Charge Wisely, Maximize Life

The technological marvel that is today’s phone: you baby it with a protective case, safeguarding the expensive little computer that it is. You keep it dry and happy. But how do you treat the very heart of your darling, the battery?

Best of Health

Technically, a battery is only fully healthy for a short period when it starts its career. This state-of-health, or SOH, diminishes over time, until it drains in shorter increments, usually coinciding with when you really need your phone. Some easy-to-implement habits can maximize the lifespan of the battery, ensuring top performance as long as possible.

Strategic Charging

Check with the manufacturer for the recommended method of first charging. For instance, Apple recommends charging the iPhone for three hours with the included charger before use. Fully drain the battery, then let it rest for over two hours. Charge it again completely, and then ignore the phone for another two hours before using it again. Complicated? Yes. Worthwhile? Absolutely.

In a not-so-distant past, batteries wanted a full drain on a regular basis. This is abuse to modern lithium-ion batteries. Again, review manufacturer suggestions on charging, but generally keep your device above 20 percent charged.

Always use the charger and cord that came with your smartphone. Although it seems efficient to share chargers with different cords, the wrong equipment can hurt your device. And cheaper replacement chargers may look the same, but the damage won’t be worth it.

Keep It Cool…

Cell phone batteries don’t like extreme heat: temperatures in the mid-90s can reduce capacity permanently. Never leave a phone in a hot car or sitting in direct sunlight. If you can, use it in the shade. If the phone seems overheated, with apps not functioning or random shutdowns, take off the case and get it to a cooler place.

Even worse than letting it get too hot is charging a smartphone at high temps. Plug it in after it cools down.

…But Not Too Cool

While not as destructive as heat, the cold can also hasten the death of batteries. Bring your device in from the cold, and don’t use the freezer to cool a hot phone.

Sensible Storage

Should you ever need to store your smartphone for an extended period, shoot for doing so with a charge of 50 percent. Put it away when the battery is uncharged and you are likely to return to a completely useless phone. Store it at full power and you’ve cut down it’s life expectancy.

Replace the Battery

Even with extreme, loving care, a smartphone battery will eventually die. Before running out for a new phone however, consider a battery replacement. Evaluate if the unit is still meeting your needs, and get an estimate on a new battery. The cost and time involved might be lower than you think, giving you a more time with a steadfast companion.

And of course, baby that new battery from day one. It can have a long life ahead of it.