Details on iOS 16’s ‘Clean Energy Charging’ feature

Apple finally made iOS 16 available to all users on Monday, and the update comes with long-awaited features such as the new, customizable lock screen, as well as improvements to apps like Music, Mail, and Messages. The company also quietly announced a new feature called “Clean Energy Charging” coming later this year. Read on as we detail how this feature is supposed to work.

At the bottom of the iOS 16 press release shared by Apple today, the company mentions a new feature named “Clean Energy Charging” that has never been discussed before. According to a brief description from Apple, the new option will reduce the iPhone’s carbon footprint by optimizing charging times.

Here’s what the company says:

Clean Energy Charging aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the iPhone by optimizing charging times for when the grid is using cleaner energy sources.

There are no further official details about how Clean Energy Charging will work. However, 9to5Mac found some tidbits about this feature by analyzing the iOS 16 code.

How Clean Energy Charging could work

The latest version of iOS has a new daemon (a process that runs in the background) that collects carbon emission data from the local load balancing authority (like the US EIA) based on the device’s location. Then, iOS also downloads a carbon emission forecast from a server. With all this data combined, the system controls when Clear Energy Charging goes into action.

As a result, iOS 16 will wait to charge the iPhone at a time when power grids are less constrained and more clean energy capacity is available. With recent concerns about power grid capacity in US states like Texas and California, this feature couldn’t come at a better time – and will certainly be very useful for other Apple products as well.

iOS already has some other charging optimization features, but these are focused on preserving the health of the iPhone’s internal battery by holding the charge at 80% overnight. It’s unclear when exactly the Clear Energy Charging feature will become available to users, but it’s likely to come with a future iOS 16 update.

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