Good Android Weather App That Doesn't Use Much Battery
By Ashley Poland
Weather apps drain your Android phone's battery not because of their visual design, but because of the way that they collect and report data. More minimalist apps with fewer features will draw less power, but you can customize most weather apps to draw less power. The main feature that impacts your Android phone's is the GPS function, which affects several apps -- not just weather.
Why Weather Apps Drain Your Battery
Weather apps impact your battery life in how they determine your location and how they refresh. Most weather apps use your phone's built-in GPS to determine your location, though they can also use your cellular connection to pin down where you are. Especially when you're travelling, this constant searching and refreshing drains your battery. If you disable a phone's ability to track your location, it decreases the load on the battery.
Stock Weather App
Your Android device has a weather application built in: it's part of the stock "Clock" app and gives you basic weather information based on The Weather Channel reports. If you don't need constant updates or warnings about your local weather, this may be the way to go. You can set your location instead having the GPS determine your location -- thus reducing GPS drain on your battery. You can also set a low refresh interval, anywhere from half an hour to one day. This setting allows you to refresh manually when you need updated information.
Well-Rated Weather Apps
What makes a good Android weather app varies among users. GO Weather Forecast has a four-and-a-half star rating in the Google Play Store, while The Weather Channel trails behind it at four stars. Users who prefer flat, minimalist graphics may prefer the look of Nice Weather -- but the app doesn't allow you to turn off location detection or change the refresh rate. Weather Underground is often praised for its accuracy, but the interface is more cartoonish than that of other apps. (Find links to these apps in Resources.)
No matter which app you choose, you can optimize the app to use less battery, provided that the app provides the option. Some apps, such as Nice Weather, don't allow you to change your GPS and refresh settings. Weather Underground allows you to set the refresh rate as low as every 24 hours. GO Weather Forecast allows you to turn off the auto update feature entirely, so that it only updates when you launch the app. You can conserve battery life across the board if you disable the GPS feature on your phone.
Ashley Poland has been writing since 2009. She has worked with local online businesses, supplying print and web content, and pursues an active interest in the computer, technology and gaming industries. In addition to content writing, Poland is also a fiction writer. She studied creative writing at Kansas State University.