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Tips on Charging Your Phone to Maximize Battery Life and Lifespan

Power - by Bryan Veldboom - updated on 9/7/2022

charging a cell phone

Everyone knows that cell phones have to be charged regularly in order to keep working, but did you know that the way you charge your phone has an impact on how long the battery lasts? It's true. Simple things like over and under-charging can actually shorten the life of your cell phone battery. The good news is you can keep your battery going strong by following a few basic rules. Here are our top tips for charging your cell phone properly.

What is a Cell Phone Battery Charge Cycle?

Most cell phones today run on lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries work in charge cycles. You complete one full charge cycle when you've used (or discharged) an amount of power equal to 100% of your battery capacity. If you use 75% of your battery's capacity on Monday, then recharge it fully overnight and use 25% of its battery capacity the next day, your total usage for the two days will add up to one full charge cycle.

The life cycle of your cell phone battery is also measured in charge cycles. A new lithium-ion battery will typically last between 300 and 500 charge cycles. This is where your charging habits come into play. Usually, a cell phone battery lasts between two and three years, although the frequency with which you charge it plays an important role in how quickly you burn through those cycles.

What is the Correct Way to Charge a Phone?

Follow these basic tips to make your charge cycles last longer and get the longest life possible from your battery.

1. Don't Charge Your Cell Phone Overnight

When you keep your phone plugged in overnight, you're keeping it on the charger for much longer than is needed. If a battery becomes overcharged, it can become damaged. In order to prevent this, your cell phone will start to discharge the battery slightly. Then, after the charge drops too low again, it will begin to charge it back up again. This constant cycle of discharging and recharging causes your battery to burn through its total number of charge cycles much faster, shortening the battery's overall life.

2. Don't Charge Your Cell Phone to 100%

While it sounds counter-intuitive, continuously charging your cell phone battery all the way to 100% is something you should avoid. A battery that contains a higher voltage is placed under more stress than one running at a mid-range capacity of 40% to 80% state of charge. This stress can degrade the battery by wearing down its internal chemistry. Ideally, you should only charge your cell phone to 100% if you intend to remove the phone from its charger and begin using it within a few hours.

3. Don't Let Your Cell Phone Battery Drop Down to Zero

While overcharging is a problem, letting your cell phone battery run down all the way is also not good. Some people might tell you that your battery will lose part of its total capacity unless you run it down to zero. This is false. While it is true that nickel-cadmium batteries possess this "memory effect," the lithium-ion batteries in your phone function quite differently. Discharging a lithium-ion battery completely can actually diminish its overall capacity, so it's best to always keep it charged to 40-80% of its total capacity.

4. Don't Let Your Cell Phone Get Too Hot

According to the Apple website  , cell phones and other devices are "designed to perform well in a wide range of ambient temperatures, with 62° to 75℉ (16° to 22℃) as the ideal comfort zone. It's especially important to avoid exposing your device to ambient temperatures higher than 95℉ (35℃), which can permanently damage battery capacity."

Exposing your cell phone to high heat on a regular basis can impair the battery's ability to hold a charge. Remember how we mentioned that keeping your phone at 100% capacity puts it under increased stress? Well, those stresses are magnified even further by extreme heat. That's why it's important to avoid charging a cell phone in high temperatures. If you notice that your phone has gotten excessively hot, there are a number of steps you can take to cool off your phone.

How Can I Tell if My Phone Battery is Dying?

On average, a cell phone battery should last between two and three years. After that, it will likely begin to have a negative impact on your cell phone's performance. Here are a few common symptoms of a dying cell phone battery:

  • Needing to charge your phone multiple times in one day
  • The phone won't charge completely
  • Phone charge drops immediately after being removed from the charger
  • Battery drains too quickly
  • Phone randomly crashes
  • You notice a slower performance from your iPhone

How Do I Replace My Cell Phone Battery?

Your local Batteries Plus offers battery replacement and cell phone repair service. Replacing your battery is one of the fastest (takes approx. 30 minutes) and most affordable repairs available and a great way to lengthen your phone's overall life. If you're experiencing any of the issues listed above, stop into your nearest Batteries Plus or schedule a repair appointment online.

Find Your Phone Essentials at Batteries Plus

Need a new phone case or a spare set of charging cables? Check out our Phone Essentials page. We also carry a variety of wireless chargers and other cell phone accessories. Looking for more troubleshooting tips? Check out our blog online. Some related topics include "How to Check the Battery Health of Your Phone" and "Making Sense of New Phone Charging Technology."

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