Talking about smartphone battery, there are myths, controversies, facts, practical experiences etc. I have been asked a lot of times, what’s the best way to use your smartphone so the battery perform optimally for years? Well, that question doesn’t have a simple answer. I will debunk some myths, pull up some relevant facts and highlight major do’s and don’t’s. In other words, this will be based on practical experience backed up by few relevant facts. Before we get started, let give you some background information.
Before I became a smartphone enthusiast, I’ve already worked for years on solar energy, inverter and batteries. In fact, I have more than 10 years experience in that field. Maybe that’s why people keep asking me many questions about batteries thinking I know everything. Well, I don’t know everything but I have a lot of experiences to share with you. Having the reputation of destroying several smartphone batteries, I sure do have few do’ s and don’t’s that will interest you.
SMARTPHONE BATTERY – LITHIUM ION OR LITHIUM POLYMER
Like I promised earlier, I won’t bore you with facts. Lithium ion batteries are the older (technology) used in smartphones. They are cylindrical or prismatic cell, which have a rigid metal case. All those older and rigid removable batteries fall into this category. That said, there are still sealed batteries that are lithium-ion. With high energy and low self discharge, it is a very popular and cheaper option but there is are some disadvantages. Being sealed with (liquid) electrolyte, fast charging will short-circuit it or cause explosion. Now you know why older phones do not have fast charging functionality. Full details on Lithium-ion
Lithium polymer battery still uses lithium ion technology but the electrolyte is polymer instead of liquid. Polymer has it’s own advantages as it provides higher specific than any other lithium battery type. The main selling point of the polymer is light weight and flexibility of shape. More so, it’s safer to fast charging than lithium-ion batteries. Read more on Lithium polymer batteries as we move on.
Smartphone Battery – The Myths!
Seriously, am not going to dwell in the myths so long as I’ll burst most of them in the sections below. Let me highlight some of them
- Don’t charge your phone while you are using it
- Don’t charge your phone overnight.
- Allow your battery to fully discharge before you charge it.
- Use only out of the box charger to charge your phone or else you damage your battery.
- Turn off Wi-Fi to save battery
They are many, you can add yours in the comments section. Some of these myths could be true many years back but as battery technology evolved, most of these are truly myths right now!
Practices That Are Dangerous To Smartphone Battery
Having talked about myths, there are real life practices that are capable of damaging your battery.
#1 HEAT – There are several things that can cause that (as we explained later) but you have to avoid it.
#2 EXTREME COLD – This is as bad as heat. Remember if the the chemicals inside the battery freeze, it could completely alter the chemical reactions.
#3 TOTALLY DISCHARGE AND NOT CHARGED IMMEDIATELY – Newer processors can handle this better but it’s still a risk. There are days that your shinny smartphone could run out of juice. At 0%,there are few memory operations running in the background that use the battery power. So make sure there is an opportunity to charge immediately when your phone when it hits 0%. The longer a smartphone turns off at 0%, the more the opportunity of the battery draining to death (permanent damage).
#4 INFERIOR CHARGER AND POOR QUALITY CORDS – Be alert to notice when your phone takes more than normal time to charge. If it is not due to temperatures or running applications, then check the charger/cord. Am not an advocate of use only out of the box charger, I know by experience that inferior charger/cords can damage your battery more than you think.
#5 CONSTANT CHARGING AND DISCHARGING – This is generally inevitable but try to avoid multiple charging and discharging sessions with your smartphone in a day. Having worked with batteries for years, putting any battery through multiple charge/discharge session in a day reduces the life span of such battery. I won’t give you all the scientific reasons for that (which could be boring) but I’ve seen it happen through the years.
The Truth About Battery Saver Applications
This is part of the modern myth or should I call it marketing strategy? A battery saver user Application CANNOT DO ANYTHING MORE THAN YOUR OS IS CAPABLE OF! Don’t fall for the hype. Nevertheless, when given super user/system level access, few of them can add extra juice to battery life. Jail breaking in iOS or Rooting in Android could give that super access to such apps. It’s risky though and most of us don’t need it nowadays. Check out our Tips and Tricks section.
Do’s & Don’t’s + How to Get The Best Out of Your Smartphone Battery
As I said earlier, I’ve damaged several smartphone batteries and have use many well. This section will be based on practical day to day real life usage and experiences.
USE WI-FI NOT 3G/4G – I’ve heard this before but then I decided to test it out myself. My phone usually gives 6+ hours of screen-on time (SOT) if I use 3G/4G data through out but on Wi-Fi it records 8+ to 9+ SOT. That’s not all! The phone gets warmer with intensive use on 3G/4G but stays cooler on WiFi. This practically suggests that using Wi-Fi more on a smartphone will give you a better life span.
Feel Free To Charge Your Smartphone All Night, It’s Better! – This has been a major thought or myth as I’ll like to call it. About 10 years ago, inverters were designed to trip off charging when battery is full. Today, there are up to 10 stages of intelligent charging and battery management controlled by micro processors. It’s even better when we talk about smart phone charging. Nowadays, smartphone charging is controlled by very intelligent processors. They stop charging once battery hit 100% maintaining trickle current to keep the battery smiling.
The best time to charge your phone is the time you are not using it. Making overnight charging even a better option.
Charging (especially the common fast charging) heats up your phone. Adding intensive usage (like gaming, video processing etc) while charging is a death path to your phones battery life. I always advise using a smartphone that can carry you a full day and plug it in the night for another day’s action.
Finally on overnight charging, I also noticed from my test that my battery charged overnight lasts longer than the one I unplugged immediately it hit 100%. I recorded 7 hours SOT with 3G/4G and 10+ hours on Wi-Fi after overnight charge. That’s about extra 1 hour screen on time than unplugging immediately it hit 100%. I noticed this years back working on inverter batteries. Won’t go into details explaining this but trickle current adds extra juice as the whole true battery capacity is a little more higher than the ‘100% full’ level which is okay for safety. It’s like bending a gallon to add more liquid after it’s ‘full’.
Avoid Using Apps That Continuously Run On The Background.
The more you have them in your phone, especially the free ones, the more of your battery they consume. I had uninstall Facebook messenger on my Android as it never stays hibernated. Beware of free apps that promise a lot, they take more from your battery than they actually give. From monitoring your preferences, sending data to their server to loading your phone with adware, it tells on the battery on a longer run.
Discontinue Using Your Phone When You Notice It’s Very Hot – No matter the smartphone you are using, even if you are in the cloud 9 of your favorite game, give your phone 5-10 mins break once it becomes very warm. This also means no HEAVY USE WHILE CHARGING.
Test Your Charger/Cords After Months of Use – You don’t necessarily need to buy any extra accessories to do this. Several charging current apps can do this. They will tell you if your charger is giving the stipulated charging current. If it’s not, in most cases, the issue is from the cord due to wear and tear. Get another cord else change the charger.
This could sound funny but try not to use a smartphone more than 3 year… 😂 It starts getting boring after that!
Also learn to put your smartphone off! I don’t mean Airplane mode, I mean power off! If you can make it a frequent practice (which is very difficult nowadays) it helps give your phone a longer life span.
Credits: Smart Depot