It is a problem that has plagued humanity since the inception of the mobile phone. We trust our phones so much that they rarely get through a day without power. Many of us connect them at night and fall asleep, knowing that we will wake up with a fully charged device.
But is it really safe to leave our phones connected to the charger once they are fully charged? Does it damage the battery or shorten its life? How can we ensure that our smartphone batteries last as long as possible? There are many myths and doubtful ideas about this subject. You will notice that the internet is flooded with opinions that present themselves as facts. What is the truth? We have spoken with some experts and received some answers for you.
How does a battery for a smartphone work?
Smartphones rely on lithium ion batteries. Battery cells have two electrodes, one electrode is graphite and the other is lithium cobalt oxide, and there is a liquid electrolyte in between which allows the lithium ions to move between the electrodes. When you charge, they go from positive (lithium cobalt oxide) to negative (graphite) and when you discharge, they move in the opposite direction.
Batteries are generally assessed cyclically, for example the iPhone's battery should contain 80% of its original capacity after 500 full cycles. A charging cycle is simply defined as consuming 1
You can minimize degradation by treating your battery properly. Degradation occurs Over time, and ultimately, batteries will not retain charge, but how fast a battery deteriorates depends on various factors.
What is the influence of the lifetime of a battery?
"The lifespan is highly dependent on the resistance or impedance growth in the battery," Yang Shao-Horn, WM Keck professor of energy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Digital Trends told. "When the battery is fully charged, the speed of some parasitic responses increases, which translates into a potentially high impedance and greater impedance growth over time."
The same applies to the complete discharge of your battery. In essence, it speeds up the reactions within, which means it is broken down faster. But fully charging or discharging your battery is far from the only thing to consider.
"There are so many other factors that affect the life of the cycle," Shao-Horn said. "For example, if you raise the temperature, you also increase the parasitic reaction rates."
Too much heat is a major problem because overheating can cause the liquid electrolyte to break down and accelerate breakdown. Another factor that may have a negative impact on the battery life is the charging speed. There are now many different fast-charging standards, but there may be costs involved for the convenience of fast-charging.
“In general, we will reduce the lifetime if we increase the charging speed and start charging faster and faster. batteries, "Shao-Horn said.
Although, she said that this is probably more of a problem for electric vehicles and hybrids, which require much more power than telephones.
You need your phone connected overnight
Your smartphone can recognize when it is fully charged and the incoming power "Just as he cannot overload or overload a cell," Daniel Abraham, senior scientist at the Argonne laboratory, told Digital Trends for an earlier article about the impact of charge less wire due to battery status.
This idea of fully charging or discharging your smartphone's battery is complicated by the fact that manufacturers set the termination points . They decide what fully charged or empty means and they carefully determine how far you can charge or empty your battery.
Your phone is unlikely to remain connected & nbsp; because it will keep your battery on a certain level; the battery starts to discharge again and when it falls below a specific threshold set by the manufacturer, it is recharged. You also extend the time that the battery is fully charged, possibly accelerating its breakdown. The size of an impact is very difficult to quantify and it will vary from phone to phone because manufacturers use energy management differently and use different hardware.
"The quality of the materials used makes a big difference in how long the battery lasts," Abraham said. "You may end up getting what you pay for."
Major manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung offer various tips to extend the life of your battery, but neither indicates whether or not you should have your phone connected and charge & # 39; night. We contacted Apple and Samsung with this question, but have not heard anything yet.
What is the optimal way to charge your phone?
Charging your phone as little as possible will result in the longest battery life, so it's important to learn how to squeeze the most out of your smartphone's battery.
The general consensus is that you should try to keep your smartphone's battery between 20% and 80%, so topping up a little during the day is probably better for battery life than charging overnight. It can also be wise to charge quickly sparingly. A few good wireless chargers at home and at work could be the ideal solution.
What to avoid
Try to keep your smartphone cool if possible, so never leave it on the dashboard in a hot car. Apple suggests removing the iPhone case while charging to reduce the risk of overheating. Samsung says it's best to never let your battery go below 20%, and warns that "fully discharging the battery on your device can shorten its life."
It is also a bad idea to use your phone while charging because it will increase the heat generated. If you are going to charge at night, consider switching off your phone before connecting it to reduce the stress on the battery.
Use quality accessories
There is another factor that you should take into account when charging your smartphone and it concerns the quality of the accessories that you use. It is always best to use the charger and cable that came with your smartphone. If that fails, you can purchase another official charger and cable.
Sometimes the official chargers and cables are expensive. But you can find reputable alternatives, be aware that you are looking for safe accessories that are fully tested and certified by Apple and Samsung, and that comply with the legislation. If you are going to buy a third-party charger, it is best to stick to big brand names.
It is also important to ensure that the charger and cable that you purchase have the correct rating. Check the amp or watt rating with the specifications of your phone. The real risks can be found at the cheap end of the market. Cheap counterfeits are not built for security reasons and can be very dangerous. They often do not meet safety standards.
Although it is not ideal if you want your battery to last as long as possible, you can leave your phone connected to the charger overnight without too much risk, provided it is not a counterfeit charger, and you will not let your phone overheat. For the best results when charging your smartphone, remember the following:
- Always use official chargers and cables or certified alternatives from reputable brands and retailers.
- Don't let your phone get too hot. Remove the housing when charging & # 39; overnight.
- Try to keep the battery between 20% and 80% for as long as possible.
- Do not fully discharge your phone's battery.
- If you turn off your phone while it is charging, consider flight mode, or at least do not play a graphically demanding game while it is connected.
- Only use fast charging when it is really needed.