When you’re on the road, there are two main updates you’ll want to get: What’s happening with the traffic around you and what’s happening with the weather around you. Here, we’re going to focus on weather, and in particular, two apps that are now available for the Apple CarPlay system.
These apps offer real time radar views of current weather conditions, right on your car dashboard, so you can stay up to date with conditions on your route. Apple hasn’t made its own weather app available for CarPlay (though you can ask Siri for the forecast), so third-party developers really are plugging a gap here.
Obviously you’re going to need a CarPlay-compatible head unit in your vehicle for these apps to work: You can see a list here. You can connect your iPhone wirelessly or via a cable, and Apple has a dedicated set of instructions you can follow for getting connected.
Assuming that you’ve already got your iPhone successfully hooked up to your car’s dashboard, these two apps will appear in the app list in the CarPlay interface, once you’ve installed them from the App Store on your phone.
Weather on the Way
First up is Weather on the Way. This app has been built specifically with travel in mind. You can use it when you’re not getting navigation instructions, but it comes into its own when you are being directed to a destination, showing you how the weather conditions are likely to change as your journey progresses.
As well as showing you the temperature and weather conditions at key points along a route and handling the job of getting you from A to B, Weather on the Way also comes with radar maps showing precipitation levels and wind speed. It’s a handy way of getting an overview of conditions across a wider region.
When you’re in the navigation mode, you’ll be warned about weather alerts when needed—so if you’re going to hit a storm in 30 minutes, for example, the app will tell you. It’s a really useful option to have on your car dashboard for those journeys where you think the weather might be inclement and cause you one or two problems. And you can even choose routes based on the best weather conditions.
There are no real options to speak of here, just the map view with the option to have a route on screen or not. Using the buttons on the left of the display you can zoom in and out of the map and pan around, and while you’re navigating you can choose to see the route in its entirety or use a more traditional navigation view where the app focuses in on your current position.
You can use Weather on the Way for free, and get weather and temperature updates as you drive without paying anything. If you want to use some of the more advanced features, including the radar view and data such as road visibility, you’ll need to upgrade to a Pro account (from $4.99 a month)—though you can try out the Pro features for free first.
The other CarPlay app we’d like to draw your attention to is MyRadar, which keeps the radar view to the fore. When the app is loaded up on your CarPlay screen, you’ll be able to see current precipitation levels and wind speeds anywhere in the world, including your current location (or your next destination).
Some of the other useful added bonuses in MyRadar are the hyperlocal weather predictions and the rain warnings you can set up: It’s far better to know that there’s a storm rolling in while you’re on the road than be caught by it unexpectedly, and you might even be able to alter your route accordingly.
When you’re driving, you can opt to have the app follow your current position, or stay fixed in one place, and both modes are useful in different ways—for seeing the weather immediately ahead and for getting more of an overview of a broader area. There are a couple of different views to choose between, and a few tweaks you can make to the weather layers shown on screen.
With the app up on your CarPlay screen, the buttons on the left let you move around the map, or return to your current position. When you’re on the move, you can opt to have the map shown from directly overhead, or have it shown at more of an angle, in a view more reminiscent of Apple Maps or Google Maps.
A lot of the features in MyRadar are available to use for free, but you can pay to remove the ads inside the app, and access several advanced features including a hurricane tracker—which works exactly how you might expect. The cost per year varies depending on the features you want, but there is a free trial available.