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5 apps to help you beat Beijing pollution

Great apps for Beijing's smog

Get smart in the smog and use these top pollution apps to help make Beijing's toxic air a little bit more bearable.

Best for eco activism

What is it Real-time pollution monitor.
Use it for Identifying the pollution around you by type and offender.
Best feature Helps you pick greener brands.
Price Free.

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Checking the air quality index to decide whether to venture out or order in is just the tip of the fast-melting iceberg. Pollution Map (Chinese only) can help you change how you see the world around you, how you shop and, through its social sharing feature, even turn you into an eco activist. The app puts air quality on a map and lets you choose which pollutant to focus on, but where it differs from other apps is by marking the polluters themselves. It also assesses and ranks brands as polluters.

Best for drivers

What is it Real-time pollution and traffic monitor.
Use it for Reading AQI levels and avoiding traffic.
Best feature Combines the two worst things about Beijing.
Price Free.

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Someone must have read our minds when they came up with this app. Besides being a trustworthy pollution detector, it also tells you the traffic situation all over the city so you can avoid roads depending on their AQI levels and traffic. The maps (most features Chinese only) are easy to navigate and update in real time according to your location.

Best for a comprehensive overview

3. 33. China Air Quality Index

What is it Pollution monitor.
Use it for Reading every AQI device around you.
Best feature Connects to your own pollution measurement devices.
Price Free.

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This one here is a real multi-tasker. The app tells you the AQI levels in your area, allows you to connect your own monitoring devices and even gives you advice on precautions you should take when the pollution is bad. If you aren’t the sort to religiously watch the news for smog alerts, it will automatically notify you when the air is bad enough to Instagram. It also lets you look back at pollution data from the past two years, which is great if you ever want to depress the hell out of yourself.

Best for joggers

4. 44. Wake Me Run Run

What is it Alarm clock for runners.
Use it for Waking you up earlier on days with minimal pollution.
Best feature Easy usability.
Price 1.99USD.

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Wake Me Run Run is a simple, good-looking alarm clock for air-conscious joggers. It allows you to set two wake-up calls, depending on the pollution. The idea is, if the AQI is low in the morning, it will wake you up early enough to go for a run. If the pollution took a turn for the worse overnight, it wakes you up later. One of the best things about the app is how customisable it is: you can set what level of pollution is too much for you to run in – be it 20 or 400 – and, of course, you set the two alternate wake-up times. It also keeps track of how many times it’s woken you up early to run and how many extra minutes of sleep it’s saved you over time.

Best for making you laugh when you feel like you want to cry

5. Airpocalypse

What is it Pollution detection app with a sense of humour.
Use it for Checking AQI levels.
Best feature Lifts your spirits with funny icons.
Price Free (for now).

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The name of this app is what caught our attention, but its fun design and sharing options are what make us stay. Airpocalypse was designed specifically for China, and supports several major cities in the country. With each AQI warning comes a little gem of a one-liner. Our favourite so far? 'Baijiu for your lungs', aka AQI 360. We're almost looking forward to 600 levels again, just to see what it'll say.

  • 4 out of 5 stars