How to charge a smartphone
(Photo : Sean Gallup | Getty Images) Smartphone batteries last longer when users know how to charge them correctly. It is not yet too late to learn the right way.

Smartphones nowadays usually promise a long battery life but many users still complain that their device's batteries quickly get discharged even with the promised improvements. However, it is possible that users are actually killing their own batteries quicker due to wrong charging practices that can easily be corrected.

Smartphones are already part of most people's lives nowadays and, while the devices are very helpful in managing daily activities, it is always a problem when even simple usage quickly drains the batteries. Mobile phone manufacturers equip their smartphones with non-removable Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and this should give users an idea of its limited capacity.

Sure it lasts longer than cadmium batteries but, if users don't know the proper charging methods, it could end up having the same short lifespan. The best way to avoid suffering from poor battery performance is to know more about what you're dealing with and stop repeating the mistakes that affect battery life users usually make.

Below are typical charging mistakes people make and how to correct them.

Mistake #1 & #2: ALWAYS waiting for the battery to reach very low levels then charging to 100%
Many smartphone users do this. Users would keep using their phones until it practically begs to be charged when it hits 10 to 15 percent or even just shuts down because there's no more juice in it.

What users should remember is that their smartphones use Li-ion batteries and those do NOT need to be drained then charged in full. In fact, Battery University says that following this practice only shortens the lifespan of Li-ion batteries because it adds stress-yes, batteries get stressed too.

"Li-ion does not need to be fully charged as is the case with lead acid, nor is it desirable to do so. In fact, it is better not to fully charge because a high voltage stresses the battery," Battery University writes. Battery University is a website run by Cadex Electronics, a company specializing in battery testing, analysis, and pretty much anything that can be done to prolong battery life.

Li-ion batteries are designed to perform its best between 30 percent and 80 percent capacity so, once the battery hits lower than 30, feel free to charge your smartphone already. Likewise, once the charge hits 80 percent, you really don't need to wait for your phone to reach 100 percent anymore.

Think of you battery as the human body throughout the day. You don't really need to wait like you're about to die to take some rest and recharge yourself and you also don't need a perfect eight or nine hour sleep to be able to function at full capacity.

Mistake #3: Keeping your phone case on while charging
Part of a battery's stress comes from the temperature and it is no secret that your smartphone sometimes heats up during charging. Removing your phone case would help your phone and its battery charge at a comfortable temperature. Even Apple reminds users to avoid charging their devices in extreme temperatures-and Li-ion batteries have a different definition for "extreme."

"It's especially important to avoid exposing your device to ambient temperatures higher than 95° F (35° C), which can permanently damage battery capacity. That is, your battery won't power your device as long on a given charge," Apple warns.

Keeping the phone case on would prevent the heat from escaping, thereby making your device grow hotter and that is really bad. How bad? Think of it as wearing a full winter outfit during a heat wave.

Mistake #4: Charging your phone in all the wrong places
Just like mistake #3, not minding where you place your phone during charging is a big mistake. As already mentioned, the Li-ion battery has a certain temperature range that it can function properly in. Placing your smartphone in a hot area could raise the temperature and stress it out but, at the same time, keeping it in low temperature areas, like in front of the air conditioner, also causes problems even if it is more or less a temporary one.

Again, this is just like how a person cannot really be expected to work at optimum performance when they have a high fever or when they're experiencing hypothermia.

Mistake #5: Overcharging
Now this is a very common mistake. Smartphone users plug in their devices before they sleep then pull the plug when they wake up many hours after. Unfortunately, unless a user only sleeps two to three hours, this could pose a problem because Li-ion batteries usually reach 100 percent charge between two and three hours.

The temperature rises when the battery is overcharged and, not only would this shorten the battery life due to stress, it may also threaten a user's safety, just like those batteries that quickly heat up and explode.

You know how people sometimes feel more sluggish even if they slept longer than their usual sleep cycles? Yes, you do.

Mistake #6: Plugging whatever charger fits
Some people may find it useful that most smartphones use a micro USB for its chargers; however, this does not necessarily mean that all chargers and phones are compatible. Some phone chargers are designed to cut-off the power it supplies once your device reaches 100 percent charge while others do not. So, simply put, please read Mistake #5 again.

Mistake #7: Showing less love for backup phones
OK, you have a new phone so the less powerful phone now becomes a back-up. You may think your back-up smartphone's battery problem is just the device being a diva because it has been abandoned but, actually, it is because users did not pay attention to the battery.

For back-up phones, it is important to keep the battery charged to at least 50 percent even if you don't use it as much. Keeping the battery dead until you have to use it the suddenly charging it in full would stress the battery out that it really doesn't last as long as it used to anymore. This is just like Mistakes #1 and #2.

It would be like suddenly forcing a person to run a 10k marathon the moment the idea hits you when they have been living a sedentary life for the past decade. If people need a little exercise daily to keep their bodies prepared for sudden strenuous activities, back-up phone batteries need that steady juice too.

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