The increasing emphasis on battery life is one reason why fast chargers are so ubiquitous today. If the battery is about to discharge before the end of the day, quick charging is the next best thing. A 10-minute charge can make the difference between a strict sleep mode and a complete power outage before you get home.
But now that fast charging for phones is available so quickly, we have questions: What does a high-performance charger do with a phone's battery? And is there a chance that fast charging will affect your phone's storage capacity over time?
And while we ask questions, we also want to know what can lead to unnecessary wear on your phone's battery over time.
To get the answers, we talked to several battery researchers and engineers about the effects of fast charging on your phone's battery life. Here's what we learned:
Your phone's battery doesn't change that quickly.
All mobile phones – and most personal electronics and electric vehicles – use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion). Making batteries that last longer is a difficult task because battery technology has not changed in decades. Instead, much of the recent advancement in battery life is due to energy-saving features built into devices and the development of software that manages charging and discharging more efficiently, so that you use power instead of consuming it.
Unfortunately, the focus in extending battery life on mobile phones is generally on cars, satellites, and your home's power system. In these areas, industrial batteries must function well beyond the two or three years that we expect from our mobile devices.
Another force that works against our phones is the size of the battery. Compared to an electric car battery, the power source of a phone is tiny. For example, the Tesla 3's battery has over 4,000 times more battery capacity than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Mathematics is getting a bit more complex, since phone batteries are measured in milliamp hours, while electric vehicle batteries are measured in watt hours. However, it is possible to draw equivalents. For example, the Pixel 4 has a 2,800 mAh battery (or 10.6 Wh), and the iPhone 11 Pro Max is said to come with a 3,969 mAh battery (15.04 Wh). In the meantime, the Chevy Volt uses an 18,400 Wh battery and a medium-range Tesla Model 3 uses a 62,000 Wh battery.
This is important because the larger a battery is, the more battery-saving tricks there are to extend its lifespan. For example, when you charge a battery, the voltage rises and loads, especially during the last 20% of the charging process. To avoid this stress, electric car manufacturers can only charge 80% of new batteries. Because of this larger battery capacity, the electric car can still travel an acceptable distance while avoiding the stress from higher voltages. This can double the total life of the car battery.
Larger phone batteries allow you to charge a full day, but usually only 100%. In this way, the battery lasts an acceptable time between charges, but also puts more strain on the battery due to the higher voltage required to charge it.
Shortly before a major breakthrough in battery technology, improvements to the batteries of our phone will be made by making the devices more energy-efficient overall. (Here's a more detailed look at what's stopping the battery turnaround.)
Fast charging won't damage your battery.
A conventional charger has an output of 5 to 10 watts. A faster charger can improve this by up to eight times. For example, the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are equipped with an 18-watt quick charger, the Galaxy Note 10 and the Note 10 Plus have 25-watt chargers in their boxes. Samsung is selling a particularly fast 45 watt charger for $ 50.
Unless there is a technical fault with your battery or your charging electronics, the battery of your phone cannot do long-term damage by using a quick charger.
19659006] Here's why. Fast-charging batteries work in two phases. In the first phase, a voltage is applied to the empty or almost empty battery. This gives you a blazing charge of 50 to 70% in the first 10, 15 or 30 minutes. This is because batteries can quickly take charge in the first charging phase without negatively affecting their long-term health.
For example, Samsung promises that its 45-watt charger can be charged from zero to 70% in half an hour. According to Apple, the quick charger supplied with its iPhone 11 Pro can reach 50% charge in 30 minutes.
Do you know how long it takes until the last 20 or 30% of the battery is full, like the first 70 or 80%? This last part is the second charging phase, in which the phone manufacturers have to slow down and carefully control the charging speed, otherwise the charging process can damage the battery.
Arthur Shi, a tear-off engineer at the DIY repair site iFixit, suggests imagining a battery as a sponge. When you pour water on a dry sponge for the first time, it quickly absorbs liquid. For a battery, this is the quick charge phase.
If you continue to pour water onto the increasingly damp sponge at the same rate, the liquid will roll off the surface as it struggles to penetrate the saturated sponge. For a battery, this unabsorbed charge can cause short circuits and other problems that may damage the battery.
Damages are rare if everything is handled well inside. A battery's management system closely monitors the two charging phases and slows down the charging speed during the second phase to give the battery time to start charging and avoid problems. Therefore it can take 10 minutes to reach the last percentage points.
The case of the tragically exploding battery of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 resulted more from errors in the battery design than from the battery management techniques of the phone software.
You cannot overcharge your phone's battery.
Overloading leads to fears among the phone owner. The fear was that a permanently connected phone could charge a battery beyond its capacity, making the battery unstable, which could affect the overall battery life or build up too much internal heat and cause the battery to burst or catch fire.
However, according to the experts we spoke to, the management system of a battery is designed to switch off the electrical charge as soon as a battery reaches 100% before it can be overcharged.
"If the battery circuit doesn't go wrong, a modern phone cannot be overcharged," said Venkat Srinivasan, battery researcher at the Argonne National Laboratory and director of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science. "You have built-in protection to prevent that from happening."
Remember that if you charge 100%, however, you can put a battery under load as described above. (For this reason, electric vehicle manufacturers have reduced the charge of new batteries by about 80%.)
Apple is addressing this problem in the iOS software iOS 13 of the iPhone, which is used to charge your iPhone battery 100% charged. without causing long-term damage.
If you leave your iPhone connected frequently during the day or while sleeping, you can enable an iOS 13 battery setting called Optimized Battery Charging, which allows you to monitor your charging schedule and keep your iPhone's battery charge at 80% outside the voltage zone. After this time, the charge will be charged 100% before you regularly disconnect your phone from the mains. This works best for people with a normal charging pattern.
With a manual approach, you can unplug your phone even when it reaches 80% charge. The downside, however, is that you might miss out on additional hours of operation that you would get from a fully charged phone.
You should not let your battery run down to zero.
You may occasionally want to completely discharge your phone to solve the problem. Battery recalibrates its charge level. With modern telephone batteries, however, this is not such a big problem.
In fact, fully discharging a battery can cause chemical reactions that, over time, can shorten the life of a battery. In order to avoid a complete discharge, the management system of a battery contains safety functions that switch off a telephone when it reaches an energy level that is safely above the empty value. You just think that when you see the last low battery warning, you have reached zero.
If you want to make your battery health more active, connect your phone when the battery charge has dropped 30% above the stressful low battery levels.
High temperatures can damage your battery.
Heat is a real enemy of your battery. High temperatures are known to shorten the life of a battery over time.
You should keep your phone away from strong sun, away from window sills, and away from the dashboard of your car to avoid overheating, which can make the battery less efficient over time. In extreme cases, an overheated battery can explode.
Temperatures of up to 30 ° C (86 degrees Fahrenheit) can reduce the effectiveness of a battery, said Isidor Buchmann, founder and CEO of battery technology company Cadex Electronics and its related education website at Battery University.
Does that mean you want to keep your phone in an ice box? No, but as much as possible, keep it away from high temperatures. If you are in the sun for a long time, drape a towel or t-shirt over it or put it in a bag with your cooling water bottle. The idea is to prevent the inside temperature of the phone from rising.
Mismatched chargers and cables will not damage your battery.
If you do not use counterfeit or damaged chargers and cables, you cannot mix and match cables and chargers and damage your battery. However, you may not be able to charge as soon as possible when using the ones that came with your device.
Some telephones, e.g. B. from Huawei and OnePlus, use a proprietary charging design – part of the circuit is responsible for fast charging built into the charger. To get the most out of the device's proprietary quick charge, you'll need to use the compatible charger.
Other phone manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple are sticking to the industry-standard rules for fast charging and can be effectively charged quickly with a variety of compatible cables and chargers.
It is safest to use the included chargers and cables, as the device can use the lowest possible charging speed by default when mixing and matching chargers and cables to your phone.
How can I save otherwise? My phone's battery power?
To extend the life of your battery, you can use the usual energy-saving tricks to protect the battery, e.g. For example, decrease the brightness of your display, turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you are on the go. They are not used, the use of background data is limited by settings and apps that use GPS are kept in mind.
But the truth is, no matter how careful we are, our phone batteries only last that long. The trick is to get out of our battery for as many months as possible without being afraid of being charged.