Apple has been consciously trying to lower its impact on the environment for the past few years by going carbon neutral. The company is also planning to make all its products carbon-neutral by 2030.

But up until now, the focus has been on trying to reduce Apple’s own carbon footprint on the environment. But with iOS 16, the company is making a move to also reduce its users’ carbon footprint. Apple has announced a new feature known as ‘Clean Energy Charging’ that’ll be a part of iOS 16.

Although the public version of iOS 16 has already released, the feature wasn’t a part of the first iteration. The feature did grace the iOS 16.1 developer beta, though. And it stands to reason that the feature should come to users once iOS 16.1 releases for the public or at least by the end of 2022.

What is Clean Energy Charging?

The Clean Energy Charging feature attempts to reduce the carbon footprint of the iPhone. It does so by optimizing the charging for times when the power grid is using cleaner energy sources.

iPhone will learn from your daily charging routine and accordingly use the feature to suspend charging if it can on higher grid loads. But it will reach full charge by the time you need to use it. Since iOS first needs to learn your charging routines, the reduction in the carbon footprint might not be immediate.

But seeing that iPhone already has a feature that learns from your daily charging routines, it might not take too long either. We’re talking about ‘Optimized Battery Charging’ which focuses on preserving the iPhone’s battery health. Even though the focus of the two features is different, the underlying learning technology could be the same. Of course, it’s all just speculation at this point as there isn’t much information available on the feature.

But an analysis of the iOS 16 code by 9to5Mac does provide some insight. They say that the iPhone will download the information about the carbon emission from the local load balancing data based on the device’s location. It also downloads the carbon emission forecast from a server. By combining this information, iOS 16 can determine when the power grid will be using cleaner energy sources and wait to charge the phone then.

It might seem like a small step, but when the load from hundreds of thousands of iPhones will be reduced at times when the load on grids is high, the impact will surely add up. Notably, there have been many concerns about the power grid capacity in the states like Texas and California in the US recently. So, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Note: The feature is only available in the United States initially.

How to Enable Clean Energy Charging

It looks like the feature is enabled by default in iOS 16.1 developer’s beta. But that could change by the time the feature is available publically. Regardless, it’s extremely easy to enable/ disable the feature. THe feature should be available on all devices running iOS 16.

Open the Settings app on your iPhone and scroll down. Then, tap the option for ‘Battery’.

Tap the option for ‘Battery Health & Charging’.

Now, turn on the toggle for ‘Clean Energy Charging’ to enable it and turn it off to disable it.

Seeing that the choice to use the feature lies with the users is why we initially said that Apple is attempting to reduce the carbon footprint for its users and not its devices. In my opinion, though, it would be inherently selfish to not use Clean Energy Charging, if it’s available in your region.