By Amanda C. Lee
One week ago, my brother asked me if I could unplug his phone before I went to bed. He feared that an overnight charge would “fry” his battery. Not wanting to leave my warm, cozy bed, I decided to look up whether or not I even needed to.
A common misconception about modern technology is that charging your phone overnight will fry the battery, ultimately causing it to drain faster during the day. Even I believed this for most of my life because, well, better safe than sorry. I was shocked to find out that this is hardly the case!
Modern smartphones are, well, smart. Provided that your phone was purchased at a legitimate retailer, how long you charge it for shouldn’t affect its battery life. Jesse Hollington, the site administrator for iLounge comments that “any device that uses a Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer battery…cuts off charging power when the battery reaches 100%.” Luckily, all of the most popular phone companies like Apple, Android and Samsung use Lithium Polymer batteries. With these types of battery also come charge cycles (about 400 of them, actually). A charge cycle refers to the amount of full charges (0%-100%) the phone has before the battery starts degrading. This roughly translates into about a year and a half (and commonly more) of full use.
What May Be Happening
If your phone battery is dying faster than normal, it has nothing to do with overnight charging, and everything to do with the way you are using it. The amount of limited charge cycles also means that deliberately draining your battery before charging will do more damage than help. By draining your battery to 0% before charging, you are using up a full charge cycle for no reason! Of course, if you are using your phone the whole time, it’s valid, but if you end up playing music from your phone just to drain it, well that isn’t the best idea.
A fast-draining battery may also be caused by the phone’s age or temperature. On the Apple website, it advises users to keep the phone in a range of temperatures. Any extremes exceeding this range can damage the battery irreversibly. This is mostly directed towards warmer temperatures. Your battery can survive cold environments, and any damage is usually temporary. In heat, however, your phone will not fare quite as well. A phone that is exposed to 35ºC and beyond heat can permanently damage your battery capacity. There are several different ways your phone can overheat, and depending on where it’s heating from, you may have to get it replaced.
The easiest fix for an overheating phone is to remove its case. Many phone cases trap the heat escaping from your phone, or even cause more heat around it. Turning on airplane mode can also help, as it will block out battery draining features like bluetooth, and wifi.
While I wouldn’t recommend charging your phone overnight just for kicks, I will say that it will not fry your battery. If you notice that your battery is draining a little faster than usual, it may be time to take better care of it!