Welp, I can kiss that $3.99 goodbye.
Dark Sky, the excellent weather app that Apple bought last March, is doomed—which we already knew. What we didn’t know until now was the possible execution date for the iOS app. In a June 7 update posted to the Dark Sky website, the company announced: “Support for the Dark Sky API service for existing customers will continue until the end of 2022. The iOS app and Dark Sky website will also be available until the end of 2022.”
That last sentence there should stop you from clicking the download button in the App Store—unless you don’t mind buying an app with an apparent expiration date. (We’ve reached out to Apple to clarify whether the iOS app will cease to function after 2022 or simply be unsupported, which is just a slower form of death.)
Anyone could have seen this coming, especially after this week’s WWDC keynote, in which Apple announced a slew of changes coming in iOS 15, including an updated Weather app that incorporates some of the best features from Dark Sky—itself an obvious thing to expect after Apple spent some secret amount of money to buy the whole company and proceeded to shut down the Android version last August.
All of this is why I, a technology journalist who should know all these details off the top of my head, feel like a dumbass. I recently purchased Dark Sky ahead of a camping trip, so I could have the best possible information about the weather before sleeping outdoors for a week in the middle of Pennsylvania. And while the app truly is great—accurate weather, great design and UX—I can’t say I’ve used it enough to justify spending even a measly $4 on it.
The June 7 update isn’t all bad news, however—at least not for developers who use the Dark Sky API, and the users who benefit from it. Dark Sky originally said its API would only remain available until the end of this year. As iOS developer David Smith, one of the first people to spot this week’s update, noted, that extends the Dark Sky API’s life for an additional year.
Of course, this whole situation is just another reminder that we don’t truly own anything anymore—we’re simply renting the digital goods we pay for until someone somewhere decides to take them away. So, if you recently downloaded Dark Sky, all I can say is, enjoy it while it lasts.
Update 3:40 pm ET, June 10: An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on how, exactly, the death of Dark Sky as a standalone app and website will play out, so we’ll just have to wait and see.