Your smartphone is your lifeline. You use it for fun, to chat with family and friends, and to post photos on social media. You use it for work and to check emails when you're on the road. And, you use it to call for help when you're in an emergency situation, like being stranded on the side of the road.
The last thing that you need is a dead smartphone battery. Unfortunately, many people are making this one simple mistake that could be causing permanent battery damage.
Are you causing permanent damage to your gadget's battery?
What we're talking about is charging your smartphone every night when you go to bed. The science behind this can be a bit confusing. It actually depends on how long you intend on keeping your smartphone and whether charging it every night is a good idea.
Many people upgrade their smartphone every couple of years. It's hard to resist the newer, faster, more powerful devices. For those users, it's perfectly fine to plug their phone in at bedtime so they can wake up to a full charge.
However, since mobile carriers no longer offer phones at a deeply discounted rate for signing a new contract every two years, the costs could be too steep for frequent upgrades. Especially if the rumors are true and the next version of the iPhone costs $1,000.
In which case, people will most likely want to extend the life of their phone, and its battery. These users should not charge their gadget every night.
The reason is, smartphones have chips built-in that keep them from taking excess electrical current once it reaches a full charge. This limits a battery's damage when plugged in all night. However, lithium-ion batteries can only handle this routine a certain number of times before they are damaged, permanently.
Hatem Zeine, a scientist with wireless charging company Ossia, said this is due to quick charge technology. He told the New York Times, "When you charge fast all the time, you limit the lifespan of the battery."
Zeine said quick charging your phone is fine for the first couple years, but beyond that, it's putting your battery's life at risk. That's because the quick charge process causes batteries to corrode faster than older, slower charging methods.
How to make your gadget's battery last longer
Another factor that negatively impacts battery life is extreme heat. Having your phone exposed to temperatures over 95 degrees Fahrenheit can permanently damage battery capacity.
Apple listed ideas on its site on how to maximize battery life and lifespan. Here are some suggestions:
- Update to the latest software - Operating system updates often include advanced energy-saving technologies. Make sure your gadget is always up to date.
- Avoid extreme heat - It's important to avoid exposing your gadget to ambient temperatures above 95 degrees F. Extreme temperatures can permanently damage battery capacity.
- Remove certain cases while charging - Charging your gadget when it's inside certain cases may generate excess heat, which can affect battery capacity. If you believe your device is getting too hot while it's charging, simply remove the case.
- Store at 50 percent - If you are going to store your phone long-term, there are two factors that can affect the health of your battery. Environmental temperature and the percentage of charge on the battery when it's powered down for storage. Follow these recommendations for storing your phone:
- Do not fully charge or fully discharge your gadget's battery. Store it charged at 50 percent.
- Power the gadget down when storing to avoid additional battery use.
- Store your phone in a cool, moisture-free environment that is under 90 degrees F.
- If storing your phone for longer than six months, recharge it to 50 percent every six months.
Follow these suggestions and you will get the most out of your battery. And if you plan on replacing your phone every couple years despite increased prices, charge away. You can always use the malfunctioning battery as a way to justify the new phone purchase.