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Smartphone users — casual and enthusiast alike — are forever in search of longer battery life. While fast charging keeps us topped up every day, the absence of replaceable batteries means eventually the lithium-ion cells enclosed in our phones are going to age and deteriorate.
If you’ve held onto a phone for a year or more, you’ve probably noticed the battery doesn’t seem to last as long as it did when it was brand new. Two years down the line and many phones struggle to make it through the day on a single charge. Holding onto a phone past three years can even spell trouble for system stability.EDITOR’S PICK
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Unfortunately, battery capacity inevitably declines with age. However, there are things you can do to prolong the life of your battery and handset. If you’ve ever wondered what the best way to charge your battery is, here are some scientifically proven tips for maximizing battery life.Android phones with the best battery | Best Android phones with a removable battery
Battery Charging Tips For Android Phones
Partial charging is the way to go
One particularly persistent battery myth is that you need to occasionally fully discharge and recharge to erase “battery memory.” This couldn’t be more wrong for lithium-ion batteries. It’s a leftover myth from lead-acid cells and it’s actually quite undesirable to charge your modern smartphone in this way.EDITOR’S PICK
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Partial charging is just fine for lithium-ion batteries and can actually have some positive benefits for cell longevity. To understand why it’s important to appreciate how a battery charges. When closer to empty, Li-ion batteries draw constant current and operate at a lower voltage. This voltage gradually increases as the cell charges up, leveling off at around a 70 percent charge before the current begins to fall until the capacity is full.
Partial charging is just fine for lithium-ion batteries and even has some positive benefits.
Importantly, operating at a low voltage is good for a battery’s lifespan, increasing the number of available charging cycles before you’ll start to see a major reduction in capacity. Roughly speaking, every 0.1V decrease in cell voltage doubles the cycle life, according to Battery University. Therefore, charging up your phone in that 30 to 80 percent range keeps the voltage lower and prolongs the battery lifespan.Lower battery voltages help prolong capacity over time. Green: lower voltage charging for first ~65%. Yellow: Start of constant voltage. Red: Long period of high voltage charging for last 15%.Battery UniversityLower battery voltages help prolong capacity over time. Green: lower voltage charging for first ~65%. Yellow: Start of constant voltage. Red: Long period of high voltage charging for last 15%.
Furthermore, the “depth-of-discharge” has a similar effect on the total discharge cycles before battery capacity drops off. This refers to the amount the battery used up in between charges. Smaller discharges, in the region of 60 percent rather than 100 percent between refueling can double the lifespan of your battery, and only using 20 percent can double the life again.
Small but regular top-ups are much better for Li-ion batteries than long full charge cycles.
Using up just 20 percent of your battery between charges isn’t going to be practical for most people, but topping up when you’ve used about half will see a notable improvement in your battery life over the long term, especially if you avoid charging up to full each time too. The bottom line is that small regular top-ups are much better for Li-ion batteries than long full charge cycles. Docks are convenient but you shouldn’t leave a device in one once it has hit 100% charge.
Avoid idle charging
Charging overnight or in a cradle during the day is a very common habit, but it’s not recommended for several reasons (the old “overcharging” myth isn’t one of them). First, continuous trickle charging of a full battery can cause plating of the metallic lithium, which reduces stability in the long term and can lead to system-wide malfunctions and reboots. Secondly, it leaves the battery at the higher stress voltage when at 100 percent, as we just mentioned above. Third, it creates excess heat caused by wasted power dissipation.
Continuing to charge when a phone is at 100% is a recipe for voltage and temperature stress.
Ideally, a device should stop charging when it reaches 100 percent battery capacity, only turning the charging circuit back on to top up the battery every now and again — or at the very least reducing the charging current to very small amounts.
I tested a few phones charged to 100 percent and they continued to pull up to half an amp and sometimes more from the wall outlet. Turning the smartphones off doesn’t make a difference in many cases, with only the LG V30 dropping down to below 20mA when off and still plugged in. Most phones hover between 200 and 500 mA.At 100 percent charge, this phone still draws 200mA to keep the battery topped up.Using the phone increases the current draw, inducing a mini cycle in the battery.
A final point worth mentioning is parasitic load. This occurs when the battery is being drained significantly at the same time as being charged, such as watching a video or gaming while charging.
Parasitic loads are bad for batteries because they distort the charging cycle and can induce mini-cycles, where part of the battery continually cycles and deteriorates at a faster rate than the rest of the cell. Worse still, parasitic loads occurring when a device is fully charged also induce higher voltage stress and heat on the battery.
Gaming or watching videos while charging is bad because they distort charging cycles.
The best way to avoid parasitic loads it to turn your device off while charging. But it’s probably more realistic to keep the workload very light while the device is plugged in, leaving it to idle most of the time. Remember to unplug it once the battery is topped up enough.
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Heat is the enemy of long battery life
Along with all of the above, temperature is an equally key contributor to battery longevity. Just like high voltages, high temperatures stress the battery and make it lose capacity far more quickly than when kept at lower temperatures.
A cell kept between 25 – 30 degrees Celsius (77 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit) should retain around 80 percent of its capacity after the first year even when cycling from empty to full charge. Battery capacity will be higher than this after a year if smaller periodic charging cycles are used. Raising the temperature to 40C (104F) sees this fall to just 65 percent capacity after the first year, and a 60C (140F) battery temperature will hit this marker in as little as three months.The ideal temperature to maximise battery cycle life is between 20 and 50°CResearchgateThe ideal temperature to maximize battery cycle life is between 20 and 45C
A battery dwelling in a full state-of-charge exposed to a high temperature is the worst of all worlds and the number one thing to avoid when charging your phone. So no leaving your phone under your pillow to charge at night or plugged in on the dashboard of your car on a hot day.EDITOR’S PICK
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Fast charging technologies are a contentious issue here, as the higher current and voltages can definitely lead to a hotter device while charging. Fast charging was never really envisioned for full-cycle charging though, instead, it’s a fast way to top up your phone quickly to get it back in your hands. Leaving your phone to quickly charge up for 15 to 20 minutes won’t lead to major overheating problems, but I certainly don’t recommend using them for overnight charging.
Bringing this all together
Lithium-ion battery technology is well understood these days, but bad habits and myths still permeate public consciousness. While most of these habits won’t severely negatively impact your phone’s battery life in the medium term, the decline in removable phone batteries means we should take extra precautions to maximize our phone’s battery life and cell longevity.EDITOR’S PICK
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Broadly speaking, smaller regular charge cycles and keeping your phone cool are the key things to remember. Although I should point out that different phone batteries will always age slightly differently depending on how we treat them. Here’s a TL;DR summary of the battery tips above:
What’s the best way to charge your smartphone?
- Avoid full cycle (zero-100 percent) and overnight charging. Instead, top-up your phone more regularly with partial charges.
- Ending a charge at 80 percent is better for the battery than topping all the way up to 100 percent.
- Use fast charging technologies sparingly and never overnight.
- Heat is the battery killer. Don’t cover your phone when charging and keep it out of hot places.
- Turn your phone off when charging, or at least don’t play games or watch videos to avoid mini-cycles.
9 Tips to Boost Your Android Phone’s Battery Life
Today’s Android phones pack big, bright screens and high-end features that suck plenty of power. Here’s how to squeeze the most juice out of your battery.By Jason CohenUpdated December 6, 2020
There are a number of factors that contribute to poor battery life on your Android phone. Thinner bodies, brighter screens, faster processors, more background software, and speedier internet connections all take their toll on phone batteries, but manufacturers are also incorporating more powerful batteries to compensate.
The Motorola Moto G Power has a 5,000mAh battery that can last for over 18 hours. Samsung’s Galaxy S phones, the most popular Android devices, can now last anywhere between 11 and 13 hours, depending on the model. Still, there are ways to get more out of any phone.
When it comes to software, Android can be tricky to pin down. Each manufacturer uses a different version of the operating system, so certain settings and features are always going to look different or be located somewhere else. With that caveat in mind, here are some ways to improve the battery life on your Android phone.
Turn On Power Saving Mode
Think you’re going to be stuck in a situation where you need your phone battery to last longer than it normally does? Switch your phone into power saver mode, which automatically cuts back on functions that may eat battery life.
Most phones should offer more than one option, but a Samsung phone running Android 10 will have four different options. High performance uses more battery by turning up screen brightness and resolution and Optimized maintains a balance between performance and battery life. Medium power saving allows you to extend battery life by limiting data usage and turning down brightness, resolution, and CPU performance. Switching on Maximum power saving will strip your device down to just the essential apps and services you use.
You can also activate Adaptive power saving mode, which sits on top of your other power settings and helps to manage battery usage based on when you use the device and when it’s in your pocket.
Android 10 allows you to turn on Power Saving Mode right from the phone’s pulldown shade, then change a few options to save some battery. You can also head into Settings and find the power saving options within the device care section of your phone. Specific apps can even be controlled to use less power or turn off completely when not in use.
Watch Your Network Data
Network data is strenuous on your battery, so use Wi-Fi whenever possible. Remember to keep your Wi-Fi on and connected to a network when at home or (when possible) out in public.
You can stop your phone from using cellular data by turning off mobile data services from the quick settings panel on your phone. You can also make use of Airplane Mode to disable all data network features and switch on Wi-Fi, though this will disrupt incoming calls and SMS texts.
Try Dark Mode With the Right Screen
Dark mode is nice on the eyes, but it doesn’t really do anything for your battery unless your device has an OLED or AMOLED display. Most older phones use LCD screens, but flagship phones from Samsung, OnePlus, and Google have transitioned to using this newer display technology.
If you have a phone with an OLED or AMOLED display, it means the phone actually turns off the pixels that are displaying black, so you’re saving some battery when all those bright white panels have now gone dark. According to iFixit, you could be saving as much as an hour of battery life by switching on dark mode.
You can turn on dark mode in Android Pie or Android 10 from its quick settings icon in the phone’s pulldown shade or find it in the display settings on the backend. Don’t stop here, though, because there are plenty of apps that have their own dark mode settings.
Give the Active Tracking a Rest
Features like Bluetooth, NFC, Samsung’s phone visibility, and location services are helpful but drain your battery as your phone pings to connect and update. If you’re looking to preserve juice, turn them off until you actually need them.
You also might not need your voice assistant program at all times. If you have Google Assistant up and running, go into the Assistant settings and deactivate it, which will stop Google Assistant from actively listening and using up battery life. If you have a Samsung device, you can also turn off the Bixby voice assistant feature that comes with the company’s Android phones.
You may also want to disable any routines you have enabled to stop your phone from automatically performing tasks that use power.
Your Screen Is Too Bright
Smartphone screens look great these days, but unsurprisingly, crisp resolution and bountiful pixels are battery hogs. You probably don’t need your device turned up to the highest setting. Go into your display settings and turn down the brightness on the screen; your eyes and battery will thank you.
You should also consider disabling auto brightness, which adjusts based on your perceived needs but can also raise the brightness of your display higher than it needs to be. You can even change how long your screen remains active. Under the display settings on your phone, set it to fade to black after a few seconds. And head into the notifications settings to disable notifications from specific apps, so your phone doesn’t light up every time a new alert comes in.
Silence Your Phone
A phone constantly beeping and buzzing with notifications is annoying and a battery drain, so knock it off. Your phone has to trigger an internal motor to buzz, which—you guessed it—uses energy. Go into the sounds and vibration settings and turn vibration intensity down. Here, you can also disable haptic feedback so it doesn’t vibrate when you type or touch the screen.
Take Control of Your Apps
Developers put a lot of work into making sure their apps run as efficiently as possible, but many will continue to run in the background even when you aren’t using them. This will, of course, eat up data and battery life over time. You can put unused apps to sleep under the App Power Management option in the device care section of your phone.
Go a step further and set specific apps to sleep in order to prevent them from using up too much power when not in use. Keep in mind that sleeping and deep sleeping apps will not receive updates unless they are in use, so you may need to update manually.
Under the Apps section in Settings you can select individual apps, then allow or disable background activity or optimize its battery usage.
Meanwhile, keep an eye out for ad-supported apps that seem to be hogging battery. As BuzzFeed reported in 2019f, ad fraud schemes can hijack in-app ads to run videos in the background. You won’t actually see these videos, but they’ll register as plays to the advertiser, meaning they’re duped into paying as your battery heads to zero.
It’s a good idea to periodically check on the apps that are draining your battery the quickest to see if there are any outliers you can delete or disable. You can view this information under battery usage in Settings, then decide which apps should be allowed to run in the background and which should be turned off when not in use.
Rethink Wallpaper and Widgets
Stay away from moving wallpaper, because it takes energy for your display to animate it. It’s also a good idea to limit yourself to a background with fewer colors in it, since the display will eat up more energy if it needs to render a lot of different colors. Again, if you have an OLED screen, black is better.
While widgets are tempting and convenient, they are essentially an active program usable right from your home screen, so the phone uses energy keeping the feature running. Just say no to these little guys if battery life is a problem.
Automate the Process
If all this is too much to remember, a service like If This Then That (IFTTT) supports automated workflows that can help you conserve battery life. Use IFTTT to turn off services like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth based on your location, for example, or disable specific services when your battery falls to a certain percentage.
Apps like Greenify, meanwhile, analyze the apps on your phone and identify which ones are more likely to drain battery life. It can then set inactive apps deemed to be problematic into hibernation, ensuring your phone battery runs as smoothly as it did the day you got the device.
Bonus: Buy a Portable Battery or Case
If you want more battery life but don’t want to do anything differently, that’s fine. There are many fine power banks that will work with any phone. You can also find a battery case that fits your specific device. Just remember to pack them before you head out the door.
4 Mistakes You’re Making When You Charge Your Phone
What’s the best way to charge your phone? What habits should you bend over backwards to avoid?
Keeping your gadgets charged is easy in the short term. Just keep an eye on their battery level and plug them into the wall when it gets low. But keeping your gadgets’ batteries healthy in the long run is a much more complicated proposition. The lithium-ion batteries we have in virtually all of our gadgets are chemically destined to degrade over time, holding less charge than they used to, and blowing through what little they have faster then before. It’s impossible to stop this process, but it is possible to slow it.Related StoriesTurntable and Speaker Combos That Make Vinyl EasyThe Best Wireless Earbuds of 2020
To find out the best ways to postpone the inevitable, we talked to Isidor Buchmann, CEO and founder of Cadex Electronics and main contributor to extremely in-depth and invaluable online resource Battery University, about how exactly you should treat your batteries in a perfect world, what you can do to maximize their life.
So brace yourself, because here’s what you’re probably doing wrong.
You’re always charging it up to 100%
It may put your mind at ease when your smartphone’s battery reads 100 percent charge, but it’s actually not great for the battery. “A lithium-ion battery doesn’t like to be fully charged,” Buchmann says. “And it doesn’t like to be fully charged and warm.”
Electric vehicles, with batteries that are required by various regulations to have a minimum operational life on the order of several years, make that prospect more feasible than it is for your phone by using drastically oversized batteries that are purposefully designed to never be fully charged. “You’ll typically charge to about 80 percent and discharge down to about 20,” Buchmann says. “In that mid-range use, you get far more cycles than if you fully charged and discharged as we do on our cellphones.”ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
If you’re on a device that runs iOS 13, you’re in luck because Apple’s new Optimized Battery Charging option allows you to do exactly this, and if you can stomach the being less than 100 percent in the morning, you should absolutely turn it on. Unfortunately, barring phones that start incorporating much bigger batteries along or software settings to ensure that they stop charging before their batteries are actually, literally full, it’s next to impossible to ensure that your iPhone is never at 100 percent unless you are constantly staring at it while it’s on the charger. That said, if you can avoid getting full to the brim on a regular basis, the practice will pay dividends in the long run. “If you can live with an energy band of about 60 percent instead of 100 percent,” Buchmann says, “you can easily double the battery life.”
You’re letting it get too close to zero
Charging your battery all the way up is less than ideal, and to make matters worse, so is discharging it down to zero. While older nickel-cadmium batteries did have a “memory” that could be disrupted by anything other than a full cycle from full to empty, your modern lithium-ion battery abhors both extremes. So, in a perfect world, your battery never goes below 20 percent, and also never above 80 percent.
The good news is that lithium-ion batteries like to be charged in short spurts, so plugging in for five percent here and 10 percent there is not only fine, but advisable. Cycling your phone from 100 percent, down to zero, and back up has a very limited utility in that it can “recalibrate” a battery if it’s doing strange things like dying out of nowhere when it claims to be decently charged, says Buchmann. “But other than that, it’s not advised to fully cycle lithium-ion.”
You’re letting it get too hot
The most stressful thing that can happen to your phone’s battery during regular use is not, in fact, being discharged, or even being empty. “The combination of full charge and warm actually causes more stress than usage,” Buchmann warns. “If you’re in a car in the summer, don’t put it on the dashboard. Put it on the floor, or in the shade.”
Circumstances where your phone or laptop are fully charged and extremely hot should be relatively rare and, as such, relatively avoidable. Don’t leave your fully-charged phone in the summer sun! Perhaps the most dangerous recurring heat-and-charge combination is a laptop that is always plugged in and prone to running hot, in which case investing in a cooling stand may be a smart move in case you ever want to use your laptop away from its tether.
While you might reasonably think this means bad news for wireless chargers which often generate a fair bit of waste heat as they juice up your gadgets, the chemistry actually gets a little bit more complicated: lithium-ion batteries don’t like to be hot when they’re full but recent studies on vehicle batteries suggest they do like to be warm while they charge and discharge, so your wireless charger is at least probably not terrible for your battery’s health.
“For charging and discharging, the battery likes to be warm. Between 25 and 40 degrees Celsius (77-104 F),” Buchmann says. “But in storage, the battery should be cool, maybe 15 or 10 degrees Celsius (59-50 F).” Monitoring these temperatures constantly is a tall order and probably not remotely feasible, but you can find apps that will take note of your batteries temperture and warn you if it hits extremes, which will at least help you avoid the worst scenarios.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW
After reading all this, you’re worrying about it too much
It’s good to know the battery basics so you can avoid the worst pitfalls, but it’s also important to not fall into the trap of trying to be perfect. In the end, a lot of this is completely out of your hands. Despite the fact that lithium-ion batteries power a lot of our everyday life, the science of exactly how they function in practice is very much still in development, with new nuances still being uncovered. And much of the emerging science comes from tests on huge multi-cell vehicle batteries, which are similar but not identical to the single-cell battery in your phone. On top of that, your day-to-day charging usage experience is so riddled with variables that it’s pretty much impossible to confirm whether or not you’re doing things right.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, your phone is not going to last forever, and not even super-humanly good battery treatment is going to change that. A screen replacement that’s just slightly too expensive to be worth it for your aging phone or outdated processor that can’t handle the latest software is all but destined to end your phone’s usable life even if the battery doesn’t. And until or unless the companies that make phones start designing them to survive a much, much longer lifespan, there’s not a whole lot you can do as the end user.
Just like your battery’s charge is a resource that you spend for the convenience of checking your phone, consider your battery’s overall lifespan as a resource you’ll need to spend wisely to preserve your own sanity. It’s up to you to decide what safeguards are worth the trouble.
“Why have a perfectly good battery when the glass is broken or the phone becomes obsolete?” Buchmann asks. “It all sort of harmonizes together to come to an end.” You’ll never prevent it, but armed with what you know now, maybe you’ll be able to postpone it a little bit longer.