As Canada battles a summer of forest fires, I’ve been using the default iPhone Weather app a lot more to check air quality, and it’s pretty great.
While the Apple Weather app might be one of the best in the biz, it can feel unfamiliar since it’s been updated a few times in the past few years.
Most of the time, it presents users with an hourly forecast, followed by the daily. Tapping on any of these days bring up more option, and often the app will adapt to tell you relevant information at the top of the page. If it’s about to rain, the app will warn you, and if the air is harmful, Apple surfaces air quality index information.
However, the rest of the time, it’s a little trickier to find.
Generally, you tap on the Air Quality tile in the app, which gives you a snapshot of the radar and information about what pollutants are in your area.
To get around this, you have to open the radar tile. Apple has only made one radar interface that you can interact with, and in most cases, the default state shows ‘Precipitation.’ However, tapping to expand the function has a suite of options, including ‘Temperature,’ ‘Air Quality’ and ‘Wind.’ You access these by tapping on the icon in the top right that looks like a stack of three squares.
At of the time of writing, the air in Toronto is sitting at an 8 out of 11, so the app is surfacing the Air Quality radar instead of the rain map. Still, most of the time, I have to open the Precipitation radar and toggle over to Air Quality.
If you don’t have an iPhone or don’t want to use Apple’s weather app, you can also head straight to the Government of Canada website to check the air quality near you. By default, it shows a list of the biggest Canadian cities, but you can filter by province or territory and select an area closer to where you live. Additionally, this website lets you track smoke from wildfires via a radar interface, which is helpful for checking when (and how long) smoke will impact where you live.