Some Complain That iPhones Are Too Smart and Too Woke

Brian McCowan, Zondits staff, 3/27/2023

“Apple is forcing its ESG bull**** on its users. Don’t let them dictate how you use your $1000 phone,” tweets one angry consumer. Another tweets, “I only want to charge when coal and oil are being used to generate electricity.” 

Those tweets are in reaction to the news that newer Apple iPhones activate slower charging rates when its software determines that the phone charger is connected to a source that does not meet a predetermined standard for clean power content. The Clean Energy Charging feature was introduced this past October and is included in the iPhone power settings and can be disabled by the user. But what has some users annoyed is that the default setting for the feature is the clean power setting. 

The debate has apparently been raging for some time on social media platforms, but the story has only recently been picked up by larger print and online outlets such as the New York Post and the Washington Examiner. Opinions and concerns regarding the feature are falling largely along ideological lines, with conservative media objecting to the controls, while news outlets with an environmental bent tend to praise Apple for the proactive initiative: 

“Apple’s switch to Clean Energy Charging might not make much of a difference to you as an individual, but because the installed base of iPhones is so huge, the impact can be equally massive. What Apple is doing is making it easier for iPhone users to become more aware of their role in reducing carbon emissions,” Sarah Jameson of Green Building Elements told Lifewire via email. “It serves as a reminder of the importance of reducing carbon emissions and that even the most mundane activities, such as charging your phone when power grids are less constrained and more clean energy capacity is available, are significant in the grand scheme of things.” Lifewire.

“The cult of climate change has come to Apple, it would appear. The complications of clean energy may now play a role in how your iPhone charges and some folks are not too happy about that, given that it could result in slower charging times. The important factor here being that the feature is optional — for now, anyway.” American Wire, which describes itself as a, “news service dedicated to bringing our readers accurate, reliable news, commentary, and information from a conservative perspective.” 

According to Apple, the clean charging mode works in conjunction with Optimized Battery Charging, which Apple says learns a user’s charging habits. The clean energy feature uses local electric generation data to determine when power is being distributed from clean sources. The phone prioritizes charging during those times. They further explain that the feature is designed to activate when the phone is charging for longer time periods at the owners’ home base and does not affect charging when the phone is traveling. 

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