Since the advent of the internet and the advancement of technology, we have read, heard, and been told a variety of things about the battery lives of our devices. And each one seems more ambiguous and contradictory than the last. Today, however, we can finally put some of these myths to rest and finally get the most out of our money – er – gadgets.
To begin, you should be aware that the batteries in our modern-day iPhones, laptops, headphones, and tablets are lithium-ion (aka Li-ion). These are entirely different from the rechargeable batteries of yesteryear, the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), and straight up lithium batteries, which aren’t rechargeable.
Myth 1: To be fully charged, your battery must be completely empty.
Your lithium-ion battery does not require a full charge and discharge cycle. On the contrary, total discharge is a risk you may be unaware of because your device may become wildly unstable. It is important to understand that when your battery is at 0%, it does not mean that it is literally empty. The lithium-ion batteries that power our gadgets only discharge most of the way. There is always some energy left in reserve so your device. If your battery were truly at zero, it would not turn on or receive a charge.
Let us define discharge: energy discharged is measured in depth of discharge (DoD), or as you may know it, one cycle. This is the battery usage percentage from 100 to 0 before recharging.
Now, lithium-ion batteries do not respond well to deep depths of discharge. In fact, a recent study discovered that it can reduce your battery life by up to 70% of its original capacity! With a DoD of 25%, you could charge up to 2,500 times more by keeping your battery between 80 and 20%.
Because of their small size, Li-ions do not lose much energy when not in use. It is not necessary to always go from 0 to 100.
Myth 2: Charging your battery overnight or all day will destroy your battery.
Smart batteries are also included with your smartphones. They have power management integrated circuits (PMICs) that are located between the charging port and the battery. PMICs regulate the rate and flow of current to the battery. As a result, when your battery reaches its maximum capacity, it will simply stop charging and drawing power from the wall adapter.
Lithium-ion batteries are more resilient today because the batteries in your gadgets use a trickle charge system when recharging, which moves electrons into the power cells much more slowly beginning around the 80% mark.
If you can avoid using fast charging and keeping your battery at 100% for much of the night, you can extend your battery’s life. (At the time of this writing, starting with iOS 13, Apple uses a feature called Optimized Battery Charging which keeps your battery’s charge at a lower percentage through the bulk of the night. See if your device has a similar feature.)
Myth 3: Closing apps on a regular basis saves battery life.
Some of us, like those who leave open tabs on our browser, are guilty of leaving apps running in the background and are chastised for it.
However, it is possible that it is having the opposite effect you intend. Closing background apps consumes more battery life because it forces the system to relaunch each time. This, in turn, slows down your system and affects its performance.
Background apps do not consume as much power as is commonly assumed. They are not running and are not utilizing the phone’s resources. They are simply dormant and waiting for you to restart them. This is better for your phone’s battery life and performance because disabling background apps and forcing them to completely relaunch consumes a greater portion of your phone’s resources. Our modern devices are designed with constant multitasking in mind.
As a result, the danger isn’t the apps running in the background but your constant swiping them out of view.
Still want to extend your battery life?
Now that the debate is over, here’s how to proceed:
- Top up your phone during the day and do not charge it to 100%.
- Charge your device in a cool, well ventilated area because heat shortens the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries. Having said that, use wireless charging sparingly because it generates more heat than conventional charging.
- Consider switching to a slower charger that charges at 5 or 10 watts.
- Disable vibration for calls and notifications.
- Enable adaptive screen brightness.
- Enable Low Power Mode in iOS or enable Doze in Android.
- Disable location sharing for apps that do not require it.
- Resist the urge to install a live wallpaper.
Most importantly, accept that they will degrade and eventually stop working. The tips above are not rules, and the measures you may take to extend the life of your battery are personal choices. We hope some of these tips help you save some time and money in the long run.
Technology isn’t going to wait for you.