Apple has installed a new feature on its phones - unbeknownst to almost all of its customers - that charges them slowly when ‘clean’ energy sources are not available.
Millions of iPhone owners who updated to Apple’s latest operating system over the last six months may have noticed that their phones are charging a little slower than usual since they did so. For that, they can thank the climate team at Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters.
Apple installed a new feature on those phones - Clean Energy Charging - and automatically signed up all users for the service. When activated, the feature allows users to reduce their carbon footprint by charging the phone more slowly when renewable sources of energy, such as solar or wind power, are not widely available on the electric grid.
“When Clean Energy Charging is enabled and you connect your iPhone to a charger,” Apple says, “your iPhone gets a forecast of the carbon emissions in your local energy grid and uses it to charge your iPhone during times of cleaner energy production.”
Apple touts it as a feature. Many users, who might have been baffled as to why their phones weren’t charging very quickly, are calling it a bug. Apple says the option is only available on iPhones in the United States.