The battery life of your phone is becoming a primary problem. As we do more with our phones for extended periods, the importance of charginghas become one of the most important features that we are looking for screen size. The same goes for the battery life during the device life. And packing a fast-charging adapter in your new phone box is an increasingly common practice, at least for high-end devices. does and so does Huawei, Google, OnePlus, even Apple.
The growing emphasis on battery life is one reason why fast chargers are now so ubiquitous. If the battery threatens to drain before the end of the day, it is quick to charge the next best thing. A 10-minute charge can make the difference between going into a tight energy-saving mode and losing power completely before you get home.
But now that fast charging is so readily available for phones, we have questions: What does a high-capacity charger do with the phone's battery? And is there a chance that fast charging can degrade the phone's energy storage capacity over time?
And while we are asking questions, we also want to know what can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your phone's battery over time.
To get the answers, we talked to several battery researchers and engineers about the effects of fast charging on the phone's battery life. Here's what we learned.
Your phone battery will not change soon
All mobile phones – and most personal electronic and electric vehicles – use lithium-ion (li-ion) rechargeable batteries. It is a tough battle to create longer lasting batteries, as battery technology has not changed in decades. Instead, much of the latest advancements in battery life have come from energy-saving features built into devices and from making the software that handles charging and discharging more efficient, so you draw power instead of winding it.
Unfortunately, it is for mobile phones to focus on extending the battery life typically on cars, satellites and your home's power system, areas where industrial batteries need to function well beyond the two or three years we expect from our mobile devices.
Another force that works against our phones is their battery size. Compared to an electric car battery, the phone's power source is small. For example, Tesla 3's rechargeable battery has a battery capacity more than 4,000 times greater than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The mat becomes a little complex because telephone batteries are measured in milliampere hours, while electric vehicle batteries are measured in watt hours. But it is possible to draw equivalents. For example, the Pixel 4 has a 2,800 mAh battery (or 10.6 Wh), and the iPhone 11 Pro Max reportedly comes with a 3,969 mAh battery (15.04 Wh). At the same time, the Chevy Volt uses an 18,400-Wh battery and a space-saving Tesla Model 3 as a flax of a 62,000-Wh battery.
This means that the larger a battery, the more battery saving tricks there are to extend its life. For example, when you charge a battery, the voltage rises and puts it under voltage, especially during the last 20% of the charge. To avoid this stress, electric car manufacturers can only charge new batteries to 80%. Due to the larger battery capacity, the electric car can still go an acceptable distance, while avoiding the voltage at higher voltages. This can double the car's battery life.
Larger phone batteries can give you a recharging time all the time, but usually only 100%. And while it allows the battery to hold for an acceptable amount of time between charges, it also puts the battery under more stress from the higher voltage required to replenish it.
Shortly after a major breakthrough in battery technology, improvements to our telephone batteries will come from making the units more energy-saving overall. (Here is a more detailed look at what is holding up the battery revolution.)
Fast charging does not damage your battery
A conventional charger has a power of 5 to 10 watts. A faster charger can improve it by up to eight times. For example, the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max come with an 18-watt fast charger, the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus have 25-watt chargers in their boxes. Samsung will sell an extra-fast 45-watt charger for $ 50.
If there are no technical flaws in your battery or electronics charger, but using a fast charger will not do the phone's battery any long-term damage.  Here's why. Fast-charging batteries work in two phases. The first phase applies an explosion of the empty or almost empty battery. This gives you the flaming charge from 50 to 70% for the first 10, 15 or 30 minutes. This is because the batteries during the first phase of charging can pick up a charge quickly without any major negative effects on their long-term health.
For example, Samsung promises that its 45-watt charger can go from zero to 70% charge in half an hour. Apple says that the fast charger that comes with the iPhone 11 Pro can suffer a 50% charge in 30 minutes.
You know how it seems to take as long to charge the last 20 or 30% of the battery as it does to charge the first 70 or 80%? The last part is the second charging phase, where phone manufacturers have to slow down and handle the charging rate carefully or else the charging process can actually damage the battery.
Arthur Shi, a demolition engineer at the DIY repair site iFixit, suggests that you imagine a battery as a sponge. When you first pour water on a dry sponge, it absorbs liquid quickly. For a battery, this is the fast charge phase.
As you continue to pour water on the increasingly wet sponge at the same rate, the liquid will bead up on the surface as it struggles to suck in the saturated sponge. For a battery, this unabsorbed charge can result in shorts and other problems that could potentially damage the battery.
Damage is rare if everything is handled well inside. A battery management system carefully monitors the two charging phases and drops the charging rate during the second phase to allow the battery time to absorb the charge and avoid problems, so it may take 10 minutes to get the final percentage points.
The case of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7's tragically exploding battery was due to battery design errors rather than the phone software's battery management techniques.
You cannot overcharge your phone battery
Overcharge used to cause anxiety among phone owners. The fear was that keeping a phone constantly connected can charge a battery beyond its capacity, make the battery unstable, which could degrade the overall battery life or build up too much internal heat and cause the battery to burst or catch fire.
However, according to the experts we spoke to, a battery management system is designed to turn off the electrical charge when a battery reaches 100% before it can be overcharged.
"If nothing goes wrong with battery circuits, you can't charge a modern phone," said Venkat Srinivasan, a battery researcher at Argonne National Laboratory and head of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science. "They have built-in protection to precisely prevent it from happening."
Remember, however, that you can put a battery under load when you go to a 100% charge, as described above. (This is why electronic vehicle manufacturers discontinue charging for new batteries around 80%.)
Apple makes a smart approach to this problem in iPhones iOS 13 software that charges your iPhone battery to 100% without doing long-term damage.
If you frequently keep your iPhone connected during the day or while you sleep, you can enable an iOS 13 battery setting called Optimized Battery Charging, which will monitor your charging schedule and keep your iPhone's battery charge at 80%, and keep it out of the stress zone . After that point, it will charge 100% right before you regularly unplug the phone. This works best for people who have a normal charging pattern.
For a manual setting, you can also disconnect the phone when it encounters an 80% charge, but the trade-off is that you may miss additional hours of use that you would get from a fully charged phone.
You should not allow your battery to empty to zero
At one time, you may have wanted to have your phone fully discharged once to help the battery recalibrate the charge state. But modern phone batteries aren't that much of a problem.
In fact, discharging the battery all the way can cause chemical reactions that over time can shorten the life of the battery. To avoid complete discharge, a battery's management system includes security features that turn off a phone when it reaches an energy level safely over empty. You just think you've hit zero when you see the latest low-battery warning.
If you want to take a more active hand in your battery's health, turn on the phone when the battery level drops about 30%, yes above the stressfully low battery levels.
High temperatures can damage your battery
Heat is a true enemy of your battery. High temperatures are known to reduce battery life over time.
You want to keep the phone away from strong sun, away from window sills and off the dashboard of the car to prevent overheating, which can make the battery less efficient over time. In extreme cases, an overheated battery may explode.
Temperatures as high as 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30C) can decrease the efficiency of a battery, says Isidor Buchmann, founder and CEO of the battery technology company Cadex Electronics and its companion Battery University education website.
Does that mean you want to store your phone in an ice chest? No. But as much as you can, keep it away from high temperatures. If you are out in the sun for a long time, you can try to pull a towel or T-shirt over it or put it in a bag with your cool water bottle. The idea is to prevent the phone's internal temperature from rising.
Faulty chargers and cables will not damage your battery
If you do not use forged or damaged chargers and cables, mixing and matching cables and chargers will not damage your battery. However, you may not be able to upload as quickly as possible because you are using the ones that came with your device.
Some phones, such as those from Huawei and OnePlus, use their own charging design – with a portion of the circuit responsible for fast charging built into the charger. To take full advantage of the device's self-discharged quick charge, you must use the compatible charger.
Other phone manufacturers, such as Samsung and Apple, adhere to the industry-standard fast-charging rules and allow you to quickly charge effectively with a variety of compatible cables and chargers.
The safest way is to use chargers and cables that come in the box, because when the device mixes and matches the chargers and cables with your phone, the device can function as the lowest possible charging speed.
How else can I save my phone's battery power?
To get more life out of the battery, you can use the usual energy-saving tricks to save battery power, such as lowering the screen brightness, turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use, limiting the use of background data by settings and keep an eye on apps that use GPS.
But the truth is, no matter how careful we are, our phone batteries will only last so long. The trick is to get as many months as possible from our battery without being in constant anguish for its charging.