How to Charge Your Phone: Dos & Don’ts

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While most of us have experienced low battery anxiety, we’re not often concerned with our battery’s general lifespan. All batteries have an expiration date. Most smartphone manufacturers say their devices have a lifespan of 300-500 charging cycles. After that point, the phone’s battery can’t hold as much electricity and will stay charged for increasingly shorter periods of time. So if you want to ensure your battery lives a long and fruitful life (typically between 3 and 5 years), follow these essential Dos and Donts for charging your phone:

DON’T: Turn your phone off

Your cell phone (or tablet) uses more juice powering back up than it does when it’s quietly napping. As an alternative to turning off your phone, consider putting it in airplane mode or simply silencing it if the sound alerts are your biggest concern.

DO: Keep it cool

Heat is often your phone’s worst enemy. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries – the most commonly used batteries in smartphones – have been known to degrade much faster when they’re hot, regardless of whether the phone is being used or sitting on your nightstand. A Li-ion battery loses 6% of its maximum capacity per year at an average temperature of 32 degrees fahrenheit. At 77 degrees, that number can reach 20%, and at 104 degrees it’s a whopping 35%! The run-time degrades with simple age but each charge and discharge can also further reduce its cycle life, until your phone’s battery simply can’t last long enough between charges. Even worse: the more power your cell phone uses or the faster you charge it, the hotter the battery gets! So while we’re not advocating storing your phone in the fridge, it’s definitely worth avoiding hot environments and battery over-usage.

DONT: Keep your phone plugged in when it’s fully charged

Leaving your phone plugged in and charging even after it’s been fully charged – like when you go to bed – is something we’re all guilty of. Unfortunately, it can be a costly habit. Once your cell phone reaches the 100% charged status, it gets “trickle charges” in order to maintain the 100% level while plugged in. These “trickle charges” keep the battery in a high-tension state which can wear down the phone’s internal chemistry over time. So next time you reach 100%, just remove your phone from its charging device and let it relax.

DO: Plug in your phone whenever you can
One of the easiest ways to keep your phone battery happy is by charging it in increments throughout the day – instead of plugging it in for an extended charging session when it reaches empty. The rule with Li-ion batteries is to keep them charged at 50% or more as often as you can. When it drops below 50%, just top it up. Periodic top-ups keeps your smartphone’s battery charged and helps it perform better on the long run. A full zero-to-100 recharge every now and then is ok, but doing it frequently will shorten your battery’s lifespan.

DONT: Use fast battery charging

Fast charging produces more power which, in turn, produces more heat. And we’ve already learned that heat is probably Enemy Number 1 for any Li-ion powered smartphone. So while you may get a quick power boost (that is if your phone even supports quick charging which only some of the newest devices on the market are equipped to support), rapid charging will definitely diminish the lifespan of your battery over time. If you want to charge your phone faster, use your regular charger and close any open and running apps, dim your screen’s brightness, switch to airplane mode or power off your phone completely.

DO: Read our blog post on how to increase your cell phone’s battery life

Knowing what small changes to make in your phone’s settings or modifying your usage habits can make all the difference.