Apple dedicates a lot of time to touting its environmentalist credentials during its keynote events, so we’re surprised a new iOS 16 feature called Clean Energy Charging was buried in a press release.

At the foot of Apple’s media release to mark the arrival of iOS 16, Apple referenced a previously unannounced iPhone charging feature that will intelligently replenish the phone at times when the grid is using cleaner sources of energy.

The feature will only be available in the US initially, and isn’t within the first release of iOS 16. For now, Apple is only saying the feature exists, but it isn’t providing any detail on how it will work.

The company says: “Clean Energy Charging aims to decrease the carbon footprint of the iPhone by optimising charging times for when the grid is using cleaner energy sources.”

Trusted Reviews has contacted Apple for news on how the feature works, and will update this report if a response is forthcoming. However, a 9to5Mac report hypothesises it could be possible via the iPhone downloading a carbon emissions forecast from the local power grid.

From there, it would be possible to hold back on charging the iPhone until the forecast is lower and hence more clean energy is available. Apple already charges the iPhone in a way that is designed to protect the battery health, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine that, given access to other external information, it could do the same here.

Earlier this year, Trusted Reviews added sustainability criteria to reviews. This means we request information from the manufacturer on using sustainable materials, repairability and recyclability. We’ll be watching this development from Apple closely.

“Global warming and the impact humanity has on the planet is one of the biggest challenges we currently face. Which is why as a publication it’s important we factor it into our coverage and help readers understand the impact each device they buy, and we review, has on the environment,” said Trusted Reviews Editor-in-Chief Alastair Stevenson back in July..



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