How To View Your Location's Air Quality Index From Your Mac's Menu Bar

Stanford University (Photo: Jason O. Watson, Getty Images)

You really have no reason to think about air quality unless there’s a problem. And when there’s a problem, there’s a problem. I live in Northern California, and the tragic Camp Fire has created incredibly unpleasant — if not unsafe — conditions throughout the area.

Photo: AirNow

I had been checking sites like AirNow on a regular basis, but that gets a little tedious and depressing, when you see regular images like the one to the right. (Red means the air quality is pretty bad; purple means it’s really bad.)

Thankfully, software engineer Gabriel Lewis wrote a little app a few days ago that drops the air quality index directly in your Mac’s menu bar. All you have to do is supply a zip code, and the app — simply called “Air” — will refresh on a regular basis with your area’s air quality index. The number will even change colours to help you figure out whether conditions are great (green) or problematic (red) at a glance.

Considering the recent dust storm in Sydney this would have been a great little app to have.

Screenshot: David Murphy, Air

As I type this, it’s slowly starting to rain where I live in Northern California, which means that the air has gotten a lot better since yesterday, and the Air app’s notification has turned green. My lungs hope it stays that way for a few days, at least.


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