Given just how much smartphones can do these days, a lot of us probably expect to have to charge them every day. But did you know that there are a number of simple steps you can take to help keep a battery healthy over the lifetime of your device?
You might be surprised to learn that a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery – the default battery for all modern handsets – should last for 3-5 years. But if you don’t look after it you will see a gradual deterioration in the amount of time it lasts between charges.
Fortunately, our simple guide will show you how to keep your Li-ion battery in tiptop condition.
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The memory myth
Old mobile phones used nickel batteries that were known to suffer from something known as ‘memory-effect’. It meant that unless you allowed them to drain to 0% power and recharge from there, they would ‘forget’ their true capacity and hold less and less charge.
Modern Li-ion batteries do not work in this way, in fact the old method of letting your battery drain fully is actually harmful to them. It’s much better practice keep a lithium-ion battery’s charge above 50% as much as possible.
Can I overcharge my smartphone?
In short, no. That’s because most Li-ion batteries and their chargers contain internal circuitry which will automatically stop the charging process when the battery reaches full capacity. That said, overheating can cause degradation, so if you notice your phone is becoming particularly hot during the charging process it’s worth unplugging your phone.
It’s also a good idea to avoid using the phone while it’s plugged-in, as this can confuse your mobile’s circuitry as it tries to perform tasks while managing the charging process.
When should I charge my mobile?
If you really want to get the optimum charging process down to a tee, you should allow your battery to run down to around 40%, before charging it back up to around 80%. That way you will keep your battery within its ideal operating range.
Going outside of that range is sometimes unavoidable of course. But bear in mind that rather than let it drain completely, it might keep your battery healthier if you switch your handset off altogether.
Set your smartphone free during charging
Smartphone cases are as much a part of your personal fashion statement as your outfit, but some cases can cause overheating during the charging process. Again, this isn’t great for your battery.
If your smartphone is getting too warm while charging then be sure to remove it from its case. Along the same vein, it’s also best to avoid leaving your smartphone somewhere where it might overheat – such as in a hot car in the height of summer.
Going away? Make sure you turn off your mobile
If you’re not going to use your smartphone for a while, it’s best to drain its battery to around 40-50% capacity and store it in a reasonably cool place. The fridge might be a little too extreme, but a desk drawer could well be a good idea.