If you’ve held onto a phone a couple of years, you’ve probably noticed the battery doesn’t seem to last as long as it used to. Unfortunately, battery capacity declines with age. However, there are things you can do to prolong the life of your battery and smartphone. If you’ve ever wondered what the best way to charge your battery is, here are some proven methods to maximize battery life.
One misunderstanding is that you need to occasionally fully discharge and recharge to erase “battery memory.” This couldn’t be more wrong for lithium-ion batteries. It’s an old method which was necessary for lead-acid and Nickel Cadmium cells, and it’s inconvenient to charge your phone in this way. Partial charging is just fine for lithium-ion batteries and can have some positive benefits for battery cycle life.
Operating at a low voltage is good for a lithium battery’s lifespan, which helps to increase the number of available charging cycles before you’ll start to see a significant reduction in capacity. Using up just 20% of your battery between charges isn’t reasonable in today’s world but topping off the charge when you’ve used only about half will see an improvement over the life of the battery. Especially if you can also avoid charging up to 100% each time. The bottom line is that smaller, regular top off charges are better for Li-ion batteries than long full charge cycles.
Charging overnight or in a cradle during the day is a very common habit, but it’s not recommended for several reasons (the old “overcharging” myth isn’t one of them). First, continuous trickle charging of a full battery can cause plating of the metallic lithium, which reduces stability in the long term and can, in rare cases, lead to system-wide malfunctions. Secondly, it leaves the battery at a higher stress voltage when at 100% state of charge. Third, and most important, it creates excess heat caused by wasted power dissipation.
Along with all the above, temperature is another key contributor to longevity and maximizing battery life. Like high voltages, high temperatures stress the battery and make it lose capacity far more quickly than when kept at lower temperatures.