There are lots of questions about smartphone batteries. Should you leave your smartphones plugged in overnight? Is it good for your safety and that of your phones?
The myth surrounding phone batteries, charging time and safety have persisted since mobile phone penetration had its way. While those fears may have made sense with the batteries of years ago, they’re pretty overblown today, thanks to upgrades and innovation.
Mobile phones contain a rechargeable lithium-ion (or Li-ion) battery. These Li-ion batteries charge faster than traditional rechargeable batteries. That’s why you can plug your Android phone or iPhone and rev its power time up to at least 80 per cent. Most times this charge happens fairly quickly.
Yet we have all experienced that our smartphone losses battery time as fast as it gets it depending on what the user is doing with the phone. For that reason, many people probably charge their phones overnight so they can wake up to a 100 per cent charged phone in the morning. In most cases, that phone probably needs only an hour or two to hit 100 per cent, which makes leaving it plugged in longer obviously pointless.
So, what happens when you habitually leave your phone plugged in overnight?
First, the good news is you can’t overcharge your phone’s battery, so don’t worry about it. Your phone stops drawing current from the charger once it reaches 100 per cent. This is because battery experts say there is no need to worry about overcharging as modern devices will terminate the charge correctly at the appropriate voltage.
There is a but.
Despite the fact that the phone seemingly stops charging when it reaches 100 per cent, the charger will continue to top off the charge during the night and such a “trickle charge” attempts to keep it at 100 per cent to compensate for the small bit of charge that your phone just naturally loses on its own. So, your phone constantly bounces between a full charge and a bit below a full charge leading to higher ambient temperatures for your phone, which can reduce capacity over time.
Cadex’s Battery University site states that Li-ion does not need to be fully charged as is the case with lead acid, nor is it desirable to do so, as it is better not to fully charge it because a high voltage stresses the battery.
In summary, if you plan to swap phones every year or two, you can charge it any way you want, as often as you want, and don’t worry about the diminished capacity of the battery. However, if you want to stretch things out a bit more, use best practices for lithium-Ion batteries as described above. Or, you may have to just take it in to get a new battery installed every couple of years.
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