Although the United States generally does not have the worst overall pollution, air quality can drastically change from one day to another. If you are particularly sensitive to air pollution, there are apps that show how clean or polluted the air is in your area, as well as cities you plan to travel to, but Apple makes these apps less relevant to a new feature in Apple Maps.
Starting with iOS 12.2 (still in beta), Apple Maps will allow you to view the air quality index for an area in the United States. With the enabled, you see a colored AQI label at the bottom right of the map, under the current weather conditions, giving the reported air quality for the specific location on the screen.
Air quality data in Apple Maps is provided by Apple's Weather app, which adds air quality values and health issues to IOS 12. These data come from the Weather Channel, Apple's weather partner, which collects data from various sources, primarily EPA's AirNow system , as well as the state and local authorities.
To enable the function in IOS 12.2, open the Settings app for your iPhone and then tap "Maps" in the list. Then look for the new Climate section and then switch to "Air Quality Index". Interestingly, it is also to switch to "Weather conditions", which should be on, by default. Apple had not previously made it possible to enable or disable the weather icon superimposed on maps.
Now that you zoom into a city or neighborhood you see AQI value and its associated color. The scale ranges from 0 to 500, with zero the purest air and 500 being the most dangerous to your health. And the color of the AQI label on the map corresponds to the value, the green is the safest and reddish brown is the most dangerous.
According to the EPA, the AQI score is calculated using five air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act. These include ground level ozone, particle pollution (or particulate matter), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
- 0-50, Green : Considered good with satisfactory conditions and air pollution at little or no
- 50-100, Yellow : Considered moderate, with some impurities in the air causing health aspects for only a small number of highly sensitive individuals, such as those sensitive to ozone.
- 101-150, Orange : Considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. The public must not feel any effects, but older adults, children and people with lung disease are exposed to the ozone effect. Even the same people, as well as those with heart disease, are at greater risk of particles present in the air.
- 150-200, Red : Was considered unhealthy for everyone. You can begin to experience harmful health effects when exposed, and sensitive individuals may experience more serious effects.
- 201-300, Lila : Considered very unhealthy, where everyone exposed to polluted air indoors and outdoors is at risk for serious health effects.
- 301-500, Maroon : Considered dangerous. Basically, do not go out without protective gloves, as this is an emergency, with all likely to suffer from serious health issues.
From now on pressing 3D on the weather / AQI icon in a map view, you will still only see it general weather forecast for that day – without any predicted air quality reports. But since iOS 12.2 is still in beta, it can be changed in the final stable release.