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DO's and DONT's when charging

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

Is there a magic to prolonging your battery life? Worth the hassle to follow?
DO's & DONT's when charging

DO’s when charging

  1. A random or partial charge is fine. Li-ion doesn't need to be fully full charged

  2. Keep the battery cool, especially when charging

  3. Use manufacturer supplied chargers.

  4. Store at around 50% for long term storage

  5. Avoid battery intensive tasks like gaming when charging

  6. Avoid idle charging

Point on (2) - move it away from heat-generating environments. Recommended to remove bulky cases that trap heat in the device (leather ones) when charging but not required. Try to leave the phone charging on a hard surface instead of on the bed or sofa. Point on (3) - If spare chargers are needed, either buy first-party ones or from name brands that support the charging speeds and standards of your device. Eg. USB-C Power Delivery


DON’T’s when charging

  1. Discharge Li-ion battery to 0%

  2. Charge in very hot places

  3. Use sketchy chargers, cheap at too good to be true prices

  4. Store at 0% for long term storage

  5. Gaming when charging

  6. Continue charging for a long time at 100%

Point on (6) - Overnight charging before sleep is one example, but don’t sweat it if you can’t help. An insignificant wear on the battery for a day could be better than having a dead phone when you go to work the next morning.


Descriptive technical section

Powering smartwatches, smartphones to Electric Vehicles

Read on to understand the science behind the little batteries powering your device. To understand how to boost the battery life on your device, it is important to understand some basics behind the chemistry of how smartphone batteries work. Moreover, it is also vital to understand the difference between battery life and battery capacity.

Battery life means the actual lifespan of the battery before it degrades to a high voltage due to high internal resistance, that is no longer optimal for use. Do note that battery life is also often loosely used to describe the time it takes for a phone to discharge from 100% to 0%. Battery capacity simply means the actual capacity of which the battery can supply the rated power to operate the device. These two can correlate to each other when the battery degrades.

The batteries in our devices are all made with Lithium-ions, and they generate a charge by facilitating the flow of electrons and lithium ions between the positive and negative electrodes.

Simple illustration of Lithium battery structure

To explain it all in Layman terms, when a device is turned on, the anode (negative terminal, high energy state) has a route to discharge electrons to the cathode (positive terminal, lower energy state, usually made of metal like aluminum) and this process generates a current that powers the device. When the battery is recharged, the electricity applied will force the electrons discharged to return, thereby returning the battery to a higher energy state.

A battery performs the best and maintains its optimal life cycle around room temperature (± 10°C at 26°C). Anything close to freezing or significantly higher than room temperature is detrimental to the battery life. I will not delve deeper into how a battery degrades when it is too cold, as more often than not it is physically impossible for that to happen in Malaysia’s weather. Even in the lowest air-conditioning setting of 16C, your device’s battery internal resistance will produce some heat that brings it up somewhat.