Smartphone in the freezer or charging myths

There are still many questions around cell phone batteries. The answers to them are ambiguous, as are many aspects related to them. Debunking myths …

Smartphone in the freezer or charging myths

Original material by Eric Griffith

There are still many questions around cell phone batteries. The answers to them are ambiguous, as are many aspects related to them. How long does it take to charge the phone? When is the best time to do it? Do I have to completely discharge my device? Fully charge? How to maximize the life of the built-in battery? Is this important if you are going to use your phone for a couple of years?

The controversy concerns much more than just the average damage to the device, people are afraid to 'overload' the smartphone's battery. These concerns are generally justified, since just a few years ago, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught fire due to battery problems. But this is only possible if there is such a manufacturing defect, so a fire in a pocket or on a bedside table is unlikely.

The problem is that some studies and opinions are diametrically opposed. In this material – briefly about what to do right and what not to do. So, the myths about charging iPhone and Android – smartphones, in particular, when charging overnight.

If the phone is left to charge overnight, the battery will be overloaded: FALSE

Experts agree that smartphones are smart enough to avoid overcurrent. Built-in additional protective processors work to prevent overloading, be it a tablet, smartphone or laptop. As soon as the charging percentage of the lithium-ion battery reaches 100%, the charging process stops. This usually happens in an hour, maximum two.

If you leave your smartphone on charge overnight, it will use a small amount of power, constantly pushing the battery to full charge each time, as the percentage drops to 99. This reduces the battery life, we will come back to this later.

What to do: Don't worry about it. Connect the charger (or place the gadget on the wireless charging pad) before bed, if you wake up at night, you can turn off / move the device to avoid impulse recharging. If you are not one of those who wake up at night, then use a smart plug that turns off on schedule.

Potential problems when charging overnight:

1) Something is getting hot: trickle charge can cause heat. Many experts recommend removing your phone from its case before charging. At the very least, don't put a bunch of junk on top of the charger. And Jobs save you from putting the charging device under your pillow. If you do any of the above, the phone will heat up, not enough to spontaneously ignite, but enough to damage the battery.

Smartphone in the freezer or charging myths

If you are afraid of fire, it is best to leave the charging phone on a plate or saucer, or on something metallic that conducts heat well, such as a radiator in a PC. Of course, if you're using a wireless charging pad, never mind, it won't work for you.

2) Poor cables: If you are using a fake cable that is not included in the box without any certification (such as MFi), then problems may arise. The wire and connectors may not meet the specifications for use with a smartphone or tablet. Don't waste time on trifles and don't buy cheap cables.

To avoid battery problems, you need to freeze your smartphone: FALSE

Lithium-ion batteries 'hate' two things: extreme cold and extreme heat. Experts at Battery University warn that repeatedly charging a smartphone in subzero temperatures can create a permanent 'lithium metal coating' on the anode of the battery. This problem cannot be solved, and such actions will “kill” the battery faster. It is not only the battery that 'dislikes' high temperatures: heat is contraindicated for all internal components of a smartphone. There is a computer inside it, and, as we all know, hot air and computers have been sworn enemies for decades. Leave your black iPhone in the sun while relaxing by the pool and don't be surprised when the system warns you to cool down. In summer, do not put gadgets on the dashboard of the car, keep them in the shade. Apple specifically means that charging iPhone at temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius will cause irreparable damage to the battery, this is true for any smartphone.

Smartphone in the freezer or charging myths

What not to do: Try to keep the temperature around your smartphone from getting too low or too high when charging. And don't put it in the freezer, it's silly.

Always completely discharge the battery: FALSE

In the case of modern lithium-ion batteries, it is wrong to bring the smartphone to full discharge every time. Don't even let the percentage get close to zero. This will drain your battery faster. A more correct solution would be a partial discharge.

The battery is initially limited in its resource. Its components are in decline, and this cannot be changed. Over time, they will hold less and less charge. If you still use iPhone 5 or 6 and are wondering why the phone could work almost all day without recharging, and now only a few hours, now you know the reason. The capacity decreases over time.

The only time when you need to completely discharge your smartphone is when you need to re-calibrate the internal sensor that displays the phone's battery level. There is no guarantee of this, many believe that this method does not work at all, but some users recommend it, especially if your phone suddenly turns off at 10, or even 20 or 30 percent of the charge.

Even if you bring the phone to auto-shutdown, it does not mean that the battery is completely discharged. Let the phone sit for a few hours.

Smartphone in the freezer or charging myths

What to do: Connect your phone to a charge before it prompts you to switch to power saving mode, when the charge percentage is between 30 and 40 percent. With fast charging, the smartphone will charge up to 80 percent pretty soon. Unplug the charger at 80-90 percent, as a full charge using the high-power charger may unnecessarily stress the battery. In order to extend the life cycle of the battery, keep the charge between 30 and 80 percent.

The battery is generating 'memory': FALSE

The 'memory' effect was a problem with older nickel cadmium (NiCAD) batteries. This is where the tradition of 'completely discharging' came from. As we have already noted, this is not at all necessary for the Li-Ion. So why don't they 'live' as long as they age? It's not about 'memory', it's about capacity. The battery of your smartphone wears out so much over time that in the same time a new smartphone can be fully charged, and the old one will receive only 82 percent. BatteryUniversity calls it 'elderly person syndrome'. On the other hand, it is believed that newer batteries 'absorb' power faster.

Smartphone in the freezer or charging myths

Apple states that 'lithium-ion batteries Apple are designed to maintain 80 percent of original capacity over a large number of charge cycles', but also confirms that this number varies depending on from a specific product. The batteries Apple also support 'fast charging', so they'll hit 80 percent pretty quickly. The capacity is then built up more slowly, partly to prevent overheating, and this prolongs the 'life' of the battery. But you know what? Fast charging is not very useful for Li-Ion batteries either, as it speeds up the corrosion process.

What to do: Stop worrying about the 'memory' effect. If you do decide to charge your device overnight, do not use fast charging. Connect the gadget to a charger with a lower power.

Phone batteries only last a few years: almost FALSE

The life cycle of a smartphone battery is measured in charge cycles. This means that every time you use 100% of the battery capacity, one cycle takes place. But you don't have to bring it to zero.

For example, if the smartphone is 80 percent charged and you discharge it to 30 percent (spent 50%), and then charge it to 80 (filled 50%), then this is counted in one cycle. You can use 75% on one day, 25% on the other, this is also one cycle. The same iPhone contains 400-500 charge cycles, but it is not at all necessary that the phone was actually connected to the charger all 400-500 times. If the battery capacity has dropped quite a lot, then you will have to use a 50% charge cycle and repeat it several times a day, in which case the resource will be spent faster. Here's a good example:

Smartphone in the freezer or charging myths

Although the battery in your smartphone does not have a 'memory' that degrades capacity, its limited resource means you have to replace it with a new one (or new ones).

In late 2017, Apple admitted that she secretly slowed down processors on older iPhone for the sake of 'overall performance and increased device lifecycle'. At first, this practice affected iPhone 6, 6S and SE, but later spread to the seventh generation of devices. After the scandal, the company offered to change the batteries for $ 29 instead of the usual $ 79. The promotion was relevant for the whole last year, the cost returned to its previous positions, but in any case it is cheaper than a new smartphone.

It is better to entrust the replacement of the battery to a professional. Virtually none of the newer smartphones come with a removable battery. This option is available in older models: LG V20, V10 and G5, Moto G5 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The newest smartphone with a removable battery is probably the Moto E4. Why are there so few of them? Well, most of these batteries 'live' for 2-3 years, and after this period the manufacturer would like you to buy a new smartphone. Or maybe the reason is that the average user in the US market, according to Kantar WorldPanel, uses the phone for an average of 22.7 months to always have the most up-to-date gadget on hand. Why then make the battery replacement process easier?

The bottom line is this: if you plan to change phones every year or two, then charge them as you want and as often as you like, without worrying about the falling capacity. But if you want to use your smartphone longer, then it is better to resort to the described tricks. They can help. Or change the battery every few years.

Original material by Eric Griffith

Interestingly, after reading, some habits from the experience of using previous devices come to mind (no, not a freezer). Maybe that's why I changed batteries so often? Now you can't find out, but it was interesting to read. But what can I say, I still sometimes sin with night exercises. In general, after the appearance of a smartphone with support for fast charging, the problem of a discharging device for me ceased to exist, I just had to start one branded charger at home, one at work.

In terms of battery health, my smartphone is still holding up, but the two-year Rubicon is already behind me and what awaits me next – a new smartphone or another year with the current one – is not yet clear. Everything will depend on the manufacturers. The leaks are very curious, but that's not the point. What myths do you know / support about the charging process and about batteries?

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