For a gadget that barely ever leaves our hands, a smartphone can sometimes feel like an esoteric piece of wizardry. As a result of that, we’ve cooked up all kinds of battery myths that aren’t really true.
Whether it’s apprehension over leaving your phone hooked up for an overnight charge or turning the phone off to give the battery a little break, we’re in a perpetual quest to utilize ways wherein we can get more juice out of our smartphone batteries.
However, some of those ways don’t actually make much sense. To assist you in sorting out the science from the folklore, I have debunked 20 common myths surrounding mobile phone batteries.
1). Leaving the Mobile Phone Plugged in
Overnight for Charging Will Overcharge the Phone
This is one of the most common pieces of advice we come across, but it’s not 100% correct. It’s a bit more complicated, as leaving your battery plugged in overnight certainly isn’t hazardous, but it might damage your battery life a bit.
‘Overcharging’ associated with long bouts of mobile charging is often an exaggeration. The reality is that if you continue to keep your mobile phone on a charger for a while after it reaches the 100% battery level, it will keep intermittently passing on the current when there is a small drop in the battery, rather than just recklessly passing on the current to the mobile phone at all times.
However, modern smartphones come with lithium-ion batteries that are much better than older nickel-based batteries. With rapid innovation in the field of consumer electronics in recent years, modern batteries are much smarter when it comes to managing power.
They gradually reduce the amount of current as the phone fills up. However, I don’t mean to say that modern batteries are foolproof; even their longevity is affected upon continually charging a battery after it attains a full charge mark.
2). You Should Let Your Battery Completely Discharge
Weird as this may sound, batteries experience the highest strain on two occasions—when they are fully charged and when they completely out of juice. Theoretically, the real sweet spot for a battery is 50%, because at the halfway mark of the battery, half of its moveable lithium ions are in the lithium cobalt oxide layer, while the other half are in the graphite layer.
This equilibrium puts minimal strain on the battery, which in turn helps in extending the number of charge cycles that the battery can withstand before degrading. To learn more about how a battery works, click here.
3). Always Use the Official Charger
Blame the marketing people for this. Whenever you buy a brand-new phone from the market, odds are high that the salesperson will exhort you to use only the original charger for the phone. Even most of the user manuals these days prescribe only the use of the original charger or advise you to buy a new charger from the official store of the company.
It’s obvious that they want you to buy their products, duh! However, this is not advised for the health of your mobile phone, but for their profits! Most third-party chargers from reputable brands are just fine.
There are some exceptions—for instance, in the case of USB-C cables, as some unofficial chargers might not allow fast charging, which the mobile supports. For fast charging to take place, many mobiles need to have hardware with proprietary fast charging standards, which are usually found only in the official manufacturer’s charger.
4). Batteries Perform Badly in Cold Weather
Actually, the opposite is true. Using your battery in cooler temperatures is much better for battery life than lackadaisically exposing it to high temperatures. The cardinal rule for battery longevity is that you should avoid allowing your batteries to overheat.
This becomes more important when the battery is being charged.
As you operate/charge the phone, batteries naturally heat up. The reason for this is because the liquid electrolytes that fill the gaps between the lithium cobalt oxide and graphite layers start to break down at higher temperatures.
This is a major issue with present-day electric vehicle batteries, which usually spend most of their day sitting out in bright sunlight. However, for your smartphone, as long as you usually keep it at room temperature without direct exposure to outdoor sunshine, you’re doing alright.
5). Install a Battery Saver App to Save Battery
This is an undeniably gormless myth that many people still believe to be true! Proponents of battery savers and app killers are like anti-vaxxers of the mobile world—instead of helping, they only make things worse.
When the modern-day mobile operating systems like Android were new, it made some sense to have an app killer or a battery saver installed on your phone. However, over the years, the mobile OS—especially Android—has become a lot smarter and can optimally manage its resources, making the role of external app killers and battery savers redundant.
Most of these apps marketed as battery savers often suck up more resources than they actually save, leading to even more unwanted strain on the battery!
6). Off-brand chargers are not good for batteries
The truth: Off-brand chargers, while not highly recommended, are okay; instead try avoiding the knockoffs.
Inexpensive, off-brand chargers made by legitimate retailers, such as Belkin and KMS are any day better than the cheap brand knockoff chargers.
Lifehacker carried out a detailed experiment in which they compared official chargers with knockoffs and off-brand models.
The conclusion: While official chargers are unquestionably the best, off-brand chargers, work just fine. Knockoff USB chargers are a safety hazard.
7). You will drain the battery if you charge your phone all night.
The truth: Your phone is not as dumb as you think. If it’s fully juiced up, it stops charging which means that the battery isn’t even in use at all.
Also leaving it plugged when it’s already full can cause degradation.
However, that doesn’t mean you should be charging your phone overnight. Wouldn’t you stop filling a cup with water if it was already full?
To make the battery life last longer, it is recommended that you keep your phone charged between 40 percent and 80 percent.
8). There’s no need to turn your phone off.
The truth: Your phone is a machine, but who said machines don’t require breaks. An Apple Genius suggested that battery life could be maximized, by turning off your phone once in a day especially when you go to bed at night.
If that is not feasible, Apple experts recommend turning your phone off once a week in order to restore battery life.
Android phones are not any different as well. A simple reboot can help preserve battery life.
9). Charge your phone only when you have used up all the battery power.
The truth: battery memory is a thing of the past. It’s advisable to charge your phone every day than to do a “deep charge” in one go.
Lithium-ion batteries, like the kind used in Samsung and Apple products perform better when they’re charged.
In fact, completely discharging a Li-ion battery to 0 percent is bad for it.
A bunch of tiny charges is better than going from 100 down to zero all the time.
10). Keep your iPhone and your iPad chargers separate
The truth: According to Apple, the 12-watt iPad adapter can be useful enough to charge your iPad as well as iPhone.
But, according to Steve Sandler, chief technical officer and founder at electronics analysis company AEi Systems, charging your iPhone with the iPad’s adapter could drain iPhone’s battery.
However, this can happen if this kind of charging is done frequently.
In fact, your phone’s battery fares the best if you take it off the charge before it hits 100 percent, so see to it that the battery never goes below 20 percent except in rare circumstances.
11). Heat can destroy a battery.
Heat and technology are not the best of friends, and that’s no different with phone batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries have a tendency to heat themselves, and get hotter while they’re being charged.
Your phone’s battery will wear down much faster when it’s hot, regardless of whether it’s being used or just lying around doing nothing.
Avoid storing your phones in very hot places, such as hot cars on summer days.
Cold weather can also have a negative impact on a phone’s life; a cold battery will die faster than usual in low temperatures.
Store your devices near room temperature; According to Apple 32 degrees Fahrenheit is the lowest recommended temperature for an iPhone.
Samsung, on the other hand, boasts its phones can stand temperatures anywhere between -4 and 122 degrees.
12). Wireless Charging Could be harmful
Wireless charging is incredibly convenient, but it has its disadvantages. The inductive, wireless chargers out there can generate a decent bit of waste heat which can toast your phone’s battery in the process.
Although less convenient, standard plug-in charging is a healthy option for your phone.
13). Avoid Touching Zero
Batteries shouldn’t be left in a fully discharged state for very long. The battery wouldn’t discharge all the way to zero very often — but if it does, you should recharge it as soon as possible.
If you let the battery discharge completely and leave your phone in a closet for weeks without charging it, the battery may become incapable of holding a charge at all.
If you’re looking to optimize your phone’s battery’s life, you should try to charge it up to 40 per cent to around 80 per cent in one go. Apple recommends you charge the battery till 50% if you intend on storing the device more than six months.
14). You don’t need to charge a new phone before using it
Almost all new phones are at least semi-charged. According to Android Enthusiasts, Lithium polymer batteries are designed to be juiced at 40 percent of charge, meaning that when you buy a new phone, its battery should be at 40 percent. If it is not, you should get a different one as the battery is now considered aged.
This tip applies to both batteries in devices and spare batteries you may have lying around
15). Don’t use your phone while it is charging
No one likes being electrocuted, and with that in mind some have suggested that it’s unsafe to use a phone if it’s plugged into the wall. This, like the other myths discussed here, isn’t true.
While a woman did die in Australia in 2014 while using a phone that was plugged in, authorities believe her cheap USB charger was to blame.
Playing with your phone while it is plugged in is totally safe — just so long as you don’t use a knockoff charger (and are not in a bathtub).
16). All chargers are created equal
It brings electricity to your phone, so just how much variation can there be? Quite a lot, it turns out.
In addition to being a safety hazard, counterfeit chargers just don’t work as well as brand-name ones.
Integrated circuit expert Ken Shirriff took a deep dive into various chargers on the market and found numerous fakes masquerading as Apple chargers. These, essentially, are a fire hazard and they do a garbage job of getting power to your phone.
17). Leaving your phone on 24/7 is no big deal
Most people keep their phones on all the time, and only turn their pocket-computer off when something has gone wrong. This is not a good idea. You smartphone needs to be rebooted every now and then, and not doing so is detrimental to the lifespan of your battery.
But don’t worry about missing those late-night free calls — you don’t need to turn your phone off every night. Rather, aim for rebooting it at least once a week. For an added bonus, this can also help your device’s performance.
18). Location services are killing your battery
Running apps that require using your location data would seem to be a battery drainer, right? Not as much as you’d think, argues Android Authority.
It turns out that these services do hit your battery, but not in the life-ending way we all assumed.
Sure, doing something like putting your phone into airplane mode is going to extend battery life, but it also defeats the purpose of having a phone (you know, texting and making phone calls). Basically, if you want to use your location services, go ahead and do so. It’s not going to totally mess up your battery life.
19). Getting the most out of your battery
We all want a phone battery that never dies, and the above tips and tricks will help you get a little closer to that dream. Unfortunately, until those solid-state batteries come along, we’re likely stuck with lithium-ion. So make the most of your newfound knowledge, or just go ahead and buy a battery pack.
Either way, your battery will thank you.
20). Wireless Charging Is Inherently Slower Than Wired
The key word here is “inherently.” While it’s true that wired phone chargers currently boast the faster charging times, wireless chargers have made significant progress over the past couple years and are expected to eventually surpass their wired counterparts in terms of charging speed.
Charging your phone battery is not rocket science but there’s a lot of incorrect information about batteries out there which should be ignored.
You may have considered yourself lucky on several occasions simply because you are living in a smartphone age. There are many who can skip a meal but they can never skip charging their phones. None of your phone’s super capabilities matter a bit if it runs out of juice.
No wonder there are a number of popular myths associated with smartphone charging and battery life, some of which are “Don’t leave your phone plugged in overnight,” “don’t use it while it’s charging,” and “always let the phone’s battery die completely.”
Batteries are undoubtedly a critical part of our mobile phones and like everything else there are many little rules for what you can and can’t do about smartphone charging.