It’s too simple a question even to ask, isn’t it? Everyone knows how to charge a phone… don’t they? Well, there is a bit more to it than you’d think. We’ll look at how to get the most out of a charge and your phone’s battery.
Phone batteries are made using lithium-ion technology which has impressive capabilities as a small and powerful energy storage material. There is some pure chemistry that allows energy to be stored in a battery, but unfortunately the processes also means that every time we recharge the battery, it degrades a little.
So, how do we make it last as long as possible?
1. Small, regular top-ups. There is a persistent myth (mostly a hangover from previous conventional battery technologies) that draining your battery completely and then fully charging it is good for the longevity of your battery and to avoid battery “memory”. With lithium-ion, it is the opposite. Keeping your phone above at least 20% with regular recharging is the best way to prolong battery life. If you can stop the charging before you hit 100% this also has benefits. Leaving the phone charging all night and running it to zero is the worst way to manage long term battery health.
2. Avoid parasitic charging. Pulling power from your phone using a high demand function like gaming or video while charging your battery can cause mini-cycles that affect battery health. The best practice is switching your phone off while charging it.
3. Batteries hate heat and cold. Don’t leave a charging phone in a hot car, in a thick leather cover, or under a pillow. The charging process naturally generates some heat and if this builds up it can be damaging to your phone’s battery health. Keeping your phone between 20 and 35 degrees Celsius is the ideal range.
4. Use good quality certified charging cables. Cheap cables can end up costing you a lot of money. The extra heat they generate, as well as the way they deliver electric current, can damage your battery and your phone.
Best practice is just that. It is unreasonable to expect that we can always use our phones in a way that is best for battery health. If you occasionally navigate with phone charging, finish a movie plugged into a portable battery next to the pool, or leave your phone plugged into a fast charger overnight you won’t see instant battery performance issues. However, if you follow these four rules whenever you can your battery may not be the issue that drives you to have to buy a new phone.