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8 Phone Battery Myths Busted

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1. You should always fully charge and discharge your phone: FALSE

So-called ‘battery memory’ – where batteries degrade if you don’t let them drain fully before recharging – is a real phenomenon, but it only applies to rechargeable nickel–cadmium and nickel–metal hydride batteries (the sort you’d pop into a remote control or toy car). The same is not true of the lithium-ion batteries inside phones and laptops.

2. Charging your phone overnight wastes energy: TRUE

Plugging in a device to charge is a nightly ritual for many of us, so is this a waste of energy? Yes, but probably less than you think: modern-day regulations mean that today’s chargers go into a ‘standby’ mode when your device is fully charged, so you’re only wasting a couple of pounds’ worth of energy per year.

3. Only use the charger that came with your phone: FALSE

The right charger is important for keeping your phone and battery safe while charging, and preventing any fires or meltdowns along the way, but third-party alternatives are fine – as long as they’re from a reputable, well-known brand. What you must never do is use a cheap, no-label knock-off, as these are likely to be dangerous.

4. Heat harms your smartphone’s battery: TRUE

Lithium-ion batteries don’t like heat: they wear out and degrade much faster when they’re hot, which is something to remember the next time you’re tempted to leave one in a hot car in the middle of summer. Those temperature recommendations in your phone’s instructions (that you never read) are there for a reason.

5. Letting a battery get to zero is dangerous: FALSE

When lithium-ion batteries are completely drained, they’re at their most dangerous. You don’t need to panic, because modern packs are built to disable themselves rather than explode, but you’d then need a replacement. If you’re leaving a device switched off for a while, leave it at a charge of around 40 per cent rather than zero. When lithium-ion batteries are completely drained, they’re at their most dangerous. You don’t need to panic, because modern packs are built to disable themselves rather than explode, but you’d then need a replacement. If you’re leaving a device switched off for a while, leave it at a charge of around 40 per cent rather than zero.

6. Every battery has a finite life expectancy: TRUE

Batteries have what’s known as a charge cycle lifespan, after which they’ll stop performing reliably or may not even charge at all (you might have seen this on really old handsets). The charge cycle limit is a large one – somewhere in the region of 500 before degradation starts – but bear it in mind every time you’re recharging.

7. Fast charging is better than slow charging: FALSE

Many phones like the Samsung Galaxy S6 now come with some form of ‘fast charging’ feature which is convenient but also slightly harmful to your device – batteries work best when they’re charged and discharged at a slow, steady rate. If you can afford to wait for the battery to replenish, it’s better to disable such a feature first.

8. You should always charge your phone 100 percent: FALSE

Charging your phone to 100 per cent each time actually causes a slight degradation in lithium-ion batteries. It’s a small difference, but it is there. These types of battery last longest when they’re being drained and then recharged in a continual cycle rather than being charged at 100 per cent (it’s a bit like exercise for them).

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