The smartphone is arguably the most important device you own. With app technology always on the increase, it is advancing in capabilities for managing laptop tasks and making your office more mobile than ever before. It is worth knowing how to keep it working at top performance.
Advancing technology also means that there is a slew of popular wisdom about the care and management of smartphones that is either no longer accurate or was never true to begin with. We thought it would be timely to address common misconceptions and provide some good information about keeping your smartphone working optimally and ready for service whenever you need it, as long as you need it. Our first focus is on matters that concern length of use, and that means battery life and battery care.
Focus #1: Smartphone Battery Care
We have all experienced the frustration of a smartphone battery winding down before our need for our smartphone winds down. Keeping it charged is a daily concern. So let’s dispel some of the myths that have been potentially governing your methods for keeping that battery charged, and maybe impeding your success at doing so.
Dispelling Smartphone Battery Myths
- It is safe to charge your battery overnight. Contrary to popular opinion, charging overnight will NOT damage your battery. Smartphones now have the ability to detect when the battery is at capacity and so it will no longer overcharge.
- It is safe to use your phone while it is charging. Also falsely rumored to damage a cell phone battery, doing this is completely OK. In fact, this is how you keep it charged so there is plenty of power when you do need to unplug for extended periods.
- It is safe to use off-brand chargers. Were you told that you should only use a brand name charger with a brand name device? Hogwash. Please feel free to pick up that charger cord replacement at a convenience store or the neighborhood Wal-mart. If you are on the road and the pesky micro-USB charger of your Droid is no longer working, and you still have 500 miles to go, don’t feel like you have to find a mobile store to get an “official” charger. Off-brand is fine. The only exception would be for devices like the Droid Turbo phone line, where the special charger made for it is fundamental to the benefit of a phone that takes only 15 minutes for that 8-hour “turbopower” charge.
Just like there are plenty of myths to dispel, there are just as many truths to promote and popularize. Spreading the word on some reliable ways to protect and extend the life of your battery is next on our to-do list:
Promoting Smartphone Battery Truths
- Heat will ruin a battery. Whether the heat comes from executing too much activity on your phone, or whether the heat is from a source external to the phone (like leaving it in your car on a ninety-degree day), heat is a killer for your lithium battery. Lithium molecules already go through the process of exchanging ions as it charges and expends, which is an exothermic process due to the speed of the movement of electrons. Increase the ambient temperature of the phone from 80 Fahrenheit to 100 Fahrenheit (like you might do by leaving the phone in your car), and the rate of speed of the lithium ion exchange doubles. Just like double-timing your Zumba workout will make you collapse in about half the time, exposing your battery to more heat and a faster pace is going to make it last about half as long.
- Gaming kills smartphone battery life. Battery hogging game apps, along with the pop-up-advertising that funds them, eat energy like a hungry Angry Bird.Refer back to the first point: Heat will ruin a battery. If you are operating apps that require a lot of battery energy at a fast pace, then the temperature, coupled with the speed of ion exchange, is going to eventually fry your battery. It is worth mentioning here that apps like Facebook, Instagram, and other social media services loaded onto your phone are constantly running in the background, ready to entice you with updates on friends who liked your picture or commented on your post. They also fall under this category of battery killer culprits.
- Keep it plugged in. Really. Battery expenditure is measured by “depth of discharge” (DoD), a term that refers to how much energy is exhausted. So, if you have depleted 30% of your battery’s energy, the DoD is 30%. Simple. And modern lithium batteries for smartphones are built to prefer small DoDs. In other words, they are happiest in an environment where they are kept charged. Furthermore, regularly depleting all of the energy of your modern lithium battery (closing in on 100% DoD) is actually harder on your battery and depletes the life span of it.
So there you have it. Some great tips on protecting the life span of your battery, and ways to keep your battery charged safely, and for longer.