Smartphone Batteries and How To Keep Them Charged

Our smartphone experts at Bolt Mobile in Saskatoon get asked one question, 10 times per day.

“Why does the battery in my cell phone suck?” 

Android phones have some of the best technology on the market with those super crisp AMOLED and LED screens. But those brilliant screens drain your battery and are a key factor in why portable power chargers are flying off the shelves these days at our four stores in Saskatoon.

In this post, we will be exploring ways to improve the overall battery life on your smartphone so you’re not running out of juice before your afternoon coffee break.

The new iPhone 7 was revealed just a few weeks ago with SaskTel and as with most launches, Apple lovers are always looking for improved battery life. There is a big discrepancy on whether or not getting rid of the headphone jack was a good move but all us of us want our smartphones to hold more juice. After all, how are we supposed to catch all those Pokemon with no power?

Smartphones like the iPhone use lithium-ion batteries. They have their pros and their cons. They’re super light and there isn’t much that compares when it comes to holding a charge. But they also start degrading as soon as they’re manufactured. Just like you and I, they have a life span and so as they get older and older they get worse and worse and one day, they will eventually die. In reality, you have a better chance of dropping it in the toilet or smashing the screen before that happens.

The fact is that your phone battery is going to run out of juice one day and there will be no way to bring it back to life. Because most smartphones nowadays do not have removal batteries, your stuck with the same battery for a long time…or until you upgrade your phone again. The new LG G5 is an exception.The G5’s sleek, new metal design even houses a convenient, slide-out battery module – making it easy to power up while you play.

But you can delay the inevitable death of your battery with smart decisions.

First of all, let’s be myth busters. You don’t need to let your phone power all the way down before you recharge it. This all goes back to the days when nickel-based batteries we’re the top of the food chain and we’re the battery of choice. Those batteries experience something called the “memory effect,” where a battery that isn’t fully discharged will “forget” some of its capacity if it recharges with a partially full battery. As a rule of thumb, nickel batteries could generally “remember” their full capacity by being drained down to zero and starting over.

One of the advantages of lithium-ion batteries is that they aren’t as forgetful as those we used to use. So there’s no need to drain your battery to zero.

You gotta check out this video as it shows you how it all works.

As the video above explains, you’re better off keeping your battery right around a 50-percent sweet spot. A lithium-ion battery’s charge capacity is determined by how many lithium ions it can nestle into its two electrodes. As you go through charging cycles, these components degrade and hold fewer ions. Experts recommend partial discharges, because it’s more punishing on your phone’s battery to start from zero. If you constantly drain it down to nothing, your battery will lose its capacity much more quickly.

Heat is the real lithium-ion killer. Heat speeds up all chemical reactions, and the ones inside your battery are no exception. Not only can heat speed up the process of battery drainage in the short term, but it can also cause the battery to degrade and hold fewer ions. Luckily we live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and we see more freezing temperatures than we do summer heat. That being said, even the heat of your body is enough to help kill a battery quicker — so try to keep your phone out of your pockets.

And finally, if you need to put your phone away for a while and don’t want it to die completely, charge it to around 50 percent before you turn it off. A battery with no charge can become unstable or even explode, so smartphones and laptops have a fail-safe that kills their batteries if they’re uncharged for ages and ages. It’s a pain in the neck, but it’s better than a phone explosion.

On that note, consider this a reminder to turn in your Galaxy Note 7 to any of our four Bolt Mobile locations in Saskatoon. The phones have been recalled for having a small battery fault that may occasionally cause them to burst into flames. To protect users who may fail to respond to Samsung’s recall, the company is issuing a software update that will keep phone batteries at a lackluster 60 percent charge or lower — presumably to avoid overheating.

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