Battery charging tips and tricks for prolonged life

As mobile phone users, all we want is enough battery life to last the day. Frustratingly, Batteries do not enjoy eternal life. Most smartphone manufacturers say their devices rate their batteries at 300-500 cycles. Apple claims that its laptop batteries reach 80 percent of their original capacity after 1,000 charges.In fact, the amount of battery life our mobiles have on any given day depends on two key factors: how we use them on that particular day, and how we used them in the past.

Mobile phones use lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. In this type of battery, lithium metal and lithium ions move in and out of individual electrodes, causing them to physically expand and contract. Unfortunately, these processes are not completely reversible and the batteries lose their charge capacity and voltage as the number of charge and discharge cycles grows.

The big question is how to re-charge a battery is whether you should let it run to zero before re-charging to 100 percent. One reason why people are unsure is something they’ve heard of called the battery “memory effect

What is battery memory effect?

Battery memory effect is about batteries remembering remaining charge if you don’t let them go all the way to zero too often. So a battery frequently charged from 20- to 80 percent might ‘forget’ about the 40 percent that’s left uncharged (0-20 and 80-100).

Sounds crazy but that’s sort of true – but only for older nickel-based (NiMH and NiCd) batteries, not the lithium-ion batteries in your modern phone.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries don’t suffer the memory effect so you almost need to do the opposite: charge them often but not all the way throughout the day, and don’t let them drop to zero.

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When to charge the phone?

The rule with Li-ion batteries is to keep them 50 percent or more most of the time. When it drops below 50 percent top it up a little if you can. A little a few times a day seems to be the optimum to aim for.

But don’t charge it all the way to 100 percent . It won’t be fatal to your battery if you do a full recharge – most of us are forced to do this every now and again in emergencies. But constantly doing a full recharge will shorten the battery’s lifespan.

So a good range to aim for when charging a Li-ion battery is from about 40- to 80 percent in one go. Try not to let the battery drop below 20 percent.

So, here are 10 ways you can boost your smartphone’s battery life, plus the battery saving myths that won’t help at all.

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Dim the screen brightness or use auto brightness

You love your smartphone’s large, colorful display, but it’s the battery’s mortal enemy. More than any other component of your phone, the display consumes battery life at a devastating pace. Most phones include an auto-brightness feature that automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness to suit ambient lighting levels.

This mode uses less power than constantly running your screen at full brightness would, of course, but you’ll get even better results by turning your screen’s brightness down to the lowest setting that you can tolerate and leaving it there. Even if you do nothing else we suggest, following this one tip will extend the life of your battery dramatically.

Keep the screen timeout short

Under your phone’s display settings menu, you should find an option labeled ‘Screen Timeout’, ‘Sleep’ or something similar. This setting controls how long your phone’s screen stays lit after receiving input, such as a tap.

Every second counts here, so set your timeout to the shortest available time. On most Android phones, the minimum is 15 seconds. If your screen timeout is currently set to 2 minutes, consider reducing that figure to 30 seconds or less.

Turn off Bluetooth

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No matter now much you love using Bluetooth with your hands-free headset, your wireless speaker or activity tracker, the extra radio is constantly listening for signals from the outside world. When you aren’t in your car, or when you aren’t playing music wirelessly, turn off the Bluetooth radio. This way, you can add an hour or more to your phone’s battery life.

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Don’t leave apps running in the background

Multitasking – the ability to run more than one app at a time – is a powerful smartphone feature. It can also burn a lot of energy, because every app you run uses a share of your phone’s processor cycles (but this isn’t true of all apps – see the myths section below).

By killing apps that you aren’t actually using, you can drastically reduce your CPU’s workload and cut down on its power consumption.

Don’t use vibrate

Prefer to have your phone alert you to incoming calls by vibrating rather than playing a ringtone? We understand the inclination; unfortunately, vibrating uses much more power than playing a ringtone does. After all, a ringtone only has to make a tiny membrane in your phone’s speaker vibrate enough to produce sound.

In contrast, the vibration motor rotates a small weight to make your whole phone shake. That process takes a lot more power. If you don’t want to be disturbed audibly, consider turning off all notifications and leave the phone in view so you can see when a new call is coming in. This approach is as courteous to your battery as it is to your friends and colleagues

Battery saving myths

  • Force-closing apps doesn’t always help: An app running in the background actually won’t use very much battery power at all, and by force-closing it you merely drain more power when relaunching it causes it to reload its code to the phone’s RAM
  • Wi-Fi can help battery life at times: If you have a strong Wi-Fi signal, your phone can use it rather than GPS to determine its location for the apps that require it. And Wi-Fi uses less battery power than GPS
  • You don’t have to use the charger that came with your phone: A cheap charger can potentially damage your handset, but most third-party chargers won’t cause any issues with your battery, and many will actually charge it faster

 

 

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