Things About Mobile Device Batteries You Probably Didn’t Know

It’s sufficient to say that a phone is nothing without its battery. This is why so many portable electronics users look for guidance in how to make their batteries perform better and live longer. However, when you look to the internet, you’ll find either misinformation or advice that omits crucial details and repeats regurgitated advice that you probably already knew about. In this day and age, we probably have very high expectations for our batteries, despite the fact that batteries haven’t advanced nearly as quickly as mobile technology has. As a consequence, device batteries are very pretentious beasts. Let’s talk about what you really need to know when it comes to battery care.

 1: The whole “discharge your battery completely to prolong its life” concept is a myth.

At least it’s a myth nowadays. This myth started back when portable electronic devices were using nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries. NiCad suffered from the incapacity to fully understand its own charge. If you charged your electronic device before it discharged completely, this would backfire on you and create what is known as the “memory effect.” This effect essentially cuts the device’s battery life significantly unless it is discharged once in awhile. Oh, and you don’t have to worry about that anymore.

In the modern mobile era, we no longer use NiCad batteries. Instead, we use lithium-ion (Li-Ion). You may be aware of this, but you’re probably not aware of the fact that completely discharging a Li-Ion battery may damage it. Each time you drain the battery, it risks going below the 3.3-volt mark. Battery charge is determined by voltage, and most Li-Ion batteries operate between 3.3 (empty) and 4.2 volts (fully charged). If you fall below or rise above this range, the battery will overcompensate the shock and lose a little bit of its charge capacity (measured in milliamp hours).

Once your battery reaches 30-50 percent charge, just stick it in the charger and that’s the end of it!

2: Temperature affects battery life.


If you’re letting your mobile device sit in your car unattended in the middle of the summer, it will lose some of its capacity permanently. The battery’s chemicals are stuck inside a tube that doesn’t give them a lot of wiggle room. Batteries get exhausted just like humans do from heat. Although some people may tell you to avoid putting your battery in cold temperatures, it’s really no big deal. In fact, storing an unused battery in freezing temperatures might help it retain more of its charge than it would at room temperature.

3: Never store a drained or full battery for a long period of time.


You should never drain your Li-Ion battery. End of story. However, you might think that it’s fine to store a fully-charged battery for a prolonged period of time. The more, the better, right?

Wrong. Batteries are more chemically active and store more potential energy when fully-charged. The more juice they have, the more likely they are to crystallize their internal chemicals over the long run. This results in a permanent loss of capacity. You should always store batteries at a maximum of 70% capacity. Ideally, you should store them at 50%.

Got more tips?

Batteries remain some of the most enigmatic things that appear in electronics, so it’s no surprise that some people just don’t “get it.” Leave a comment below to let other fellow readers know important information about their batteries!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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