How to Properly Charge a Phone Battery

Why does your phone battery seem to degrade over time? At first, it may have backup power when you snuggle up in bed at the end of the day, but over time you find your battery is only half full by lunchtime.

Part of it is the way you use your phone – the apps you install, the junk you collect, the customizations you make, and more and more notifications you receive – that puts extra strain on the battery. (Read our tips on how to extend battery life.)

Until we have new technologies like smart clothes that optimize wireless performance, we must learn how to charge batteries to keep them healthy for as long as possible.

Cell phone batteries, like all batteries, do degrade over time, meaning they become increasingly incapable of holding the same amount of power. While they should have a lifespan of three to five years or between 500 and 1,000 charge cycles, three-year-old phone batteries will never continue to work as long as new batteries.

Three factors wear down lithium-ion batteries: number of charge cycles, temperature, and age.

However, armed with our tips for battery care best practices, you can keep your smartphone battery healthy even longer.

When should I charge my phone?

The golden rule is to keep your battery between 30% and 90% of the time. Recharge when it drops below 50%, but unplug it before it hits 100%. For this reason, you may want to reconsider leaving it plugged in overnight.

Pushing on final charge from 80-100% causes lithium-ion batteries to age faster.

It’s probably better to recharge in the morning, at your breakfast table or on your office desk. That way, it’s easier to keep track of the battery percentage during charging.

iOS users can use the Shortcuts app to set a notification when the battery level reaches a certain percentage. This is done under the “Automation” tab and then “Battery Level”.

Fully charging your phone isn’t fatal to your phone’s battery, and it might seem counter-intuitive that you wouldn’t do so, but fully charging it every time will shorten its life.

Similarly, at the other end of the scale, avoid letting your phone’s battery go below 20%.

Lithium-ion batteries don’t feel good going too far below the 20% mark. Instead, see the extra 20% “at the bottom” as a buffer for tough days, but on weekdays, start charging when the Low Battery warning appears.

In short, lithium-ion batteries grow best in the average. Don’t let the battery percentage be low but not too high either.

Should I charge my phone to 100%?

No, or at least not every time you charge it. Some people recommend fully charging the battery from 0 to 100% (“charge cycles”) once a month – as this will recalibrate the battery, much like restarting your computer.

But others see this as a myth for current lithium-ion batteries in phones.

To keep your long battery life in good condition, often, small charge is better than full charge.

With iOS 13 and later, Optimized Battery Charging (Settings > Battery > Battery Health) is designed to reduce battery wear and improve its life by reducing the time your iPhone takes to fully charge. When this feature is enabled, your iPhone will delay charging past 80% under certain circumstances, depending on Location Services notifying your phone when it’s at home or work (when you less likely to need a full charge) than when you’re traveling.

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The deeper you discharge a lithium battery, the more stress it puts on the battery. Therefore, frequent recharging will prolong battery life.

See also: The best backup batteries

Should I charge my phone overnight?

As a rule, it’s best to avoid, although it’s very convenient to wake up with a full battery in the morning. Each full charge counts as one ‘cycle’ and your phone is only designed to be used for a set number.

If you charge it overnight, you will definitely miss out when the phone exceeds the magic 80% mark, best for long term longevity.

While most modern smartphones have a built-in sensor to turn off charging at 100% touch, if left on, they will drain a small amount of battery while in standby mode.

What you can get is “trickle charge” when the charger tries to keep the phone at 100% because your phone naturally loses its ability to charge during the night. This means your phone is constantly working between full charge and a little below that full charge – 99% to 100%, and resumes in a longer charging time than required. It can also overheat the phone, damaging the battery.

So charging during the day is better than charging overnight.

Your best policy is to enable Do Not Disturb and Airplane Mode. Better still, you can turn off your phone completely, but that might not be possible if you rely on it as an alarm or want to be ready to take calls at all times.

Some devices are also set to power on once the cable is connected by default. Even during waking hours, it’s best to catch the phone before it hits 100%, or at least not let the charger power a fully charged battery for too long.

If you leave it plugged in for a long time, removing the cover can avoid overheating.

Will fast charging damage my phone?

The majority of modern smartphones support some form of fast charging. However, this often requires you to purchase an additional accessory. The industry standard is Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, which delivers 18W of power.

However, many phone manufacturers have their own fast charging standards, many can provide even faster speeds by tweaking the power management code to require sending high voltage charges. than. Samsung is now selling 45W chargers!

While fast charging by itself won’t harm the phone’s battery, which is designed to support it, the heat generated will potentially affect its lifespan. So you have to balance the advantage of faster charging with the convenience of quickly loading your phone before you head out the door.

Likewise, phone batteries don’t like overheating, nor do they like cold. So it goes without saying that you should avoid leaving your phone in a hot car, on the beach, next to an oven, out in the snow. Typically, batteries operate at their optimum between 20 and 30°C, but short periods beyond this should be fine.

Can I use any phone charger?

If possible, use the charger that came with your phone, as it definitely has the correct rating. Or make sure a third-party charger is approved by your phone manufacturer. Cheap alternatives from Amazon or eBay can harm your phone and there have been several reported cases of cheap chargers actually catching fire.

That said, your phone should only get the power it needs from the USB charger.

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See also: Best USB chargers for your phone and Best wireless chargers.

The battery memory effect: Fact or fiction?

The battery memory effect involves batteries being regularly charged from 20% to 80% and shows that the phone can somehow ‘forget’ the excess 40% that you regularly ignore.

Lithium batteries, in the majority of modern smartphones, are not affected by battery memory, although older nickel-based batteries (NiMH and NiCd) do.

Nickel based will forget their full capacity if they are not discharged and charge from 0 to 100%. However, cycling your lithium-ion battery from 0 to 100% will adversely affect its battery life.

Avoid downloading parasites

If you charge your phone while you’re using it – like while watching a video – you can “mistake” the battery by creating small cycles in which parts of the battery continuously cycle and fail at a rapid rate. faster than the rest of the battery.

Ideally, you should turn off your device while it is charging. More practical, however, just leave it idle while charging.

iPhone battery settings

Phone manufacturer’s battery protection settings

OnePlus there is a battery monitor called “Optimized Charging” from its OxygenOS 10.0. This is enabled in “Settings/Battery”. The smartphone then remembers what time you usually get out of bed in the morning and only completes the crucial last step of charging from 80 to 100% right before you wake up – that is, as late as possible.

Google also offers built-in battery protection for its devices from Pixel 4 onwards. You will find the “Adaptive Charging” function in “Settings / Battery / Smart Battery”. If you use it to charge your device after 9pm and also set the alarm clock from 5am to 10am, you will have a freshly charged smartphone in your hand when you wake up, but the full charge is completed just before the clock alarm rings.

SAMSUNG has charging functionality in select tablets, such as the Galaxy Tab S6 or Galaxy Tab S7. “Battery protection” can be found in “Settings/Device Maintenance/Battery”. When this function is activated, the device only needs to determine the maximum capacity of the battery to be 85%.

Apple The “Optimized battery charging” function is mainly aimed at reducing the amount of time the battery is heavily charged. More than 80 percent full charge is delayed or even not performed in certain situations. It also depends on your location, so energy gaps should be avoided when traveling or on vacation.

Huawei’s The battery assistant is called “Smart Charging” and is available on EMUI 9.1 or Magic UI 2.1. This function can be enabled in “Settings/Battery/Additional Settings”, which means that device charging will stop at 80% at night and only complete before you wake up. Here, usage behavior and, if necessary, alarm clock settings are also included in the planning.

Sony’s The “Battery Care” function is found in the Battery settings for many models. The device learns when and for how long the user connects the charging cable and adjusts the end of charging to coincide with the time when the power is turned off. Sony devices can also be charged with a maximum charge of 80 or 90%.

Keep your phone battery cool

As you might expect, heat is the enemy of batteries. Don’t let it get too hot or too cold – especially while it’s charging. If your phone overheats you will damage its battery so try to keep it cool if possible.

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Charging your phone from a beach outlet on an outdoor deck chair is the worst-case scenario for a dead battery. Try keeping your phone in the shade if you need to charge it on a hot summer day. Window charging can also lead to excess heat. Read how to cool down a hot iPhone.

Cold is also not good for the battery. If you’re hiking in the cold winter, let the phone come to room temperature before plugging in the cable.

Heat and battery do not belong together. Batteries are a bit like humans, at least in the narrow sense that they grow best at around 20-25 degrees.

Battery storage tips

Don’t leave a lithium battery at 0% for too long – if you don’t use it for a while, leave it at about 50% charge.

If you plan to leave the phone for a long time, first charge it to about 40-80% and then turn it off.

You will find the battery will drain 5% to 10% per month and if you let the battery discharge completely, it may no longer be able to charge. That’s probably why the battery life of older phones is so much worse after a few months in a drawer, even when it’s not being used.

More tips for longer phone battery life

• Use power saving mode more often. It reduces power consumption and thus the number of cycles.

• Try the screen’s Dark Mode, because the phone turns off the black display pixels, This means you save battery when the white panels turn dark. Or just turn down your phone brightness!

• Turn off background updates for apps you think don’t need them – it also reduces power consumption.

• Turn off or put your phone in Airplane Mode when you don’t need it, such as overnight – preferably with a reasonable battery level.

• Do not force quit the application. Your phone’s operating system is best at suspending unnecessary apps – it uses less power than a “cold start” for each repetitive app.

• Avoid cheap chargers and cables. When buying charging cables and plugs, buying cheap products is a false economy. The hardware should have a charge controller rather than a cheap, shoddy circuit – otherwise there’s a risk of overcharging. See the best phone chargers, the best charging cables for iPhone, the best USB-C cables, and the best MicroUSB charging cables.

Additional reporting by Samuel Nyberg and Steffen Zellfelder.

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