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You've been charging your smartphone wrong

You've been charging your smartphone wrong
© Cunaplus | Dreamstime

Our smartphones are our portals to our digital worlds. They are practically extensions of ourselves and our lifelines when we're out and about.

However, no matter how vital a smartphone is in our daily lives, it is useless if it runs out of juice. That's why the last thing that you need is a less than optimal, or worse, a dead smartphone battery.

But are you charging your smartphone properly? According to research, you are probably making charging mistakes that are shortening your battery's lifespan.

Here are a few dos and don'ts of battery charging you may not know about.

Don't let your phone drain down to zero

To make your smartphone's lithium-ion battery last longer, do not to drain it down completely.

Lithium-ion batteries don't have the "memory effect" that older nickel batteries were prone to have. Nickel batteries had to be drained completely because they tend to forget part of their total capacity if they're not down to zero before recharging.

In lithium-ion batteries, it's the exact opposite. If you drain a lithium-ion battery down to zero, you are actually diminishing its capacity so it is advised to actually manually turn your phone off before it "dies."

Do maintain your battery charge level between 40 percent and 80 percent

The ideal charge level for a stable battery is in the upper mid-range. Keeping a battery between 40 percent and 80 percent charged as often as possible will help you get the most out of its lifespan.

This is because a battery containing a higher voltage is under considerably more stress, and stress can potentially have degrading effects on the overall battery life by wearing down the battery's internal chemistry.

Do unplug once it's fully charged

The myth that overcharging the battery once it is already at 100 percent will damage it is actually partially true.

Modern batteries have mechanisms in place that prevent additional voltage once a battery has reached its maximum charge. However, there are what are known as "trickle charges," which continually seep into the battery to maintain its 100 percent charge level.

Holding a battery at 100 percent all of the time does place more stress on the battery overall, so it still may impact its overall lifespan.

Don't charge your smartphone overnight

We've warned you about the dangers of overcharging your phone. This usually happens when we go to bed, plug our smartphones in then leave them charging overnight.

If you're like me, there's nothing like waking up to a smartphone charged to 100 percent, ready to take on the day's work! But can this habit really diminish our smartphone's battery capacity?

The good news is that modern smartphones have built-in chips that keep them from overcharging. They're smart enough to stop taking in excess electrical currents once it reaches a full charge.

The bad news is that due to the inherent properties of lithium-ion batteries, smartphone batteries are gradually losing their capacity with each charging cycle. This is why people typically start noticing a significant degradation in their smartphone's battery capacity after two years of constant discharging and recharging.

By keeping your phone on the charger overnight, every night, while you're sleeping, you're keeping it on the charger for about three to four months a year. This means, while plugged in, it's always in a state of discharging and recharging, slowly using up another cycle.

Do store at 50 percent charge

If you're storing your phone unused for an extended amount of time, it is advisable to keep the battery charged at 50 percent before turning it off for storage.

For even longer periods, they recommend turning on the phone every six months or so and plugging it in to charge it back to 50 percent.

Lithium-ion batteries apparently have a tendency to destabilize if left discharged for a period of time. If destabilized, a lithium-ion battery could exhibit the thermal runaway effect and explode.

Fortunately, modern lithium-ion batteries have built-in self-destruct mechanisms that will kick in before destabilizing. If the self-destruct circuit is triggered, however, the battery will never be usable again.

Squeeze more life out of your smartphone battery

To sum it up, if you want to squeeze more life out of your smartphone's battery, it's important that you wait until a certain percentage before plugging it in, unplug when it's fully charged, resist charging it overnight and always store it at 50 percent.

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