Technology

5 Myths About Smartphone Batteries

The autonomy and correct charging of the batteries represent a mysterious science on which many erroneous information circulate: this article allows you to properly take care of the battery of your smartphone.

But among all these tips, which are effective and which are just a myth? Let’s unravel the truth of the false.

1. Completely empty your battery to extend its life

One of the worst battery myths only applies if you’re using a ’80s or ’90s nickel-cadmium battery in your…uh… 1993 Sony camcorder or your Sega GameGear console? This old rule stipulated that you had to completely empty your battery at 0% before recharging it, otherwise the memory effect would settle in and reduce the battery life.

Let’s get the truth back. Current Li-Ion batteries are not affected by this rule and “don’t forget” their maximum capacity simply because you charge your phone at 30%, 50% or even 97%. If this myth were still true today, my Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6S that I’ve had for a year would probably unload in a matter of minutes because I unplug them about 50 times a day to surf the web, take calls (which can last hours) or watch videos on YouTube.

Li-Ion batteries have a fixed set of discharge cycles, usually several thousand. It takes years to reach that threshold. In addition, the cycles work as follows: If you unload your phone by 75% (and reload it by 75%) one day and then 25% the next, you have completed one cycle of unloading, not two.

Final verdict: FALSE!

2. Empty your battery at 0% to calibrate the battery indicator

The myth is that your phone doesn’t recognize the real charge. Therefore, giving it two clear benchmarks of 0% and 100% will ensure the accuracy of the indicator. In fact, Li-Ion batteries on your phone and other mobile devices lose some of their initial charge over time, which means that your operating system does not give you the right battery charge.

To make sure, you have to empty your battery completely, then charge it completely every 2 to 3 months. Thus, the operating system records this value and can continue to correctly display the current battery level from 0 to 100%, even if the actual physical capacity can be reduced to 98%.

Final verdict: TRUE!

3. only use chargers and cables from your phone manufacturer…

…or your phone will melt!
…or your phone won’t charge as fast!
…or your phone will come alive and make you a slave and all of humanity with it!

My God. I’ve been reading these rumors for centuries. Some of them were probably launched by the phone manufacturers themselves because they prefer to sell you their cables, chargers, docks and wireless charging stations (more expensive of course). In general, third-party chargers are perfectly able to charge your phone as the original chargers of the manufacturer.

However, don’t skimp on quality. I can no longer count the number of £3.99 chargers I bought at airports or at random electronics stores in Asia that stopped working after only a few weeks. If you want something reliable, use the original cable provided with your phone or check out the reviews on Amazon. If a charging cable is made by a reputable brand and has hundreds of five-star ratings, you can’t go wrong.

Good to know: the new USB-C cables are a strange exception to this rule. There are now multiple implementations between OnePlus USB-C and official USB-C specifications. If you use one with the other, you may risk damaging your phone’s battery.

Final verdict: FALSE (unless you buy a brand-free cable with a star on a flea market)

4. Unplug your phone when it reaches 100%…

…or it could overload! Or burn!

A good friend of mine disconnected my phone 100%, saying it would damage the battery if I let it charge. Even some more reputable technical publications claim that this is true. It is not. Any modern device shuts down or severely limits the energy flow of your battery once it reaches its maximum capacity and simply powers the device itself.

Having said that, I notice that my phone gets a little hot when it’s plugged in, which over very long periods of time could have a detrimental effect on the equipment. However, it will probably take years for any device to fail, simply because it has warmed up a bit more than usual.

Final verdict: FALSE

5. Avoid extreme heat and cold

Speaking of heat, this theme takes me to another typical battery tip: if you use your phone in extreme heat or cold conditions, the battery can be damaged. This is in fact true because strong temperature fluctuations and extreme conditions affect ion flow and chemical stability. In addition, the speed of the chemical reaction in your Li-Ion battery increases with temperature, creating heat that then degrades the battery or even damages the phone (fortunately, phones have an integrated mechanism to prevent such a scenario: they go off).

Although excessively cold temperatures generally do not damage the battery, they can significantly reduce its service life. You may have noticed that your phone discharges much faster if you use it outdoors in winter.

Final verdict: TRUE

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