A new feature from Apple is designed to reduce the carbon footprints of iPhone users.

A customer shops Apple products in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some iPhone users may be greeted by an unexpected new notification when trying to charge their devices. 

A new feature introduced with iOS 16.1 called Clean Energy Charging attempts to reduce the carbon footprint on an iPhone by only charging the device when lower carbon-emission electricity is available, according to Apple.

When users have Clean Energy Charging enabled and their phones connected to a charger, the device gets a “forecast” of the carbon emissions produced by the local energy grid, according to Apple. This data is used to charge iPhones during times when cleaner energy production is occurring. 

Clean Energy Charging is only available in the U.S. The feature is turned on by default when a new iPhone is set up or when a device is updated to iOS 16.1. 

It can be turned off by going into the settings menu, finding the “battery” section, and then hitting a subsection called “Battery Health & Charging.”

Even if it is enabled, Clean Energy Charging will not always kick in. Clean Energy Charging works with another feature called Optimized Battery Charging to learn each user’s charging habits. Clean Energy Charging only engages at the places a user spends the most time and where they regularly charge their phone for long periods of time, according to Apple, such as at home or at work. Clean Energy Charging will not start if a user’s charging habits vary frequently, or if they are in a new location. 

Since the feature relies on local carbon-emission information, users will have to turn on some location settings. 

Within the “Privacy & Security” section of an iPhone’s settings, users will need to find the “Location Services” subsection and make sure that “Location Services” are turned on. 

Also within the “Location Services” subsection, users will need to hit “System Services” and make sure that “System Customization” is on. 

Finally, within “System Services,” users will have to make sure “Significant Locations” is turned on. 

If users need to charge their phones quickly, Clean Energy Charging can be overridden easily. When the feature suspends charging, users will see a notification on their screen that estimates when the iPhone will be fully charged. Touching and holding the notification will prompt an option to come up that says “Charge Now.” 


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