Smartphones are rated to around 500 charges. However, by taking some simple steps, you can double the lifespan of your battery! Let’s dive in.
Types of smartphone battery
All modern smartphones use a lithium-based battery – either lithium-ion (Li-ion) or lithium polymer (Li-pol). Lithium batteries degrade slightly each time there are recharged, with Li-pol batteries usually lasting longer.
How many times can you re-charge your phone?
Modern smartphone batteries are only rated for between 300 and 700 charge cycles, depending on the type of battery. A phone with a newer li-pol battery will be rated for a minimum of 500 cycles.
But what is a charge cycle?
Every time you fully drain your battery and then re-charge to full, that counts as one charge cycle. If you drain your battery to 50% twice, your phone will count that as one full charge cycle. If you’re fully draining your battery every day, then you could notice a significant health reduction in only one year of using your phone!
However, not all charge cycles are created equal – and the good news is, there’s a way to keep your battery healthy for much, much longer.
Most battery degradation happens when the charging voltage is high. This happens when the battery is close to full (when a higher voltage is applied to force more power into the battery) or empty (when ultra-fast charging is enabled). This means that if you never fully charge or fully drain your phone, the battery will last significantly longer.
Studies have shown that reducing the voltage by just 0.1 of a volt, you can double the number of charge cycles. Even taking the small step of not leaving your phone charging overnight can make a massive difference to the lifespan of your battery!
Wait – I thought I should always fully drain my battery!
You may have heard that rechargeable batteries last longer if they are allowed to fully charge and discharge every time, but that only applies to nickel-cadmium batteries – which haven’t been used in phones for many years.
What can degrade your battery?
Here are a few things can cause the battery to degrade more quickly:
- Physical Impact. While a strong enough impact can puncture your battery and cause immediate issues, smaller impacts should also be avoided. Regularly bumping your phone against things could cause minor damage to your device in the long term
- Extreme temperatures. Keep your device away from excessive heat and cold, as changes in temperature can degrade battery performance and lifespan. For the same reason, you should never charge your phone under your pillow, as this could cause the phone to overheat.
- High Voltage. Using a poor quality charger could expose your phone battery to higher-than-usual voltages, which can quickly degrade the battery’s health. Higher voltages are also involved in fast-charging, as well as charging to 100%. Modern smartphones include ‘optimized charging’ settings to prevent this from happening.
Our top tips for taking care of your battery:
- Never fully drain your battery. The more charge you have left over in your device before charging again, the more protected your battery will be from degrading too quickly.
- Avoid charging to 100%. Certain phones, such as recent iPhones, have a feature called ‘optimized battery charging’, which will allow you to set a limit and prevent your phone’s battery from over-charging.
- Always use the right charger. Always use the charger that comes with your device or a high-quality replacement. Poor quality chargers can harm your battery.
- Avoid fast charging frequently. While fast charging is convenient, using it all the time can stress the battery. Use it sparingly if possible.
- Use battery saving setting on your phone, and minimize background apps. Apps running in the background can drain the battery. Close unnecessary apps to reduce strain on the battery.
- Keep your device’s software up to date. Recent software updates may provide additional features that protect your phone’s battery health in the long term.
- Take good care of your device. Keep it in a case, and don’t let it overheat or freeze. If you’re not going to use the device for an extended period, don’t leave it fully charged or at zero. Stored electronics will hold a charge of around 50% without any issues.
Remember that all batteries degrade over time, but following these tips can help maximize your lithium-ion battery’s life. Many modern smartphones give the option of monitoring your battery health in the settings menu.