Apple may have just released iOS 16, but it’s already revealing features that will arrive in its next smartphone update.
In a blog celebrating the release of iOS 16 (which didn’t just come to the new iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, but many of the best iPhones you can buy today), Apple highlighted many of the new features it brings, including customizable lock, an undo button in iMessage and battery percentages in the status bar. But at Page footer (opens in new tab)also discussed features coming in a future iOS 16 update.
One such feature is Clean Energy Charging, which will supposedly reduce your iPhone’s carbon footprint.
Apple claims it will do this by “optimizing load times for when the grid is using cleaner energy sources”. While not much more detailed, we imagine it will be similar to Apple’s existing Optimized Battery Charging feature, which allows the iPhone to change its charging rates so that it doesn’t overcharge overnight and shorten your device’s battery life. Instead of watching your iPhone’s overall charge, your device will change its charging rates based on the power sources that the electrical grid is currently using.
This feature will obviously require Apple to know quite a bit about your country’s electrical grid, so at launch it will only be available in the US.
Analysis: Will It Really Make Your iPhone Greener?
On an individual level, we imagine it won’t do much, but on a larger scale, we can see some decent-sized impacts.
According to Compare the market (opens in new tab), charging your phone in North America releases approximately 0.62 kg of carbon dioxide each year. Based on Statista data for 2021 (opens in new tab) 47% of people with smartphones in the US use an iPhone (that’s 113 million iPhones in total). Put it all together and that means iPhone users release around 70 million kg of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.
Based on EPA data (opens in new tab) this pollution is the same as the combined carbon footprint of 15,000 gasoline-powered cars a year – which is equivalent to driving 173,754,389 miles.
It’s unclear how much improvement clean energy charging will make, but if it achieves, say, a 50% reduction in iPhone charging emissions, that’s the same as taking 7,500 cars off the road, which isn’t terrible. We’ll have to wait and see how effective the initiative is when it launches, but we suspect that if it succeeds in reducing emissions, Apple will be quick to tell us just how awesome the feature is at Apple’s next event, and then I hope to bring it to other regions as well.