Avoid These Battery Charging and Battery Saving Myths With Your Smartphone

Improved mobile Phone technology means that many old tips are no longer relevant

To Charge or Not to Charge: Avoid These Myths about Saving Battery Life
Image: Pixabay
November 7, 2017

As a smartphone battery gets older, its ability to hold a charge decreases. When this happens, we're looking for the best ways to extend battery life and hold a charge longer. But there are a bunch of myths going around about smartphone batteries that do little more than waste your time.

  1. Myth: Close apps that you're not using to preserve your battery's charge.
  2. The theory goes that apps running in the background are consuming a lot of your smartphone's energy. But this isn't entirely true. When an app isn't being used actively, most or all its processes are suspended. The app may be stored in memory, but the memory uses the same amount of power regardless of whether anything is stored in it. And if you do close the app, you'll have to reload it entirely each time you open it.

    If your smartphone uses background app refresh, there might be a small amount of benefit to closing your apps. Background app refresh allows the app to periodically update its data, even when the app isn't being used. Closing these apps that use background app refresh might give you a few more minutes of juice, but it's probably not worth the trouble.

  3. Myth: Disabling Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular data, and location services will save a lot of power.
  4. There is some truth to this one, but the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adapters used in smartphones today typically have a low power draw, even when being used. If you are in the range of a strong signal, your smartphone will typically use little power. If your signal is weak, however, the device will increase the power to the particular adapter in order to get a better connection.

    As for location services, many apps use your location only intermittently. Accessing your location for short periods uses up only a small amount of power. Apps that use your location constantly, such as navigation apps, will use more power. But there's really no way around this as it needs to do so in order to locate you.

  5. Myth: Avoid all aftermarket chargers or your battery will overcharge.
  6. You have probably been warned to use only the charger that came with your phone rather than one manufactured by a another company or risk overcharging your phone's battery. In reality, the phone's circuitry and software control the charge, not the charger. The charger is simply responsible for converting the current from the outlet to the type of current needed by the phone.

    You should steer clear of certain 'cheap' aftermarket chargers. Many budget chargers are poorly made using low-quality components. These chargers, as well as counterfeit chargers, can harm you and your phone by exposing you to dangerous currents. Choose a reputable vendor if you are going to buy a new charger.

  7. Myth: Do not charge your battery overnight or for long periods of time.
  8. In the past, smartphone batteries could be ruined by leaving them plugged in for long periods of time. This was certainly true of older nickel-based batteries and some lithium ion batteries used before smartphones more accurately controlled the rate of charge. Newer batteries are made of better materials and software in the device will stop the charge once the battery has been recharged.

    Of course, this applies only to the proper charging of the device. It doesn't apply to defective, counterfeit, and poorly made aftermarket batteries. These batteries may not have had the proper quality controls during manufacture and might overheat when plugged in for a long period of time, especially with a thick case or cover that might trap heat.

    While it might not be completely ideal to have your smartphone always plugged in, devices of today are pretty smart and can compensate for the way you use and charge them, even disabling charging if they get too hot.

  9. Myth: Let your phone's battery die completely before charging it.
  10. The batteries of today are meant to be charged whenever you want, which can be if you have 50% battery life or 80%. But there's no need to let it die before charging it as there isn't much of a memory effect as there was with batteries of the past. Some sources even report that the frequent complete discharge of a phone's battery might damage it. Most cell phone manufacturer's recommend charging the battery once it has reached 50%.