Clean Energy Charging: Explained
iOS 16.1 introduced a new feature for the iPhone that largely went unnoticed. It’s called Clean Energy Charging. There was no fanfare, no press release, and not much mention of it in the update notes.
However, Clean Energy Charging is a bigger deal than you might think. Here’s why.
What is Clean Energy Charging?
When your iPhone is connected to a charger, and Clean Energy Charging is enabled, Apple will use location data from your device to predict the carbon emissions on your local power grid.
It uses this information to charge your iPhone during times of clean energy production. This means it may delay charging your device until a time when lower carbon emissions are being produced.
Your iPhone learns your charging habits over time. So, if you always charge your phone when you go to bed and take it off the charger at the same time every morning, your iPhone remembers that. It knows when you need it to be charged and will use Clean Energy Charging to help accomplish that.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to reduce your carbon footprint and be kinder to the environment.
How to Enable Clean Energy Charging
Before we get too far in the weeds, this feature is only available to iPhone users in the United States. Apple has not said whether it plans to bring this to other countries or not, but it does have a track record of launching things on a smaller scale and expanding the reach over time.
The next thing you need to know is that Clean Energy Charging is on by default. If you have updated to iOS 16.1, or later, you already have this feature enabled. You can find it by going to Settings > Battery > Battery Health & Charging > Clean Energy Charging.
In order for Clean Energy Charging to work, you also need to have the following settings turned on:
- Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > On
- Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > System Services > System Customization > On
- Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > System Services > Significant Locations > On
Most of these options are already on by default. However, if you’re the kind of person who digs around in the Settings app to fine tune your iPhone, then these are worth looking at if you want to use Clean Energy Charging.
Which iPhones Support Clean Energy Charging?
Any iPhone that can be updated to iOS 16 can take advantage of this new energy saving feature. More specifically, if you have an iPhone 8 or newer, Clean Energy Charging is available to you as an over the air software update. Just go to Settings > General > Software Update to get it.
Can I Override it if I Need to?
Obviously, this feature is not always going to be convenient. There are always going to be times when you need power now. Thankfully, Apple has already thought about that.
When charging has been delayed because of Clean Energy Charging, there will be a notification to tell you this on your lock screen. You can press and hold on that notification to reveal an option to “Charge Now”.
Why Clean Energy Charging Matters
So, why does this matter? How much difference will it actually make to the environment? Probably more than you might think.
The environmental impact that one individual will make with Clean Energy Charging is nothing short of lilliputian. However, Apple sells millions of iPhones every year. When you multiply that tiny impact by millions, the overall effect starts to look a lot bigger.
Will some people disable this feature? I’m sure they will, but remember, this is on by default. The vast majority of iPhone users won’t even know it exists. And if Apple does its job in choosing intelligent times to charge, these people won’t even notice.
Apple is a company that has long sought to reduce its environmental impact. The company has been carbon-neutral since 2020, and is on track to make all of its products carbon-neutral by 2030.
Apple has used recycled materials for years, and also works with environmental groups all over the world to help lower carbon emissions.
When viewed in this light, Clean Energy Charging is just another piece in the puzzle. By itself, it won’t change the world, but when viewed as part of a bigger picture, it helps underline Apple’s continued commitment to environmental change.
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