THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO MOBILE BATTERY TECHNOLOGY & USAGE
I am part of many tech groups in several social spaces and what comes up a lot is battery issues? For better or for worse, ever since the Apple Battery scandal, everyone is now suddenly aware that their devices have a limited lifetime. So what I did is write the below post for the people as a guide and am now cross-publishing it here for more to find. Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.
First, a note: This post is intended to have all information about batteries in our phones/tablets/laptops in one place. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of IT as a technical service person, I like to write about tech, and I spend most of my day learning about tech. I would just like that people can find relevant information about their battery issues in one place, and be well informed about many misconceptions being constantly spread in name of ‘fanboyism’ or ‘brand loyalty’. As always, feel free to discuss, deliberate, and dissect the information presented in an objective manner.
Let’s get 3 things clear first about a battery
Maximum Powaaaaaaa (Maximum Capacity)
No matter what device you have, with the current battery technology that is being used in all devices, there is no way your device maintains 100% maximum capacity over an extended period of usage. This is ‘physically’ (defies the law of physics) impossible, if you research how batteries work, you will understand that over time the maximum battery will decrease no matter how you use it. Many brands tackle this issue in various ways such as software optimization.
I am Fast Boi (Fast Charging)
Fast charging is an excellent way to get a refill quickly. But you have to understand that no matter which fast charging technology you use, it will have a toll on your battery. This again is due to physical (physics-based) limitations. I will explain in the usage section as to what is the biggest concern with this. You might ask then, how is that companies like Tesla (yes they make cars but they have a battery) openly promote their fast-charging network if it was so dangerous to the battery? The answer is that when you purchase a new Tesla vehicle, the full capacity is not available (unlocked) to you, there is a software limit on how much the car can charge (usually around 80%), over time the software optimizes the maximum capacity so you as a user don’t face a major decrease in your battery life/range. Also when talking about cars, they have huge batteries, so the effects of degradation are not that foreseeable as compared to a smartphone you will use a year or two.
Getting Played By Numbers
Following Apple’s battery gate scandal, many brands including Apple have released a feature on checking the maximum battery capacity of your phone. This can now be found on many Android devices under the battery health section in settings. PLEASE don’t care about this much, as said earlier, a 5-10% decrease per year-ish in maximum capacity is expected with any device no matter how you use it. If the software doesn’t show you that decrease it might not be well optimized, but it is ‘physically’ impossible for a battery to retain 100% max capacity over long periods of time. The only thing you need to worry about is if you see a massive decrease like 10% in just 2-3 months, in that case, the battery you have is either faulty, replica or damaged. Lastly, with the number of social media posts I see about battery related issues, this feature has caused a lot of anxiety (ganjay ko nakhun na do scene – giving nails to a bald man scene – Urdu idiom); please understand that this setting is also yet another way for brands to make more money off of you by making you switch to a newer device when you see the battery percentage depleting. I have perfectly made use of iPhones and Android for far more years without issues, use this tool just for your information, don’t get influenced by it unless you see massive drops in a very short amount of time. Also, this information can help you purchase a used device. So a pro and a con.
That being said, are there ways you can use your device to last you longer? Yupp there are. Read below!
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Top tips to make sure your battery lasts longer
Use the slowest way of charging possible, I prefer wireless chargers and 5-10W chargers. Preferably charge your phone overnight with slow charging, most phones have charge controllers in them now so they know when to stop charging.
Do not use your phone heavily (gaming, streaming, CPU heavy apps) while you are charging your phone. Sometimes is fine as an exception but if you really want to be that hard-core gamer that has charging always connected, buy a gaming phone, they have the ability to directly power the phone when connected so that the battery doesn’t heat up.
Talking about heat, yes heat is the worst enemy of a battery. Cold too, but we are in Pakistan so heat is the big issue here. Any practice that heats up your phone, avoid that. That includes fast charging also. It is fine to use fast charging sometimes, but it undeniably heats up your phone. It literally is choking your battery to get charged faster. Yes, there are better technologies now for fast charging, but the average mid-range phones don’t have such capabilities in them to mitigate issues.
Ideally speaking, the battery should be kept charged somewhere around the mid-point, so around 50-80% to have the longest life. That is very hard for anyone to pull off. What is easy though is making sure your phone is charged most of the times than needing to be charged. There have been studies that show having your phone close to full is better than having it close to dead mostly. What I do to counter this issue is to have a charger everywhere, have one on my work table, my room, my car, and my bag. Again if you are the kind of person that wants to do this, here is how you do it.
Lastly, to keep this short (haha yeah right), try to use original products. Gone are the days that brands did not exist in Pakistan to sell good products at a reasonable price, if you have an 80K phone, please get a 2k charger and 1k cable from a respected brand like Anker for it. Additional pro tip, get an expensive case than a cheap one also (this topic for another day though as to why).
Please understand I just like tech and want people to make the best use of it, there is no agenda with this information. Feel free to discuss and ask questions, and I will try to the best of my knowledge to answer them.
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