Smartphone users – both casual and enthusiastic – are always looking for a longer battery life. Although we are replenished with fast charging every day, the lack of replaceable batteries causes the lithium-ion cells in our phones to age and deteriorate at some point.
If you're holding onto a phone for a year or more, you've probably noticed that the battery does not last as long as it did when it's new. Two years later, many phones struggle to get through the day with a single charge. Sticking to a phone in the last three years can even lead to system stability issues.
Unfortunately, the battery capacity inevitably decreases with age. However, you can take steps to extend the life of your battery and handset. If you ever wondered how to charge your battery best, here are some scientifically proven tips to maximize battery life.
Partial Charging is the Way to Go
A particularly stubborn battery myth is the one you occasionally need to completely discharge and recharge to clear the "battery storage". This could not be more wrong with lithium-ion batteries. It's a myth left over from lead-acid cells, and it's actually quite undesirable to charge your modern smartphone this way.
A partial charge is fine for lithium-ion batteries and can have a positive effect on the life of the cells. To understand why it is important to understand how a battery is charged. Li-ion batteries draw constant current when they are drained and operate at a lower voltage. This voltage gradually increases as the cell recharges and settles at a charge of about 70 percent before the current begins to decrease until the capacity is full.
A partial charge is fine for lithium-ion batteries and even has some positive benefits.
It is important that low-voltage operation extends the life of a battery and increases the number of available charge cycles before the capacity decreases significantly. Roughly speaking, any reduction in cell voltage by 0.1 V doubles the lifetime, according to the Battery University. Therefore, if you charge your phone within a range of 30 to 80 percent, the voltage will be lower and the battery life will be longer.
In addition, the "discharge depth" affects the entire discharge cycles before the battery capacity decreases. This refers to the amount that the battery consumed between charges. Smaller discharges in the range of 60 percent instead of 100 percent between refueling can double the life of your battery, and only 20 percent can double the life span.
Smaller but Regular Charges Are Much Better for Li-Ion Batteries are longer than full charge cycles.
If you consume only 20 percent of your battery between two charges, this is not practical for most people. However, if you refill about half of the battery, the battery life will improve significantly in the long run, especially if you avoid charging too much each time. The conclusion is that small regular recharges for Li-ion batteries are much better than long charging cycles.
Avoid idle loading.
Charging overnight or in a charging station during the day is a common practice, but is not recommended for a variety of reasons (the old myth of "overcharging" is unknown). one of them). First, continuous trickle charging of a full battery can result in a coating of metallic lithium, which can reduce long-term stability and lead to system-wide malfunctions and reboots. Second, it leaves the battery at 100 percent at the higher load voltage, as mentioned above. Third, excess heat is created by power loss.
Resuming charging at 100% of a phone is a recipe for voltage and temperature loading.
Ideally, a device should stop charging when it reaches 100% of the battery's capacity by only turning the charging circuit on occasionally to charge the battery – or at least reduce the charge current to very small amounts.
I tested a couple of cell phones that were 100 percent charged, and they continued to pull up to half an amp and sometimes more from the wall outlet. Turning off the smartphone in many cases makes no difference. Only the LG V30 drops below 20 mA when switched off and plugged in. Most phones range between 200 and 500 mA.
One last point to mention is the parasitic load. This occurs when the battery is being discharged significantly while charging, such as when the battery is being charged. When watching a video or playing games.
Parasitic loads are bad for batteries as they can distort the charge cycle and trigger mini-cycles Part of the battery cycles continuously and degrades faster than the rest of the cell. Worse, parasitic stresses that occur when a device is fully charged result in increased voltage and battery warming.
Playing or watching videos while charging is bad because they distort charge cycles.
The best way to avoid parasitic loads is to turn off your device while charging. But it's probably more realistic to keep the workload very low while the device is plugged in, leaving it idle most of the time. Remember to unplug the power cord when the battery is sufficiently charged.
Heat is the Enemy of Long Battery Life
Along with all these factors, temperature contributes equally to battery longevity at. As with high voltages, high temperatures drain the battery and result in a much faster capacity loss than at lower temperatures.
A cell maintained between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius should retain about 80 percent of its capacity after the first year, even when cycling from empty to fully charged. The battery capacity is higher after one year if smaller periodic charging cycles are used. When you raise the temperature to 40 ° C, the capacity drops to just 65% after the first year, and a battery temperature of 60 ° C reaches that mark in just three months.
A fully charged battery with a high battery life Temperature is the worst of all worlds and the number one thing that you should avoid when charging your phone. So do not leave your phone under the pillow at night to charge it, or plug it into your car's dashboard on a hot day.
Fast charging technologies are controversial here, as higher currents and voltages can definitely lead to a heating device during the charging process. Fast charging was never really planned for full charge. Instead, this is a quick way to quickly charge your phone so you can get it back in your hands. If you charge your phone for 15 to 20 minutes quickly, you will not experience major overheating problems, but I recommend not using it for overnight charging.
To bring all this together.
Lithium Ion Battery Technology Well understood these days, but bad habits and myths still permeate public awareness. Most of these habits will not affect the battery life of your phone in the medium term. However, the decline in replaceable phone batteries means we need to take extra precautions to maximize battery life and cell life on our phone.
Generally speaking, smaller regular charge cycles and cooling your phone are the most important things to think about. Although I should point out that different phone batteries always age a little differently, depending on how we treat them. Here is a TL; DR summary of the above battery charging tips:
How do I best charge my smartphone?
- Avoid the full charge cycle (zero-100 percent) and overnight charging. Instead, charge your phone more frequently with partial charges.
- Charging the battery to 80 percent is better than completely topping it up to 100 percent.
- Use fast charging technologies sparingly and never overnight.  Heat is the battery killer. Do not cover your phone while charging and keep it away from hot places.
- Turn off your mobile when charging or at least do not play games or watch videos to avoid mini-cycles.