Just when you need them most, smartphones can often end up falling short. Running out of juice at vital moment, you’re left helplessly stuck at the side of the road with a broken down car.
In order to squeeze out every last minute of battery life, everyone seems to have their own superstitions. Most of which of course, are complete nonsense. Let us separate fact from fiction.
Off-Brand Chargers Kill a Battery
This one might have been developed by the big manufacturers in order to shift more of their overpriced chargers. But it’s true, if your charger goes kaput, the most efficient option would be to purchase the relevant charger from the same brand as your device. Contrary to popular opinion however, investing in a cheaper, more versatile charger made by a generic brand will do your device no harm whatsoever.
Sure, they might not charge your smartphone or laptop as quickly as the matching brand, but they’ll still do an amicable job without leaving any lasting damage on your device.
Sometimes it’s good to give your battery a rest
Our reliance on technology such as smartphones and laptops leaves us craving an ongoing connection to the digital world. This leaves us reluctant to ever power our devices down and give them a break. Sometimes however, this is exactly what we need to do. Leaving your device charging and draining constantly without a break takes its toll.
Apple have previously recommended you switch your device off overnight at least once a week. Similarly, restoring a device can give your battery a lift, and lead to an extended battery life.
…but don’t let your phone just go dead
Before you decide to run your phone down in order to let it put its feet up, a word of warning. Your battery will actually stay in much better condition if you charge for shorter periods more often, rather than longer periods less often.
Ultimately, batteries won’t last forever, and their condition is maintained over a finite amount of cycle charges. Let your battery go dead, and that is one small step towards its inevitable demise.
You should stop charging when the battery is full
Smartphone’s are pretty clever these days. If you’re getting nervous when your phone is on 100% charge but still plugged in, don’t be. A smartphone’s battery won’t continue to be charged after it’s been maxed out, it’ll just bypass the battery altogether.
Still, this comes with a slight caveat. Batteries remain at their peak whilst charged between 40-80% (hence why they come around half charged when you buy a new phone). So, as much as you can help it, it’s best to try and balance your phone’s charge to keep them in those boundaries as much as possible.
…and the same goes for laptops
For laptops, it is a slightly more contested issue. Apple have previously stated that you shouldn’t leave their MacBook range of laptops plugged in for all of eternity. But ultimately, your laptop battery won’t overcharge even if you did.
Essentially, the best advice is to keep it unplugged when it’s not in use, saving it from being plugged in for months on end at your desk, which would lead to a slow deterioration in its condition.
Extreme temperatures ruin batteries
What you do need to be weary of is temperature, particularly heat. A battery’s capacity will diminish if exposed to extreme heat over long periods, and this can become common if you’re constantly running your device through rigorous tasks. For laptops this is an even more prominent issue, as batteries are generally housed near components that generate no small amount of heat.
To lessen the effect heat can have on a laptop’s battery, you could remove it and run the system purely from the mains. Similarly, avoid storing devices in hot climates for long periods.
On the opposite end of the thermostat, severe cold temperatures will also do lasting damage to a battery’s capacity. Bin that age-old myth that a battery lasts longer in the freezer and don’t take your laptop with you on your next trip to the Arctic.
You’re free to use your phone whilst it charges
You’ve probably heard the occasional horror story of phones exploding or user’s getting nasty electric shocks whilst using a charging smartphone. Whilst they do crop up, it’s likely to be down to a dodgy charger rather than actually using the device.
If you stick to trusted charger manufacturers, you shouldn’t run into any potentially dangerous scenarios. Indeed many of your battery woes will be linked to the quality of your charger unit. Steer clear of that £3 option on the local market and purchase a reliable option.