Ah, the weather. For many of us, the fascination of what the weather will be like today, tomorrow, or next week can drive our entire day. For this reason, there are dozens of weather websites and a handful of weather widgets out there. But what about those of us that want weather information right on our desktop at all times, even without having to pull up Safari or Dashboard? Today I present for your reading pleasure a showdown of desktop weather applications. Read on…
Meteorologist, sometimes simply known as Meteo, is a little app very analogous to the weather Dashboard widget, except it sits in your menu bar and/or dock. The app is simple and to the point, delivering a visual representation of the current weather, providing more details when clicking on the menu bar item. Though it’s not feature-packed like some of the other weather apps, Meteorologist above all else emphasizes simplicity and beauty. It is easy to use and very nice-looking, which can’t be said for some of the other weather apps here.
Note: There is one little caveat with this app: there has been a change in the way Weather.com does listings, which breaks the current version’s city search and updating. Thanks to the community involvement, a simple fix has been created, which you can get right here.
Pros: Simple to configure and use; beautiful icons; open-source
Cons: Not a huge offering of options; third-party patch required to get it working
Meteorologist is free and open-source.
Whereas most of the apps I’m looking at here today will just give you a simple overview of the weather and maybe a radar image, Seasonality is more of a weather “journal.” It uses weather data available online to track everything from temperature to wind speed to humidity to barometric pressure. You can track all these factors for long periods of time, even up to a year, and see them with really beautiful graphs. Seasonality will even show you the daily sunrise and sunset times every day. I can imagine this app becoming invaluable to someone who relies on weather information, such as a pilot or a ship’s captain.
Pros: Dizzying amount of stats and options; cool and useful graphs; “journal” features to track weather stats over time
Cons: A bit expensive for a home user; may be too complex for some
Seasonality is $24.95 with a 30-day free trial from Gaucho Software.
Many of the options in this showdown are very good at giving you weather right from the menu bar, but appropriate to its name, WeatherDock does a great job of giving you that same information in the dock. Of course, you’re given all the same weather information you’d expect from any of the other apps, but WeatherDock provides you a nice interface for creating a completely customized dock icon that can give you instant feedback on any stat you’d like. The app also has some other nice features such as being able to speak you the weather information. Overall, WeatherDock provides a level of customizability that the other apps just can’t match.
Pros: Cool ability to completely customize dock icon; nice speech feature; completely free
Cons: Some options are confusing; app artwork could be better
WeatherDock is donationware from Alwin Troost.
WeatherManX is somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to weather apps. It combines many of the greatest features from each of the other apps, such as WeatherDock’s icon customization and Seasonality’s stat tracking, into a nice little package. Of course, this is a bit of a downfall as wellwhen you do so many things, it’s hard to do them all well. This is evident in WeatherManX’s confusing interface, for one. I also found that I had to coax it do download the initial weather information, even after telling it in the preferences to do this automatically.
Pros: Access to all the best features of other weather apps
Cons: Interface and options are difficult to navigate; updating properly is somewhat of an arcane art
WeatherManX, from AfterTen, is $10 with a 30-day free trial.
Wx is unique in that it provides a single unified interface for all the weather data that flies at you. Really it just gives you one main window to see all your data for today and an extended forecast. There’s honestly nothing groundbreaking with Wx. Its interface is a little dated and the dock icon just doesn’t feel like it belongs amongst all your other apps. One nice feature of Wx is an automated screen saver featuring your local weather information, but it’s really just a simple mod to the default OS X RSS screen saver.
Pros: Nice unified place to see all your weather information; weather screen saver
Cons: Clunky options control panel; dated interface; ugly dock icon
Wx is $10 from Hunter Associates. A free trial is available, though you can’t save any settings in the unregistered version.
WeatherPop is another desktop weather app with nothing very spectacular about it. In contrast to the other apps I’ve mentioned, it sits only in the menu barthere are no dock icons or windows to futz with. This is both good and bad. Because it’s only in the menu bar, it’s simple and straightforward to use, but in order to provide this level of integration, it doesn’t actually run as an app. Rather, it installs itself as a menu bar extra. This can be a bit annoying at times, and I actually found it difficult to uninstall WeatherPop fully, even with AppZapper at my disposal. WeatherPop also has a paltry amount of configuration options in comparison to the other apps here.
Pros: Straightforward user interface; loads of information available right from the menu bar
Cons: Very few customization options; runs as a menu bar extra instead of a regular app
WeatherPop Advance is $8 from Glucose with a 14-day trial period.
I had to pick two winners in this battle. If you just want a simple way to view your weather how you want, when you want, and where you want, WeatherDock has the most customizable interface and the most balanced array of weather information available, and it’s got the right price tag. If you’re a weather fanatic and willing to spend the money, though, Seasonality reigns supreme.
If you have any other desktop weather apps to recommend, please leave them in the comments!
Photo credit: Flickr, Nicholas T.