Apple’s iPhone 15 launch event had a big focus on the company’s move toward carbon neutrality, but it also introduced a new smart home feature that can help you leave a lighter footprint on the planet.
Arriving with iOS 17, Grid Forecast is a new tool in the Apple Home app that shows you when your electrical grid has relatively clean or less clean energy sources available. This could help you decide when to run your tumble dryer or charge your EV to take advantage of “cleaner” energy when you have higher consumption.
Grid Forecast is available in the Home app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch devices running this fall’s soon-to-be-released updates, with iOS 17 set for a public launch on September 18th. It is also available as an iOS widget or a watch face complication and will work in the contiguous United States.
Using cleaner energy — energy generated by wind or solar or electricity produced using lower emissions — can reduce your impact on the climate when you use electricity in your home.
While Apple’s first implementation of this feature is entirely manual — you need to look at the Home app or turn on notifications to know when the energy is cleaner — it’s feasible it could be tied into automation if and when Apple supports energy management features natively in its smart home platform.
The smart home is in a unique position to help automate this type of energy management, and there are already smart home solutions that allow you to do things like program your EV to charge or your dishwasher to run when energy is cheaper and/or cleaner.
Apple already has a clean energy charging feature it introduced with iOS 16.1 that aims to charge your phone when cleaner energy is available. So, automating smart home devices to do the same should be a natural next step. Even Microsoft can schedule your Windows Update for a time when more green energy is available.
Other smart home platforms are way ahead of Apple here. Samsung’s SmartThings Energy is a service that lets you view real-time energy usage from your connected appliances and provides tips on ways to reduce energy use. Samsung recently added AI features that can automate some energy-saving features and integrate with the Electricity Maps service to show real-time information about your energy sources and their carbon intensity, helping you better manage your carbon footprint.
Apple says Grid Forecast uses data that combines grid, emissions, and weather information to show you in a simple graphic when energy is clean or less clean. It’s a good start for home energy management, but adding the ability to automate how and when your home uses this clean energy is essential to make this more than just another data point.
Screenshots by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge
Update: Wednesday, September 13th, 10:12AM: Added original screenshots showing how the Grid Forecast feature works.