Smartphones are great! Now, if only the damn batteries could last for a whole day! If you are like most smartphone users, you probably charge your phone several times a day. Most people don’t give much thought to it, but how you charge your phone matters a lot to its battery’s lifespan. Your charging habits may be the reason why your battery doesn’t seem to last as long as it once did.
Most people think that charging their phones in short bursts damages the battery. However, this is not true, and most people don’t know the half of bad charging habits. Here are tips on how to properly charge your phone so that the battery lasts longer.
Understanding How Phone Batteries Degrade
You will be in a better position of caring for your phone’s battery if you understand how it degrades. Lithium-ion batteries degrade with every charging cycle. Charging the battery from 0% to 100% accounts for a full charging cycle, and charging it in short bursts accounts for a fraction of a charging cycle. The battery’s capacity to store energy degrades by about 20% after about 400 cycles. However, bad charging habits accelerate degradation.
So, which is the proper way to charge a phone’s battery? Take heed of these tips from the experts:
Avoid Full Charging Cycles
There is an unfounded assumption that a phone’s battery should be completely drained and then charged to full capacity. This is one of the worst mistakes you can make.
Draining your phone’s battery to 0% and charging it to full capacity in one cycle stresses the battery. The stress on the battery builds up over time and causes it to degrade faster than it should. Experts recommend plugging your phone in once the battery capacity falls to at least 20%. It is also recommended to avoid charging the phone to 100% as this is also a cause of stress – experts recommend unplugging it when it gets to about 90%.
Stick to Short Charges
Contrary to the general assumption, charging your phone several times a day doesn’t kill the battery. In fact, this is the recommended charging method. Were it practical, it would be prudent to charge your phone every time the battery loses 10% of its charge. However, the more practical thing would be to charge the phone every time the battery gets to about 50%. Again, avoid charging it to full capacity – experts say that 50% is the most ideal charge capacity for a lithium-ion battery.
Charging your battery in short bursts not only increases its lifespan, but it also improves its efficacy. This is because applications that demand too much power perform optimally when the phone is directly plugged into a power outlet. As such, always have a portable charger with you to charge whenever you get an opportunity.
Unplug When Fully Charged
Many people leave their phones charging overnight. This may be convenient for you, but it is one of the worst things you can do for the battery.
As mentioned, charging your phone to full capacity only serves to stress it. Leaving the phone plugged in when already fully charged compounds this stress and makes the battery degrade much faster. This is because the battery begins recharging in short, quick bursts (more than recommended) to stay at the 100% point.
However, newer phones feature safeguards that protect the battery when fully charged by automatically cutting off the internal charging system. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t leave the phone to charge to full capacity in the first place.
Avoid Fast Charging
If given the option, most smartphone users would prefer fast charging. It may be convenient, but it is bad for the battery because it places too much strain on it. Experts recommend slow charging as it is safest for the battery.
Unless the fast charger you are using came with the phone, stick to the original battery. Your phone’s original charger is designed to deliver a certain voltage that the battery and charging system can handle. Fast chargers deliver high voltages that may ruin not only the battery but also other systems. Additionally, charging through a computer and other USB outlets is generally not recommended.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Extreme heat or cold is never good for your phone’s battery as it strains it and shortens its lifespan. Extreme heat is also potentially dangerous as it can cause the battery to blow up. Sometimes you will notice the battery starts to get hot when charging. If and when this happens, unplug it for a while and take the phone’s cover off until the battery cools down. Additionally, try to keep the phone warm at room temperature during winter.
Limit Battery Usage
As mentioned, a phone’s battery degrades depending on the number of charging cycles it goes through. If you drain your battery often, you will need to charge it more often, which will further its degradation. However, you will not need to charge it often if you use it sparingly.
There are many ways to reduce your phone’s energy usage. You should start by restricting access to apps that consume too much power. Most of these applications usually run in the background without your knowledge. As such, navigate to your phone’s settings and access the battery’s details to see which apps use the most power. Delete, disable, or close these apps depending on their relevance. For instance, the Facebook app hogs all your phone’s resources, including the battery.
You should also consider installing a dark theme that will use power sparingly. Additionally, always keep the screen’s brightness down unless visibility is affected, and reduce the screen timeout period to at most one minute. Finally, download premium energy-saving apps that will monitor other apps that use too much energy and limit usage automatically.
Smartphone makers have a long way to go to make better batteries. For now, you will have to settle for taking better care of your phone’s battery so that it can last longer. These six tips have been tested and proven to work, so try them out and see how well your battery works when given the proper maintenance.