How To Get the Most Out of Your Smartphone Battery

The battery is the most important component in your smartphone, because if the battery isn't working , nothing else can. With the right sort of care and attention, you can make sure your battery stays charged for longer —and lasts longer overall, as well.

There is good news, which is the lithium-ion batteries inside today's phones are more reliable, longer-lasting, and safer—well, mostly —than ever before. That said, we've got some tips for keeping them healthy and happy.

Top It Off

The chemical reactions inside lithium-ion batteries are more comfortable with shorter charges and discharges, rather than being drained all the way down and then topped all the way up.

Managing battery life is a delicate operation.

You're not going to seriously damage your phone if you wait for it to die every time before plugging it in again, but you do run the risk of shortening the battery's life. Keeping your phone between 50 percent and 80 percent seems to be the sweet spot. And whenever possible, try not to let it dip below 20 percent.

On a related note, you're fine to leave your phone fully charged and connected to power overnight, or in the office during the day. Smartphones and chargers today can recognize when they've hit 100 percent, and accordingly reduce the flow of electricity to a trickle.

Check the Temp

The lithium-ion batteries inside your phone really don't like extreme temperatures, as you might have found on the ski slopes or the beach, when your phone has simply shut off in response to the chill or the heat.

It's perhaps not reasonable to expect you to carry your phone around in a temperature-controlled vacuum chamber, but you can make sure it's well insulated in the cold, and not exposed to temperatures that are too high. Even simple precautions, like not leaving it in a warm car, can help.

These temperature extremes won't necessarily kill your phone's battery for good, but they can hasten the natural degradation that all batteries suffer over time, meaning you'll need to replace it—or your phone—sooner than you otherwise would.

Slow and Steady

Wireless charging is very convenient . The various fast-charging technologies out there are very handy when you're pushed for time. But for battery longevity, consider using a standard charger, or charging via a laptop USB port, when you can.

It's not that wireless charging or fast charging are inherently bad or that they're going to send your phone up in flames. But lithium-ion batteries definitely prefer a slow and steady input. Consider using the slow and steady approach whenever it's available.

If you do rely on wireless charging or fast charging, make sure you're using the official charger that came with your phone, or an officially approved third-party accessory. These chargers will be configured to keep your phone battery as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Meet in the Middle

If you're not going to be using your phone for a while, storing it with half a charge is preferable to leaving it fully charged or fully drained. Even if the idea of stashing your phone away for a while seems preposterous, some people do keep spares around just in case. The advice applies to tablets as well, which you may use less frequently.

Remember what we said earlier about temperatures as well; you want phones to be stored at room temperature if at all possible. Bear in mind that certain less well-engineered phone cases might have the knock-on effect of increasing the warmth your device feels, especially while charging.