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How to care for your smartphone's li-ion battery the correct way

Posted: , by Peter K.


How to care for your smartphone's li-ion battery the correct way

It's a fact that batteries are among the most crucial hardware components of a nowadays' smartphone. It doesn't matter if your gadget runs on the most advanced octa-core silicon brain, has more RAM than an entry-level netbook, or the largest camera ever strapped to a smartphone - if your rear-positioned juicer is sub-par and fails to deliver an adequate battery life, you'd probably quickly forget about the rest of your smartphone's show-stopping features. What's more, batteries are the components most susceptible to wear over time.

Undoubtedly, you've seen many guides that provide you with battery-saving tips and tricks, but the majority of these tend to gravitate around several perpetual mantras: "turn off these features", "uninstall the following apps", "don't use these features of your smartphone", etc. If you follow all of these tips mechanically, you'll end up with a phone that's everything else but "smart", and that's something nobody strives for.

Today, we'll be taking a closer look at Li-Ion batteries and what are some tips for prolonging their lives. We'll also bust some myths that seem to still be circulating in the air.

After pointing out several of the more vital li-ion batteries properties, it's time to bust a few myths and give you tips on how to care better for the electricity-storing banks that we sport in our pockets. Most of the pieces of advice below have been derived from the data in the gallery above.

reference: Battery University, (2), (3)

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posted on 13 Mar 2015, 03:06 15

1. namesib (Posts: 96; Member since: 08 Feb 2015)

I'd rather just have a replaceable battery; I don't have to worry about following guidelines on how to manage its longevity.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 03:15 2

4. engineer-1701d (Posts: 3214; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)

who cares you will keep the phone 1 or 2 years i am on 3rd year with mine its ok still plug it in =6pm start at 630am and thats with sprints horrible service killing power with signal drain

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 04:47 3

16. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3606; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

Okay, so one question. Should one be happy about rapid charging mode that comes with their phone? Cause that's both good and bad...you can expect quick charging and expect battery life span to be short.

Is there a way of manually turning off the rapid charging?? Cause that would be useful.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 05:40 5

18. tiara6918 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)

Buy another charger that doesn't have the same charging capabilities as the quick charge

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 12:26 1

33. torr310 (Posts: 773; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)

Use the rapid charger, and get a phone with replaceable battery.

posted on 14 Mar 2015, 10:45

40. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3606; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

If i have the option of manually turning off the rapid charging, having 2 charger becomes redundant.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 08:30

27. Slammer (Posts: 1515; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)

Rapid charging should be used as a reserve. Last resort. Any current type of induction charging(As in wireless charging), causes heat increase within the battery. Once this heating starts, the battery has already been subjected to damage. Same with over using the device. Once you feel the device overheating, the damage is being done. These are some of the things the manufacturers don't want you to know.

John B.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 03:25

42. HSPalm (Posts: 6; Member since: 04 Feb 2016)

For your argument to be valid, you must tell us at which temperature the damage is being done, and how much damage is being made.

We all are willing to compromise to some extend to have more comfort, in this case not having to wait for a slow charge or charging more often than needed is more comfortable.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 09:30

28. Muayyad (Posts: 236; Member since: 05 Oct 2012)

I don't think this would do anything to the battery. QC2.0 is a smart system that monitors battery temperature and changes voltage accordingly to maintain the proper battery temperature. Voltage alone is not the problem.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 08:23 4

26. Slammer (Posts: 1515; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)

For someone that has "Engineer" as a name, I find it inconceivable that you don't care that the most failed component on an expensive piece of hardware, renders this hardware useless in the event of failure.

Because you haven't had an issue doesn't mean the 30% of premature device failures due to failed batteries doesn't exist. It's real, it happens and the servicing cost to consumers for sealed batteries has risen 65%. So of you are part of the 60% who haven't yet had an issue, the 30% chance you can, is still there.

And what if your charging port breaks? How do you remove the battery to charge it via desktop and swap it out?

John B.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 03:31

43. HSPalm (Posts: 6; Member since: 04 Feb 2016)

60% + 30% = 100% ?
By the way, where are you getting these numbers from? 30% of premature failures might be due to the battery, but how many premature failures do we have? Premature failures is in most cases covered by warranty.

And a micro USB connector is rated at 10.000 insertion cycles.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 04:20 5

10. mixedfish (Posts: 1144; Member since: 17 Nov 2013)

In theory it works, but in reality trying to find 'genuine' batteries at a reasonable price 3 or so years down the track is a big headache.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 04:26 2

12. gueAHOK (Posts: 156; Member since: 03 Mar 2015)

Agree. Most of the replacement battery sold is either genuine+expensive, or fake+cheap.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 11:24 4

29. mrmessma (Posts: 156; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

$25 for an OEM samsung with charging pack (that plugs into a micro USB) from their website is A-OK with me.
With one spare, my S5 can go all weekend, heavy use without seeing a charger, it's pretty nice. I know some don't care, but for me, I'm a very, very satisfied customer.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 05:41 1

19. vincelongman (Posts: 3986; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

Not much of problem then since most phones have replaceable batteries any way

Except replacing difficulty is an issue as most aren't easily replaceable since you have to open them up

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 03:13

2. engineer-1701d (Posts: 3214; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)

why not s6 with metal bottom that slides out and u slide battery in like older cameras, or just use capacitors with slow bleed resisters on it allowing correct v out it would 100% charge in 30 seconds and last all day or 2

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 11:27

30. mrmessma (Posts: 156; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

The capacitor size:storage ratio isn't there yet, and probably won't be for quite a while.
The slide in/out battery idea would be great, but it'd ultimately add thickness and cost.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 03:14 8

3. BattleBrat (Posts: 1431; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

Or buy a phone with a replaceable battery and don't worry about it.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 04:27

13. gueAHOK (Posts: 156; Member since: 03 Mar 2015)

Or buy some phone casing that have a battery in it.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 08:06 3

25. Slammer (Posts: 1515; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)

This is exacly what manufacturers want you to do. It is a bandaid for underlying battery issues indigenous to rechargeable batteries and leaves the expense to the consumer.

John B.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 03:25

5. rallyguy (Posts: 620; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)

While all of my phones have had replaceable batteries, I do think capacitors are the future.
I have a large 5.11 flashlight that uses super capacitors and goes from 0% charge to 100% charge in 90 seconds. It holds a charge well also.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 03:35

7. tacarat (Posts: 724; Member since: 22 Apr 2013)

Better chargers should avoid over charging, no?

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 03:33

44. HSPalm (Posts: 6; Member since: 04 Feb 2016)

No, the charging circuit sits inside your phone. The "charger" that you plug in to your wall is simply a power supply. It has to be like this for "chargers" to be somewhat universal.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 03:37

8. EcoCare (Posts: 357; Member since: 30 Jul 2014)

Based on image no.8, I thought li-ion batteries has overcharging protection mechanism? I always charge my phone overnight and it never blew up. I doubt about that part.

Perhaps PhoneArena should mention some common myth to bust to prevent confusion.

posted on 14 Mar 2015, 03:56

37. andynaija (Posts: 784; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)

There's no number 8 in either slideshows...

posted on 14 Mar 2015, 05:17

38. EcoCare (Posts: 357; Member since: 30 Jul 2014)

I think they removed it. Probably because of my comment? Number 8 is the one with bloated battery due to short-circuit by overcharging (at night).

posted on 14 Mar 2015, 06:36 1

39. andynaija (Posts: 784; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)

Oh ok. Well your previous comment is true, because there is an overcharge mechanism to prevent such situation, and just like you I usually always charge my phone overnight and I've never had a problem either.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 04:14 1

9. Simona (unregistered)

Guys I'll be honest you cant do anything really ..
You can try save but you won't save that much..
Especially in iphones ! iphone 4 or 4s or 5 or 5s or 6 or 6s .. all has crapp battery !

It is so irony that smartphone manufs. will implement so many features into phone and once you have it they will tell you ; well if you want save batt. you need to turn all THOSE features off and NOT use them ..
So you practically end up with basic phone for a ridiculous price..
So many ppl ABSOLUTELY not realising it !!

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 04:25 4

11. gueAHOK (Posts: 156; Member since: 03 Mar 2015)


Your guide is NEED UPDATE. While it's true that FAST CHARGE will stress the battery, NOT ALL fast charge were created equal. You need to do more research on this. BUT I help you.

FAST CHARGE by RAISING the current (Ampere) will stress the battery. And it's bad.

FAST CHARGE by RAISING the volt (as in Qualcom QUICK CHARGE 2.0) will NOT stress the battery. The reason of why raising the volt it's not done in the past, because to do this, it need a controller to make sure both charger & the battery know which volt will be use, otherwise the battery will go bust.

I really hope whenever PA mention about fast charging will stress the battery, this little known fact will also be mention. Otherwise, PA just making a false myth that ALL quick charge is bad.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 04:36 1

14. EcoCare (Posts: 357; Member since: 30 Jul 2014)


Qualcomm Quick Charge supplies 3A on supported devices. Though I'm not really sure in the conclusion whether fast-charging will make your battery go bad faster.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 04:46 2

15. gueAHOK (Posts: 156; Member since: 03 Mar 2015)

Qualcomm Quick Charge can charge the battery with STANDARD 5V USB, and also can use 9V, 12V, 19V with a maximum of 57Watt charging power (3A@19V).

But, as Qualcomm Quick Charge is a smart charging. It will only charge with HIGH ampere when the battery is almost empty. When the battery is half full it will reduce the Amp, and will reduce the amp again when it's almost full.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 03:47

45. HSPalm (Posts: 6; Member since: 04 Feb 2016)

The different voltages from your "charger" is never applied to the battery. This is just a trick to deliver more power through a USB connector/cable. The voltage is stepped down in the charging circuit at your phone, but the power is maintained hence the current is higher. I lithium cell would be damaged straight away if it was actually charged to a higher voltage than 4.2 V.

QC3.0 definitely does NOT support 57 watts charging. It maxes out at about 18W in most cases, same as QC2.0, but because of the more adaptive voltage levels (200mV steps) it may charge some devices more efficient and faster than QC2.0

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 05:05 2

17. boosook (Posts: 1414; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)

Actually, since you get 300-500 full discharge cycle or, at the opposite end, 3750-4700 cycles at 10% discharge, which corresponds to 375-470 full discharge cycles, the conclusion is that the difference is negligible... charge your battery when you have to, for how much you have to, and enjoy your phone. You won't notice any difference.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 11:29

31. mrmessma (Posts: 156; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

This! How is this not in the article's conclusion?

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 05:49 1

20. Slammer (Posts: 1515; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)

I would like to commend Peter on a great editorial. While it is short, basic and doesn't underscore other issues commonly associated with the battery, it does touch on the fickle nature of the most failed component on a modern day device. Visual checks are also recommended. How do we do this when sealed in?

While I might catch criticism for my constant rants on today's practice of sealing in batteries, I hope this brings to light the fact that many tech geeks on these sites are ignoring the very component powering your expensive product.

Many will ask what they can do about it? Easy. Write to the manufacturers and tell them exactly nwhat is expected in maintaining battery function. It will force them to design and build premium devices that equally keep consumer accessibility in check.

John B.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 06:17 1

21. LikeMyself (Posts: 433; Member since: 23 Sep 2013)

I don't agree with low ampere charging! I have a bad battery which needs to be replaced. When I charge it with its 1A charger, battery depletes quickly! But with my tablet's 2A charger, it holds its life.
I also noticed that when I was using a thin and old usb cable, charging was slow and battery was depleting quickly, but a normal/thick cable gave a quick charging and good life!

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 11:30 1

32. mrmessma (Posts: 156; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

I have had those symptoms before and it was due to a failing battery.

If the percentage is the same, you should get the same usage.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 06:20 2

22. LiquidGalaxy (Posts: 327; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)

At the end of the day, if you're the kind of person that buys phones every year, or even every 2 years after yor contractis up, you really don't need to worry about this stuff...Which is why i couldn't care less about having a removable battery...

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 08:03 1

24. Slammer (Posts: 1515; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)

This is the type of comment that makes me cringe and is dangerous for consumer advocacy. Yes, you do have to worry and you should care. Especially if it is over a year. The manufacturer warranty expires and insurance deductibles are painstakingly high even for a failed battery. If a battery failure happens, In most cases, it is within 14-17 months into ownership. Who is responsible for paying for this? I'm really not sure what harm is done by keeping removable batteries relevant. It hasn't bothered people since the beginning of time. And being the most failed component on any product that uses a battery, I hope you would rethink your logic.

John B.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 07:42 1

23. TheNeighbor (Posts: 179; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)

This is why I cycle 3 batteries for my Galaxy Note. No worries about rubbing out of power while I use, and usually swap just under 20%. I can charge the spent battery with a battery cradle charger plugged in with an outlet or power bank while in my bag. It only takes a minute to change.

This is why I'm pretty disappointed with Samsung going non-removable. By cycling batteries, you maintain longer power retainment for each battery.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 12:44

34. p51d007 (Posts: 211; Member since: 24 Nov 2013)

I don't care for "quick" chargers. Just the chemistry of how cells (a battery is a compilation of cells) react to charging, is enough for me to prefer a slow charge over a quick charge. The more current you quickly force into a cell, the HOTTER that cell is going to become, due to the chemical reaction. Heating up cells, decreases their lifespan, and, that's why if you were to open up a battery, you would find a thermistor or other thermal cutoff device to hopefully stop the charge if the cells get too hot inside the package. Failure of some of the cheap knock off batteries, is what can sometimes lead to them exploding.
I look at it like this... There is an old story about a young bull, and an old bull, standing on top of a hill, overlooking a field of cows below. The young bull says to the old bull, how about we RUN down there and screw some of those cows. The old bull says how about we WALK down there, and screw them all. Sometimes SLOW is better than FAST.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 03:52

46. HSPalm (Posts: 6; Member since: 04 Feb 2016)

Use genuine batteries. As you say, batteries and charging circuits have overheating protection implemented. Let's not worry about things that are being handled? If you're phone is delivered with quick charge technology, it supports quick charge technology.

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 15:09

35. phantom28 (Posts: 13; Member since: 23 Feb 2015)

if u do a little match ur battery will wear about the same even if u discharge it 100% or 10%

posted on 13 Mar 2015, 18:29

36. bahkata (Posts: 12; Member since: 16 Dec 2011)

So if I charge my phone every two days (~100% discharge) it lasts about 500 cycles => 1000 days => ~2.5 yrs.
If I charge it every day (~50% discharge) - 1200 cycles => 1200 days => ~3yrs

yeah. no s**t given :)

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 02:54

41. HSPalm (Posts: 6; Member since: 04 Feb 2016)

Things to consider for me is
1* How much time and frustration do I want to spend on always having a charger and outlet available? Time is money, and in my case I switch out my phones after two years or so anyways.
2* All though, if I charge my phone every night as a routine I might put it in the charger with 30-50% capacity left when the phone is still new, not far from the recommendation. After a year or two the capacity when I go to bed will be around 10-20% maybe, but I still charge it as a daily routine and haven't bothered considering optimal charge cycles.
3* The charging current is restricted inside your phone (the charger is in your phone, the wall worth is just a power supply). Max. allowed charge current have increased over the years as batteries can handle more current. If your phone accepts a higher current than the supplied wall worth will deliver, it doesn't mean your using a too powerful charger. It will affect your battery life span, yes, but it doesn't mean your battery is suffering.
4* Batteries get larger! 1C is 1 amp for a 1Ah battery. Who has a battery this small nowadays? My Nexus 6 battery has a capacity of 3.22Ah. Which means I can charge it at 3.22A and still be within 1C charging rate, which is recommended.

I have a Nexus 6 which is 1 year 2 months old. This is a summery of my battery's health based on data from the last 24 hours:

Usage: Heavy. Listening to podcast, surfing the web, messaging, facebook, automatic updates on all apps, screen brightness 70% with adaptive dimming, ALL radios constantly on. All on battery and not while charging.

Charging routine: Charging every night with the supplied QC2.0 fast charger (2.5 A max charge)

Battery health: From a full charge (100%) at 7AM to 27% when I went to bed at 11:30PM.

Conclusion: I do much of the things this article says I'm not supposed to, yet I can comfortable use the phone as I wish not considering when and how much I charge my phone. I can still do this to the day my phone is at 1% when I go to bed, which might still be a year ahead.

And consider this; when I no longer have a charge when I go to bed, but have to charge it some time in the middle of the day to keep it alive, isn't the the exact same hassle I'm now being recommended (by this article) doing from the beginning, I only prolonged the hassle two years.

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