Best Tide App for iPhone

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The AyeTides App

AyeTides

Several tides apps are available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. It’s a great idea and a handy way to keep track of the tides without carrying around printed tide charts for every location. A good tide app is especially useful when you’re cruising to different areas and need accurate information on local tides - and potentially water currents as well.

Shown here is a standard tide table screen from AyeTides, arguably the best standalone tide app for sailors in the U.S. In addition to high and low tides, it shows sun and moon rise and setting times. Near the top you see the water height at the present moment and the arrow indicating a falling tide. (Scroll sideways to move days forward or backward.) This is just the beginning of what AyeTides does, however.

Most important for choosing a tide app is its specificity for your area. The Tides Planner 10 app, for example, has only 3 tides stations for the entire Massachusetts coast; my own area is anywhere from 30 to 75 minutes different from itsnearest tide readings in Boston. In contrast, AyeTides automatically checked my current location and offered over 40 tide stations closer than Boston. Choose one as a favorite and the app will open directly to your local tides for the day.

Importantly, AyeTides stores all data on your device - you don’t need connectivity on the boat to have all tide areas at your fingertips.

Continue for more features and other tides apps.

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AyeTides Graph of the Tide

AyeTides Tide Graph
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Shown here is AyeTides’ graph of today’s tides, the clear circle at the top showing the present moment. You can tap or drag the circle around to see the water level at different times.

The app was thoughtfully designed for ease and speed of use. To toggle between the standard table (shown on previous page) and the graph shown here, you don’t need to find any buttons or even touch the screen. Just rotate your iPhone or iPod Touch and the accelerometer makes the change for you. This is especially practical when underway and you just need to make a quick check of current tide level.

Continue for still more features and other tides apps.

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AyeTides Water Current Data

AyeTides Current Data

A real bonus for boaters in tidal areas or rivers is the current information provided by AyeTides. Shown here are today’s currents in a tidal river harbor. You see the time of maximum flood and ebb currents, the times for slack water, and the present status and time before the next change.

And in case you’re in an unfamiliar waters, the data helps you with the direction of the flow for ebb and flood.

Continue for the water current graph function and other tides apps.

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AyeTides Water Current Graph

AyeTides Current Graph

As with the tide table, simply rotate the device to automatically switch to the water current graphic view, shown here. Again, the clear circle shows the current’s present status. Above the graph are the details of time, direction, and expected current velocity.

My own testing so far has shown the current information to be reliable.

A significant benefit of the current data is that boaters can easily and immediately correct the common erroneous assumption that the ebb current begins at high tide and the flood current at low tide. In reality, there is a time lag before the current reverses and starts up again that depending on local factors can be longer than an hour. If you’re guessing about tidal current changes based on high and low tide times, you can be surprised and perhaps caught unaware.

Unfortunately, at this time AyeTides is available only for Apple devices. For Android smartphones and devices, I recommend the Tides & Currents app.

Continue for a comparison with other tides apps.

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Other Tide Apps

Tides Planner 10

Shown here is a tide data screen from the Tides Planner 10 app referred to earlier. The data is simple: the times of today’s high and low tides. Touching the little arrow on the right takes you to a simple graph of the same information.

While the AyeTides app costs $9.99, the Tides Planner 10 app is $4.99 - and you get what you pay for. Presumably Tides Planner has more locations in the U.K. and Europe, but its functionality is still much more limited, and more U.S. tide stations are sorely needed.

The Apple App Store has more than a dozen tide apps at present, varying from free to $49.99 (built into a full navigation app with charts). The Navionics navigation app ($9.99 for most U.S. areas) brings chartplotter functions to your iPhone - but with more functionality, it’s not as simple to quickly determine the tide status.

The next page describes three additional very low-cost tide apps.

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Tide Graph App

Tide Graph App

While the AyeTides app is my preferred stand-alone tides and currents app with good functions and a plentiful tidal stations, other less expensive tide apps may meet your needs. Here are three:

tideApp
  • Free - but may include ads
  • Includes currents
  • Lots of tide stations
  • Not as attractive or as easy to use
  • Can be difficult to differentiate among tide stations with the same names
Tides
  • $0.99
  • Includes currents
  • Auto-selects tide station nearest you
  • Links to maps to show tide station location
  • Requires connectivity for some information (a risk even in some near-shore areas)
Tide Graph
  • $1.99
  • Does not include currents
  • Attractive display (see image above)
  • Fair number of tide stations easily selected

Here's a full review of yet another tide app, the Tidal Chronoscope.

Another nice app to have at hand when sailing is the Boater's Pocket Reference App.