Last year, I wrote about how I built a bunch of scripts to notify me about my local air quality. Well, it’s summer again, and wildfires are back—and with wildfires comes polluting wildfire smoke.

It can be really useful to get a quick read on the outdoor air quality, especially if you’re considering whether it’s safe to go for a run or even open a window. Fortunately, in the intervening year a few apps have arrived on the scene to make it easier to do just that.



Clockwise from upper left: Breathable (medium), Breathable (small), Paku (Weather style), Paku (colorful), my own Scriptable widget, AirLookout (PurpleAir), AirLookout (AirNow).

Breathable is an iOS app that creates a widget you can place on your iPhone or iPad. The widget is customizable via the app, including an option to display an emoji instead of an AQI number. That’s actually smart—it’s so easy to focus on the number, but it’s the gross quality level that’s important, not the specific number. (Unfortunately, Breathable doesn’t seem to be using the AQI adjustment calculation put out by the EPA to describe smoke from fires, so its numbers don’t quite match some other tools.)

Setting up Breathable isn’t simple, because it relies on two separate air-quality sources—and you as the user need to sign up for at least one of them.…

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