Gear

Simple steps to maximize your phone’s battery life

09.26.16
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You might have heard through the grapevine that it’s bad for your phone battery if you leave it plugged in all night.

But is it a fact or an urban legend? And if it is true, is it worth switching up your routine to maximize battery life when it’s just so convenient to stick to the plan and always know it will be ready and charged when you wake up?

Reliable sources like the New York Times say that most people don’t keep a phone for more than two years, and if you’re in that group, you can generally ignore advice about battery life, as yours likely won’t degrade to the point that you would notice a change within that time span.

Then again, you may hang onto your devices for longer or simply be obsessive about always keeping your battery above 50 percent (or, ahem, have a fondness for battery-draining apps like Pokemon Go.

If so, there are a few things you can do maximize your phone battery’s life, and yes, one of them, unfortunately, is giving up bedside charging.

Here are a few smart tips to get started:

1. don’t leave the phone plugged in after it’s done charging

This is why leaving it overnight is a bad idea. Leaving it plugged in after the battery is fully charged does cause it to corrode slightly faster, according to the same Times report mentioned earlier. Again, the degradation is minimal so it may not make a big difference in the long run.

2. avoid heat

If you leave your phone in the sun on a beach blanket on 100-degree days or bring it into Bikram Yoga with you, stop. According to Apple, heat will mess with your battery in real-time that exposing it to temperatures over 95 degrees will permanently damage battery capacity.

3. don’t go to zero

According to Gizmodo, it’s not good for today’s cellphone batteries, which are almost all the lithium ion variety to go all the way to zero regularly. It can make them unstable. Instead, try to keep the battery at a 40-percent charge or higher as often as possible.

4. except every couple of months, when you calibrate

Most experts do recommend calibrating the battery every one to three months by letting it go fully from 100 to 0 and back up. It’s like a little refresher.

5. know what’s using your battery and adjust your settings

You can also maximize battery time day to day by getting smarter about how you use your phone. Going to Settings>Battery will show you what’s using it in the “background” that could be draining it. Switching to Airplane Mode when you’re in an area that has bad service and your phone is constantly searching for a signal definitely helps, and location services can use a lot of battery life, too. Apple has more tips, here.

The thing that really drains it, though? Your screen. So try having some more IRL conversations and no-Insta-photo meals and you’ll be doing yourself and your battery a favor.

Have you found certain strategies really extend your battery life? Share with me  in the comments!

Author: Carley Knobloch

Carley Knobloch is a digital lifestyle expert and a regular contributor on the Today Show and CNN. She’s also a home automation expert and host for HGTV, where makes home technology easy, approachable and fun. Carley has been featured in Real Simple, Allure, and Bloomberg Businessweek. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two kids, springer spaniel, and myriad smartphones.

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