The age-old question: When is the best and worst time to charge a smartphone? A lot of people do it. Just before going to bed, plug in or charge your phone. Even though phones have advanced, this may still be detrimental to your device.
The battery has evolved alongside smartphones. Here are a few facts about smartphone batteries that you should be aware of:
- They do not develop memory in the same way that old batteries did.
- Cold and heat have the greatest impact on a battery’s lifespan.
- Batteries deteriorate over time. The drain becomes apparent after a few years. Apple claims that its batteries will degrade by 20% over the next two years.
- Most smartphones use Lithium-Ion batteries, which are far superior to batteries from five years ago.
- Furthermore, charging overnight may have an earlier impact on the lifespan.
This is why: The lifespan of most batteries is measured in charges. According to Apple, iPhone batteries have about 500 charging cycles. Not how many times you charge it, but how many charging cycles or times a battery goes from 0% to 100%. Some people are perplexed by this.
If you let the battery discharge completely, which damages it, and then charge it to 100%, that’s one full charge. If you charge it to 100% every time it falls below 50%, you’ll have completed half a charging cycle.
One full charging cycle is equal to a couple of those. When you allow batteries to drop to different percentages, the math becomes more difficult to compute. Smartphones today have technology that prevents them from being “overcharged” and will stop charging once the phone reaches 100% charge.
In theory, once it reaches 100% and stops charging, the percentage will eventually drop to 99% and the charging process will begin again. Over time, that battery trickle subtracts time from the charging cycle limit.
To prevent battery trickle, iPhones now have a feature that prevents the phone from charging to 100% overnight. iOS 13 and later learns your routine and optimizes your battery automatically. If you usually go to bed at midnight and charge the battery. Over the first few hours, an iPhone will charge to about 80%.
The phone eventually learns what time you usually wake up and resumes charging a couple of hours before you do, so it’s fully charged when your day begins. It’s visible in the battery settings. When I checked my phone, it had charged to 80% in about an hour after I had put it on charge before going to bed.
Apple discovered that I usually get up at 6, so it completes the charging cycle to 100% between 4 and 5. The idea is that by limiting full charges when I’m not using the phone, I can extend the battery’s life.
Although Android phones lack this feature, you can enable “battery optimization,” which will close programs you’re not using and reduce app usage, which drains the battery even when you’re not using it.
The feature is also not available on iPads. So, what is best practice? Charge your phone to 100% before going to bed, and then turn it off.
Check your battery settings and enable “battery optimization” if you have an iPhone. There are numerous theories about extending battery life, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to arrive at a definitive answer, but this is widely accepted theory and belief.
Of course, if you buy a new smartphone every couple of years, you can charge it however you want. You’re unlikely to notice a significant difference in battery life before upgrading to your next phone.