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Is your phone charging slow? Your smartphone can do a whole lot—but not if the battery’s exhausted. Unfortunately, as your phone gets older, it might take longer to charge.
Let’s talk about how mobile device charging works and the different charging methods available for current-generation phones. We’ll also see why older phones might require more time to charge and what you can do about it.
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Charging Phone With Low Voltage
Every mobile phone has a battery. For the most part, each battery delivers power the same way.
A cell battery contains two electrodes (one positive and one negative) and an electrolyte. Through usage, ions form in the electrodes, which drives a flow of electronics to your battery’s negative outer terminal, thereby giving off a charge.
In non-rechargeable batteries, these chemical reactions only occur one time. With rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, like the ones found in phones, the chemical reactions are “reversible.” Thus, recharging allows the cell to absorb power.
In broad terms, there are two ways to charge your smartphones: wired and wirelessly. There are pros and cons for both.
Pros and Cons of Wired Charging
Like other consumer electronics, smartphones have always shipped with cables for charging purposes. For a long time, these cables didn’t change.
For almost a decade, non-Apple devices have shipped with USB cables that have supported the USB 3.0 architecture. By contrast, since 2012, Apple devices have used Lightning, a proprietary computer bus and power connector.
“Fast Charging” technology has increased wired charging speeds considerably in recent years. This type of technology typically requires a newer USB Type-C connection. Fast charging specifications differ by manufacturer and device. For example, using a 45 Watt charger you can get your Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra up to 70 percent battery in 30 minutes.
Pros of Wired Charging
The most significant reason to stick with wired charging technology, at least for now, is efficiency. Plus it’s relatively universal, so if you forget to pack one when travelling then it’s likely your accommodation will have a spare.
Cons of Wired Charging
Not surprisingly, cables are the biggest reason to ditch wired charging technology. Cables are annoying and can become worn over time.
Pros and Cons of Wireless Charging
This brings us to an increasingly popular form of phone charging: wireless. There are many benefits to using wireless charging, although it does come with some drawbacks.
Pros of Wireless Charging
With wireless charging, you no longer have to worry about finding a cable. Instead, you just set your phone on a stationary charging pad—no fiddling around plugging a cable into your phone.
Convenience is another reason consumers are embracing wireless charging. Many of the charging pads on the market today allow you to charge multiple devices at the same time. They are also platform agnostic, meaning the same wireless charger will work for your Android and iOS device.
Cons of Wireless Charging
Wireless charging can be slower and less efficient than wired charging, though of course that depends on what type of charger you buy. However, because most phones can go an entire day between charges, this discrepancy isn’t as significant. Just place your phone on the charger before going to bed, and you’re good to go.
Wireless chargers also tend to generate some wasted heat, which in very rare cases could lead to your phone overheating. To avoid injury, make sure you only buy certified wireless charging bases. Wireless charging products are also more expensive than wired solutions.
5 Reasons Why Your Phone Is Charging Slowly
Now that you know how battery charging works, it’s time to look at what might be slowing down your older phone while charging.
1. Bad Accessories
The most straightforward reason your phone might be charging slower than before might have nothing to do with the phone itself. Instead, you could have a bad cord or adaptor, or weak power source.
USB cables get put through a lot, especially in homes with multiple users and devices. These cables are often dropped, bent, kept in locations where temperatures can vary significantly, and even stepped on. Therefore, before anything else, change the cable and see if that eliminates the problem.
You should also switch out the adaptor and see if that makes a difference. Do you continue to use the same adaptor even after buying a new phone? You should use the newer one.
Ideally, use chargers from reputable companies. The one that came with your phone is the best. If you buy some random unknown brand, you might find that it doesn’t charge as quickly as your phone is capable of.
Many people like to charge their mobile devices using a port on their computer. This isn’t always an ideal solution, depending on your computer’s age and whether other ports on your machine are in use at the same time.
Everything else being equal, you should use a direct source to charge your phone. In other words: use a wall charger whenever possible. And ensure that you are using a safe charger.
2. Port Issues
Your cable isn’t the only element that could have problems from daily charging. Your phone’s charging port could also suffer some damage. Look at the port for corrosion or obstruction. While this probably isn’t the reason it’s taking more time to charge your device, you should at least rule it out.
To find the latter, use a flashlight and magnification to look around inside your phone’s port. Try to remove any object (lint, dust, etc.) that doesn’t belong, being very careful not to cause damage to the port’s components.
You can carefully use a plastic toothpick to remove any objects. Using a small, soft brush inside the port is also good.
3. Background Apps
Phones that take forever to charge can also have a hard time keeping a charge when in use. A rogue app, or background apps in general, could be the reason for this.
Both Android and iOS have tools for you to find out what apps are running in the background. For Android-based devices, check out the battery usage menu located at Settings > Battery (or it might be under a section like Device care). On your iPhone, select Battery in the Settings app to see which apps are using the most battery.Image Gallery (2 Images)
Some apps might show high battery usage just because you use them often. Look for apps that have minimal time usage but questionably high battery usage. When you think you’ve located the nasty app, delete it and see if your battery life and charging speed improves.
4. Aging Battery
If your phone is more than two or three years old, and has had heavy use during that period, it might be time to think about having the battery replaced.
Lithium-ion batteries don’t last forever and can only be recharged a limited number of times. Therefore, it could be that the battery itself is what’s causing the slow recharging.
While it’s rare now, your phone might have a removable back so that you can easily buy a replacement battery and swap it out. However, it’s more likely that you’ll need to take your phone to a repair shop to ask for more information on replacing the battery in your device.
5. Using the Phone While Charging
Are you the type of person that has to use your smartphone even when it’s charging? Perhaps you’re the reason the device takes so long to recharge.
Apps such as Facebook are notorious for sapping battery life on phones. Nowhere is this more apparent than when you’re attempting to recharge your device while also leaving posts on your social network.
Some phones will struggle to provide power for use and charge at the same time. Put your phone down and let it charge in peace.
How to Fix a Phone That Won’t Charge
It shouldn’t take a long time to recharge the battery on your phone. If you’ve noticed it slowing down significantly, there’s probably an issue that’s easy to resolve. If the tips found in this article haven’t helped, consider taking your device to the nearest authorized service center to have an expert take a look.
can cheap charging cables damage your phone
THE BEST PHONES TO BUY IF YOU’RE A PHONE ENTHUSIAST 2021
THE BEST FOLDING PHONE BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOU NEED ONE IN YOUR COLLECTION
Folding phones are the future, right? You can’t call yourself a Real Phone Enthusiast without one in your life. Hands down, the best folding phone you can buy right now is Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G. It’s got everything you might want from a modern smartphone, but it also opens up into a tablet-sized screen that lets you put more than one app side-by-side or look at a giant version of Google Maps. It’s easy to justify because you can tell yourself that you will get SO MUCH WORK done on it, right after you finish watching that YouTube video. Promise.
The Fold 2 costs more than most laptops, you have to baby it, and there’s a really good chance the screen will crack or break on you even if you are careful, but that’s just the price you have to pay to be on the bleeding edge.
If you’re buying a folding phone and are willing to pay the cost to get one, you should buy the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.
THE BEST IPHONE FOR WHEN YOU’RE DOUBLE-FISTING AN ANDROID PHONE
Look, I know that you know that everyone in the world has an iPhone and it’s the farthest thing from an “interesting” phone. But at the same time, it’s hard to ignore what Apple’s doing, and really, iMessage and the Apple Watch are pretty great. Lots of people carry an iPhone alongside an Android phone, and you could be one of them.
The best iPhone for doing this is the iPhone 12 Mini. It does everything its bigger siblings can do, but it can easily fit in a secondary pocket and isn’t a burden to carry around. The battery life is kinda lousy, but who cares, that’s why you have a second phone on you anyway, right?
The iPhone 12 Mini is the smallest phone in Apple’s lineup and the best small phone you can get.
THE BEST PHONE FOR SEEING WHAT THIS “GAMING PHONE” TREND IS ALL ABOUT
Gaming phones are so hot right now (unless they’ve got a great cooling system) — it seems like a new model is released every three months. You can’t call yourself a true phone enthusiast without being up on this trend, and the best one to dip your toes into it with is the Asus ROG Phone 5 Ultimate.
The ROG Phone 5 Ultimate has a ton of features that can make any mobile accomplisher swoon. A massive battery. A ridiculously high refresh screen. An OLED screen on the back you can customize to show whatever you want. A bunch of accessories to make gaming better. 18GB of RAM! How could you not buy this phone?
The Asus ROG Phone 5 is the quintessential example of a modern gaming phone. It has over-the-top specs, lots of gaming accessories, and a head-turning design.
THE BEST PHONE FOR PRETENDING YOU’RE GOING TO USE A STYLUS
Writing on a phone screen with a pen is so cool! It feels futuristic and is just so natural. At least, it is for the first week until you forget about it and it never leaves the little garage built into the side of the phone again.
If you’ve been telling yourself that little “I’m gonna be a stylus person” lie, you need a phone that supports one and it’s hard to see buying anything other than Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20. It’s got a low latency S Pen, a bunch of software features that can utilize the stylus, and all of the other bells and whistles of a modern smartphone, which means it works quite well long after you’ve forgotten about the stylus.
- 27% off
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is one of Samsung’s top-tier non-folding phones, and it has excellent battery life.
THE BEST PHONE FOR MESSING AROUND WITH THE ANDROID 12 BETA
Okay, I said I wasn’t going to recommend anything rational in this guide, but this is perhaps the recommendation that makes the most sense: if you want to mess around with the Android 12 beta but don’t want to install it on your main phone, you should just buy a Google Pixel 4A. It’s only $350 (that’s just $20 more than it costs to fix a broken screen on an iPhone 12 Pro Max) and can work with Google’s latest and greatest software even before it’s released to the public.
You know the Android betas are going to be messy — battery life is going to be bad, there will be lots of bugs, certain apps might not work correctly — so you don’t want to put it on a device you actually need to rely on. Once the beta period is over, the Pixel 4A is a great device for experimenting with the aftermarket ROM world. Get a Pixel 4A and flash those ROMs to your heart’s content.
A very inexpensive smartphone with one of the best cameras for photography you can get on any smartphone at any price.
THE BEST PHONE FOR MAKING PEOPLE GO “WHOA, IS THAT A PHONE?”
As a phone enthusiast, you already know this harsh truth: the Microsoft Surface Duo is not a good phone. It has an old processor. The camera is worse than any iPhone of the past five years. The battery life is decidedly Not Great. It gets hot doing simple tasks. There are SO MANY software bugs. It’s got a generation-old version of Android. It doesn’t even support wireless charging or NFC payments! Oh yeah, and there’s that questionable build quality to worry about.
But there’s something undeniably cool about the Surface Duo, like it’s a device from the future coming here to bless us in the early 21st century. It’s so thin, it has two screens, the hinge is incredibly neat. Open it up in public and you’re sure to get someone to ask “wow, is that a phone?” which we all know is the ultimate goal here. You can then show them all of its cool features, right after it’s done rebooting itself for the fifth time that day.
- 55% off
Microsoft’s first Android phone was its ambitious foldable Surface Duo. It features two OLED displays, and its high-end design fits in with the greater Surface family of products.
THE BEST PHONE FOR TELLING YOURSELF THAT YOU DON’T NEED AN ACTUAL CAMERA
For years now we’ve been told that phone cameras are so good that you don’t need an actual camera. The iPhone 12 Pro Max might be the best example of that yet. It’s got a bigger sensor! It’s got three focal lengths! It can shoot video in Dolby Vision HDR!
At the end of the day, it’s still a phone camera and can’t really hold a candle to the image quality or creative control you get with a larger mirrorless camera. But hey, it’s fun to live in that lie and you can totally see the difference between the 12 Pro Max images and other phones. When you blow them up on a big screen. And zoom in.
Apple’s top-of-the-line iPhone 12 Pro Max has a better camera system than you can get in the other iPhone models this year.
THE BEST PHONE FOR SAYING “YOU CAN’T GET THIS IN THE US”
Perhaps the ultimate phone flex is pulling a phone out of your pocket that nobody else is going to have. If you’re in the US, the Oppo Find X3 Pro is that phone. It’s got features you can’t get on any American phone and a design you won’t see everywhere, like a microscope camera and softly rounded camera bump. Sure, it won’t really work great on the cellular networks here, importing it is an expensive hassle, and you won’t have any warranty whatsoever. But just think of the envy on your friends’ faces when you tell them they can’t have this phone.
Oppo’s Find X3 Pro is the company’s latest flagship and it’s not sold in the US. It has a unique camera system and head-turning design that you won’t see on American phones.
THE BEST PHONE FOR WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT PIXEL PHONES AREN’T GREAT, BUT YOU DON’T WANT A SAMSUNG EITHER
Google’s Pixel phones have such great software and then… mediocre everything else. Samsung phones have incredible hardware but are laden with heavy software and actual ads inside of the stock apps. The OnePlus 9 Pro splits that difference — it has software that’s similar to Google’s on hardware that’s virtually a Samsung with a different logo on it.
The 9 Pro is just what the phone enthusiast ordered: a high-end, bells-and-whistles device with All Of The Specs but none of the cruft.
The latest flagship phone from OnePlus. It features a 6.7-inch QHD+ display, an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor.
THE BEST WEEKEND PHONE FOR WHEN YOU’RE “DISCONNECTING”
Here comes the weekend, with all of its promises of relaxation and enjoyment. You don’t need a phone that’s going to make you more productive, you need something that’s going to slip into your pocket and won’t distract you with a colorful display unless you absolutely need it to.
The Z Flip 5G is this phone. You can flip it closed to ignore it and then pop it open and have a full smartphone inside, complete with every feature you get on non-flippy phones. You’re making a compromise without really making a compromise, because we all know that you had no intention of actually disconnecting for the weekend.
The Galaxy Z Flip is a folding phone designed to fit a full smartphone easily into your pocket.