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There's always a slight sense of fear when one of our favorite apps gets the iOS 7 treatment. Our finger hovers just a second longer over the flattened icon as we brace ourselves for what awaits us inside, hoping that the new guidelines haven't messed with any of the functionality. AccuWeather epitomizes these concerns. With a ground-up redesign that strips away everything that previously set it apart from its competitors, the popular weather app has reinvented itself with version 7, but far too much of its new identity feels cribbed and undeveloped.
AccuWeather is so different that the first time we used it after the iOS 7 overhaul, we thought we had opened the wrong app. Where the prior version used tabs for navigation, the new one presents all of its information on a single screen. There's still a ton of data—including everything about the current conditions and an outrageous 25-day forecast (available via a $2.99 in-app purchase that also removes ads)—but since there's no way to hide or rearrange any of the elements, getting through all of it requires a fair amount of scrolling. Furthermore, it's difficult to tell which parts of the forecast listing are expandable, and the ones that are didn't always respond to our taps.
Still, there are some good pieces here. One of the best features we've ever used in a weather app is MinuteCast, which provides an interactive, two-hour forecast targeted to your specific location. (Snow will end in 38 minutes? Great to know.) And while much of the design feels like a variation on popular contemporaries, AccuWeather manages to put an original stamp on things with some unique graphics and layout choices.
As we said, there’s loads of data still here for weather buffs, but the app's overall presentation makes things seem amateurish compared to the old version. For example, AccuWeather used to be our go-to app for storm watches and warnings, but the new version has ditched the official Weather Service releases for abridged summaries.
The bottom line. AccuWeather may still be one of the most accurate weather apps around, but its iOS 7 overhaul leaves us flapping in the wind.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 7.0 or later
Extremely detailed and informative weather stats. Nice graphics and transition animations. Hyperlocal MinuteCast is one of the best weather tools we’ve ever used.
Heavy scrolling makes it difficult to quickly get an overview of weather conditions. Useful data gets lost amidst the frustrating layout and navigation. Design seems derivative of other notable weather apps in spots.