Watch (which I assume you probably do) and use Carrot Weather with it, there is one more nice feature to the app. There are a large number of weather complications available for use on your watch face, and you can even create custom complications. Most of them are very similar to what you get with Apple Weather with some nice tweaks. The best example of this, in my opinion, is the complication that combines the current temperature, the high and low temperature, and the current weather condition. I’ll throw in a screenshot with this complication below, so you can see what I mean. For this example, there’s absolutely plenty of space to combine this information, and it’s nice to have them together. Apple Weather has complications that show all this information, but you cannot combine any of the information in one widget (except for the info modular face large complications).
Should You Get It?
Carrot Weather is without doubt an excellent app that provides all the weather information you could ever need and with a very nice user interface. Even the watchOS version of the app provides an enormous amount of information, something that cannot be said for other Apple Watch apps. Many apps force you to pick up your phone to get all the details, but not Carrot Weather. Of course, that means you have to do more tapping and scrolling to see it all, as the Apple Watch doesn’t have the biggest of screens. Chances are that the trade-off here in speed for information is worth it for you if you’re someone that truly has a need for all the detailed weather information.
Here’s my ultimate recommendation, and much of it centers on the fact that the app is not a one-time purchase and that the subscription costs are not cheap. For the average user, I’d suggest that you stick with the free version of the app. Yes, it’s nice to have all the extra complications and the additional customization options. However, there’s just not enough value in the cost of the subscription to pay for just those. You really need to be a user that has a legitimate need for instant access to specific weather information, either through complications or notifications, to justify the cost of either subscription tier. And when I say specific, I mean that you need to know more than just that it’s about to rain or that severe weather is in your area. You can get notifications like that for free through Apple Weather. It also makes sense if you have a legitimate need to see weather information from more than one weather source. You may like to know these things for fun, but I’m guessing that the vast majority of people don’t really have a need for them.
If you opt for the free version of the app, you still get all the detailed, hour-by-hour and day-by-day weather information. The trade-off is that you must open the app to access almost all of the information, as you get no notifications with the free version and only one Apple Watch complication. Honestly, that feels a bit absurd and cheap to me. I consider these things to be basic features that are necessary at a minimum for a weather app. What would make more sense to me is charging to have the more niche notifications and complications. Instead, the company decided to block every single one of them with a paywall.
If you actually fall into the camp of people that need this advanced information and you need it instantly, you have to decide whether you want the Premium or the Premium Plus plan. I think the easiest way to think of the difference is that the Premium Plus is just like it sounds. It adds to the features that come with the Premium tier at double the cost. Only you can decide if the extra cost is worth it.
Yes. $20 or $40 a year (or $4.99 / $9.99 a month) isn’t a fortune, but in this day and age where the number of subscription services seems to only grow bigger and bigger, most of us need to start thinking through which ones we really need or want. I can only say that, for me, Carrot Weather just doesn’t make the cut. I just don’t need the extra features that it offers and find that I can get everything I need from Apple Weather. As I mentioned earlier, Apple Weather has grown a ton since Apple acquired Dark Sky, and it’s now a pretty robust weather app. Your situation may very well be different from mine and maybe you need more information than me. Or maybe you just really like the app and have the money to burn. If either of these is you, then go for it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the app.