The great battery exposé: 11 smartphone charging lies you’ve been told

Do not believe everything people tell you about your phone's battery (unless those people are us!)

If there’s one constant complaint we hear from smartphone owners, it’s battery life - or rather the lack thereof. It’s one topic you’ll find even Android and iOS fanboys can agree on.

There’s a lot of hearsay floating around about what you should and should not be doing when you’re juicing up your phone’s lithium-ion battery - but we’re here to set the record straight for once and for all.

Lie #1: Charging your phone too many times will ruin its battery

Fact: it's not about the number of times you recharge the battery - it's how much the battery can hold.

A battery's charging cycle depends on the capacity, not the number of times it's been charged. If you charge 50 percent of a 2000mAh battery, it'll need to be charged for another 1000mAh before a cycle is complete.

That said, every battery has a finite life cycle. Which means there is a maximum number of charge cycles it can go through before it meets its eventual death. Typically it’s a number in the thousands that shouldn’t affect you, because you’ll almost certainly swap your phone for a newer model before you get to witness your battery’s demise.

Stay healthy: Keep calm and charge your phone as and when it needs it.

Lie #2: Never charge your phone overnight

It’s widely believed that leaving your phone charging will damage its battery through overcharging. Back when phones were dumber, that would probably be true. But your average smartphone these days has the smarts to detect when the battery is full and hence stop charging.

Stay healthy: It's OK to leave it plugged in. Still, give it a break once in a while, like on the weekends when you know you don’t have to wake up to a fully charged phone.

Lie #3: Always wait till your battery is down to 0% before charging it

Rumour has it that using your phone till it’s at 30 percent then charging it makes your battery think that’s the new 0 percent, thereby reducing its maximum capacity over time.

It's time to correct this misconception from the age-old idea of batteries having memory. The modern lithium-ion battery in your smartphone is smarter than to be fooled by the “memory effect”, since it knows exactly where the upper and lower limits are.

Stay healthy: Don't worry about when you're charging the battery. Still, do the full discharge once a month for optimal battery health. Aside from that, it’s actually better to do shallow discharges. If you want specifics, stay in the optimal range of 40% to 80%.

Lie #4: It’s okay to leave your spare phone uncharged

Don't. That backup Samsung phone or iPhone left lying around could end up permanently damaged since it could fall into a deep discharge state, or a battery coma if you like. So the next time it’s woken up, it might not be able to hold a charge.

Stay healthy: Make sure your phone has 50 percent charge, then power it down and keep it somewhere moisture-free, and away from heat. If it’s going to lie dormant for a long while, check back every six months and give it a 50 percent boost.

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