How to preserve a smartphone’s fastest-degrading component
It’s harder to replace your phone’s lithium ion battery than it is to treat it right in the first place. Many smartphones don’t provide easy user access to their batteries. That includes all iPhones and many flagship Android phones from brands such as Samsung. Official battery replacements are often expensive and inconvenient. There are also environmental concerns. Smartphones are, frankly, an environmental disaster and extending the lifespan of your phone battery helps mitigate that.
Here are some things you can do to preserve and extend the lifespan of your phone battery. By battery lifespan I mean how many years and months your battery will last before it needs to be replaced. In contrast, battery life refers to how many hours or days your phone will last on a single charge.
1. Understand how your phone battery degrades.
With every charge cycle your phone battery degrades slightly. A charge cycle is a full discharge and charge of the battery, from 0% to 100%. Partial charges count as a fraction of a cycle. Charging your phone from 50% to 100%, for example, would be half a charge cycle. Do that twice and it’s a full charge cycle. Some phone owners use more than a full charge cycle a day, others use less. It depends on how much you use your phone and what you do with it.
Battery manufacturers say that after about 400 cycles a phone battery’s capacity will degrade by 20%. It will only be able to store 80% of the energy it did originally and will continue to degrade with additional charge cycles. The reality, however, is that phone batteries probably degrade faster than that. One online site claims some phones reach that 20% degradation point after only 100 charge cycles. And just to be clear, the phone battery doesn’t stop degrading after 400 cycles. That 400 cycles / 20% figure is to give you an idea of the rate of decay.
If you can slow down those charge cycles — if you can extend the everyday battery life of your phone — you can extend its battery lifespan also. Basically, the less you drain and charge the battery, the longer the battery will last. The problem is, you bought your phone to use it. You have to balance saving battery life and lifespan…