How to make your mobile battery last longerTopic: Devices Tech Specs
For as long as we’ve had cell phones, there’s been debate about how overnight charging affects your phone’s battery life. As experts focused on power, we have the definitive answer:
Whether you’re charging up while you sleep, or simply letting your phone sit plugged in long after it’s reached 100 percent, nothing dramatic happens to your battery. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, as there are some long-term consequences to this battery behavior. Here’s what really happens to your phone when you charge it past 100 percent, and some tips on which habits to kick to maximize its lifetime.
What happens when you keep your phone charging past 100 percent
How long does your phone sit plugged in on your nightstand? Probably six, seven, eight hours — much longer than it takes for it to fully charge. Once your phone hits the 100 percent mark, it starts to “trickle charge.”
Trickle charge is like dripping water into a bucket with a small hole at the bottom, putting just enough in so it stays full despite the hole. Our smartphones are constantly running apps in the background, searching for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, new emails, new text messages, so the battery drains a little bit even when the screen’s not on. Trickle charge helps keep the battery topped off so you wake up to a 100 percent charge.
Habits to avoid to ensure a long life for your smartphone battery
Charging your phone overnight won’t immediately decrease the battery’s lifespan, but over time, this behavior can reduce its capacity. Chances are, if you’re a long-term bedtime-plugger-inner, you’ve experienced the result of constant overnight charging: a quick-to-drain battery that coincides with the end of your two-year mobile contract. Upgrading will get you a newer, better, faster battery, but the cycle will repeat itself on your next phone if you continue regular overnight charging.
To maximize your battery’s lifespan, keep your phone charged between 50 to 80 percent capacity. One of the biggest killers of lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries is discharging them below 20 percent. Even worse is draining the battery completely. Shorter top-offs during the day will help your battery maintain its power up to that two-year trade-in mark. Putting our phones on the charger before we go to sleep offers the security of waking up to a fully charged device, but in the long run, charging overnight will leave you charging more often.
One other thing to avoid is heat. With lithium-ion batteries, excessive heat can shave off lifetime. And not just when you’re charging either. Even storing a device in a hot car or leaving it exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time can shorten battery life. As the cells inside the batteries heat up and cool down repeatedly, direct sunlight can overheat the phone. Of course most phones are built to shut down and alert the user when they detect excessive heat, cutting off the problem before it gets worse.
Batteries are just like people. We need a little recharge before we’re totally depleted.
Charging your phone overnight once in a while won’t dramatically or immediately decrease battery life. But it’s definitely a habit to avoid. Just as a short nap can refresh you, giving your battery a little boost before it’s completely depleted is the best way to recharge. Our smartphones are smarter than many of us think, and kicking a few bad habits can ensure they perform even longer than we expect.