iOS 16 surprise feature could lower your iPhone 14’s carbon footprint

iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future)

Update: iOS 16.1 second beta just launched — here’s what’s new.

We have been following iOS 16 ever since its preview during WWDC 2022 in June. But even after iOS 16's release yesterday (September 12), Apple still found a way to surprise us with a new feature coming to its iPhone software. 

Later this year, Apple will be debut Clean Energy Charging, an iOS 16 feature that should decrease the carbon footprint of your brand new iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro. Clean Energy Charging does this by optimizing charging times for when the energy grid is using cleaner energy sources. This feature will only be available to U.S. users.

The information we have is pretty vague at this point. For example, there are still no details on when exactly this feature will be available, how it determines when your power grid is using cleaner energy sources or even what “cleaner energy sources” means. Apple also hasn't clarified if Clean Energy Charging will be available on all iOS 16 devices or limited to newer iPhones.

According to a report from 9to5Mac, there's a background process in iOS 16 that can track down carbon emission data from agencies like the U.S. Energy Information Administration based on your iPhone's location. Using a carbon emission forecast, Clean Energy Charging can then determine the optimal time to charge your device.

However Clean Energy Charging works, if it can lower your carbon footprint in any way, that is still better than nothing — especially since you are not paying extra for the capability.

Other features coming to iOS 16 

iOS 16 iCloud Shared Photo Library

(Image credit: Apple)

While a lot of iOS 16 features are now live when you download iOS 16, there are still some promised features that have yet to debut as part of the software update. Most of these features were announced during WWDC 2022 when iOS was unveiled — in fact, Clean Energy Charging was the only feature still to come that was not discussed until recently.

The biggest iOS 16feature still to come is probably iCloud Shared Photo Library. This feature actually showed up in the developer beta, but the final version is still coming. iCloud Shared Photo Library allows you and up to five others to add photos directly into a shared library, where anyone can share and edit images. This makes sharing photos a much easier and more efficient process. Make sure to check out our guide on how to set up an iCloud Shared Photo Library so that when the feature does finally come out you already know exactly what to do. 

iOS 16 debut at WWDC 2022

(Image credit: Apple via YouTube)

Live Activities will also be coming in a future iOS 16 update. Live Activities allows you to stay up to date from your lock screen, so you can follow sports scores, see where your Uber (or Uber Eats) is and more. It was one of our most anticipated hidden iOS 16 features that's awaiting software updates from third-party app makers.

Finally, the last feature in this fall iOS 16 update is support for the Matter smart home standard. This smart home connectivity standard is supported by Google, Apple and Amazon and is aimed at ensuring your smart home devices all work together, regardless of manufacturer. While this may not be the most impactful feature of iOS 16, as we increase our use of smart home devices, it will make a big difference. 

If you want to get the most out of iOS 16 there’s probably no better way than to upgrade to the iPhone 14. Make sure to check out the latest deals on iPhone 14 preorders so you save when you make the switch to the latest iPhone. 

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.