Phone Charging Tips

phone battery iconSounds easy doesn’t it, to charge your mobile phone or tablet you just plug it in right? Technically yes but there are a few things you may want to know about phone and tablet charging, so we have put together a selection of mobile phone charging tips that will not only help you preserve the life of the battery but will also help charge your devices quicker and easier than before. We also look at some of the definite no’s when it comes to phone and tablet charging, as a few ideas out there may be completely wrong and some were once relevant but now could be causing harm to your phone and battery.

Completely draining the battery before charging

This one has been doing the rounds for quite some time now and modern phones with Lithium-ion batteries do not need to be drained completely before re-charging for the best results. In fact the complete opposite is true, by draining your battery you are actually reducing its life span. This myth stems from a older style of batteries that used nickel cadmium. These batteries required to be completely drained in order to get back to full charge because of a lazy battery memory. Lithium Ion batteries don’t suffer from this issue and so the process of depleting the batteries is not required.

Remaining battery before re-charge Number of Recharge Cycles
0% (fully drained) 300-500
50% left 1200-1500
75% left 2000-2500
90% left 3750-4700

The table above show the difference in the amount of charges you phone is likely to get before the battery becomes useless at holding charge. As you can see draining the battery can significantly reduce the amount of charges the battery will take. Keeping your battery topped up when it drops to around 40% will keep the life of your phone battery longer.

power bankPortable Chargers

With the above in mind, portable chargers are a great option to keep your phone topped up when your not at home is the portable charger. These have really taken off in popularity recently and many people have one kept at work in their coat, briefcase or whatever they are carrying. Then when your phone runs down below half capacity you can give it boost. There are so many portable chargers to choose from these days with major differences in size, weight and power capacities and even differences in the amount of current they provide. Take a look at a wide selection of portable chargers at Amazon UK.

Should I leave my phone plugged in over night?

This one can be taken either way, but its important to realise that the reason a lot of people say don’t do it is because they think you can over charge and damage your battery. The truth is phones are smarter now and they will recognise when they are fully charged and will stop taking any further charge. This will of course stop the battery from getting damaged. On the flip side of course if your phone didn’t need a lot of charge anyway it will have topped up completely very quickly and will be kept at 100% charge all night. This wont damage the phone necessarily but may add a small amount on to your electricity bill that would add up over time.

There is a watch out to this however, and that is heat. If you are going to charge your phone overnight make sure its on a hard flat surface, so that heat can dissipate. Over heating while charging will kill battery life, avoid charging your phone on things like quilts or blankets as these will only serve to keep the phones heat inside.

Third Party Chargers

There is plenty of scary news when it comes to third party chargers. You see in the news of many disasters that have happened with non official chargers. This has put many of us off buying anything other than the expensive official chargers than come with our phones. I will start with this, Official chargers are the best, they are designed to work specifically with your phone, and have been tested and calibrated to give the best performance. This doesn’t mean however that third party chargers are dangerous. The problem revolves around un-reputable companies trying to make a some easy money by selling un-licenced chargers. These chargers are not tested and pose a serious risk of fire and other risks such as electrocution. Buying third party chargers is not a problem, but buy these from stores that you know as these places will have bought there good from companies who can prove they have the relevant safety specifications.

Charging your Phone Faster

Many of the mobile phones that have been released over the last couple of years are able to take charge at a much faster rate than previous ones. This is as much to do with the way you charge your phone as much as the phone itself. Most phones except for apple ones, have been standardised with a micro USB port in order to charge the phones. This is great for the consumer who can find charging solutions practically everywhere, but this doesn’t mean that they are all the same of course. For example have you tried charging your phone with a uSB cable from your PC or laptop? It seems to take a lot longer than it does if you plug that USB cable in to a wall charger. This is because the USB specification doesn’t allow for a high transfer rate of power. Even different chargers will give different results. Check out the table below to see what power you can expect from different devices.

Charging Port Current Power
USB 2.0 port 0.5A 2.5W
USB 3.0 0.9A 4.5W
Wall charger 1A 1A 5W
Wall Charger 2A 2A 10W

phone charger

Some smartphones are restricted to a maximum current of 1 amp and if you try to use a faster charger it simply will not accept the charge. The same can be true in reverse for tablets. Many tablets require at least 2 amps in order to charge. This will mean that some tablets will not accept a charge when plugged in to a PC or Laptop because even USB 3.0 can only provide 0.9 amps of current.

The table also shows why modern smartphones can charge up to 4 times quicker when used with the correct charger than if they are simply plugged into a computer. Using a lower current will not harm your smartphone however, it will simply take a lot longer to charge. In some instances this may also reduce the temperature of your phone while charging. If your phone has developed a problem with over heating while charging, using a lower current option may help. However your phone should not be over heating with correct charging so this problem will need looking in to.

Can I use my phone while it charges?

You certainly can, this is another thing that hit the news because of serious injuries that have occurred when people have been on the phone while it was charging. The stories have all been focused on the fact that the phone exploded or set on fire while it was being used at the same time as being plugged in to a charger. The real story is that these people where using either fake or un-tested chargers and that was the real problem (see earlier in the article for third party chargers).

Wireless Charging

This is the latest thing when it comes to mobile phone chargers. Wireless charging involves a charging pad that you simply rest your phone on and it begins to receive charge. The idea is that these pads would be placed in places such as coffee houses and food stops etc so that people could easily just place their phone down on a table and a top up charge while they have their coffee or meal etc. Initially wireless charging was slow, but new improved technologies have increased the charging speed. Samsung released wireless charging with its Galaxy S6.

Do I need to switch my phone off, ever?

How would you like to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? guessing you wouldn’t and nor would you be able to. Now I’m not saying that technology is comparable to human beings, but the reasoning is very similar. even technology needs a break from time to time. It lets the hardware cool down, removes the hardware stressing that happens when its used at full capacity and it also lets the software reboot, which will help overall speed. Its not essential, but definitely beneficial to turn off your phone even if its just once a week.

Closing apps in the background

This topic has recently been addressed by high ranking technicians from both the iOS and Android camps. The advice pretty similar from both. Apps that are not at the forefront of your screen do not drain your battery. They are suspended in memory and so do not use the CPU. The only issue that comes about from having too many apps suspended is that it may eventually slow your smartphone or tablet down because its running out of memory. Even then the operating systems are smart enough to close down apps that haven’t been used in a while. The only exception here are apps that sync with the internet on a regular basis such as e-mail apps or instant messaging. Some games do this also to send you alerts. But these can be switched off. Bear in mind that syncing happens on these apps even if you didn’t open them in the first place.

Closing apps regularly may actually drain batteries quicker because the act of removing them from memory, does in fact take some power to do, add to the fact that instead of pulling the app from memory, the next time you open the app it will have to fully load it again which takes more power. So you thought you were doing the right thing? You may have to think again.

Hopefully this has been of some help and your smartphones will live a little longer without the need for a battery replacement any time soon.


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