Depending on where you live, air quality can be a daily concern. Wildfires, pollen, and pollution can affect the air quality in your area. Here’s how to check the Air Quality Index on your Android phone or tablet.
There are plenty of apps and services out there for checking your local Air Quality Index. iPhones and iPad can check with Apple Maps. It’s not quite that simple for Android devices, but there are still ways to do it quickly and easily.
What Is the Air Quality Index?
The Air Quality Index is a scale used to rate the quality of the air. In the United States, the Air Quality Index is defined by the EPA. The scale runs from 0-500 and has six different color-coded levels.
The rating takes five different pollutants into consideration: ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. The goal is to give you a simple metric for understanding the air quality at any given time.
Check Air Quality with Google Assistant
If you use an Android smartphone or tablet, there’s a very good chance it already has Google Assistant. You can use the Google Assistant to check your local air quality without installing any apps.
There are a number of different ways to launch Google Assistant. Say “OK, Google” or “Hey, Google” if that’s how you normally do it. Some devices can launch Assistant with a swipe from the bottom left or right corner, which is what we’ll use.
Once the Google Assistant is listening, say “What’s the air quality?”
Google will tell you it can use a service called “AirCheck.” This service is a Google Assistant action, and it won’t install anything on your phone. Say “Yes” to bring AirCheck into the conversation.
AirCheck will open and ask for a location. Say “What’s the air quality in [your location]?”
You’ll get a readout for the air quality index and then AirCheck will leave the conversation.
To bypass all of this conversation the next time you open Google Assistant, simply say “Ask AirCheck about [your location].”
Download an Air Quality App
There are dozens of apps in the Google Play Store for checking your air quality. Some of the apps are only for specific locations, while others are for general use. One app that we like is “Plume Labs: Air Quality App.”
The Plume Labs app is free to download and doesn’t contain ads or in-app purchases. You can add multiple locations, choose the Air Quality Index for your country, get alerts about air quality, and even see air quality on a map in select major cities.
If you live in the United States, another good app to check out is the official app from the EPA. The EPA “AIRNow” app is free and without ads. You can add multiple locations, see a forecast for the week, and view the primary pollutant.
These tools can be invaluable if air quality is something that affects your daily life. Never leave the house again without knowing the conditions!
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