Most of us know what is necessary for a healthy lifestyle. We should follow a balanced and nutritious diet, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and avoid alcohol and smoking. But if I were to ask you what you need to do to keep the battery on your portable devices healthy, most -if not all- of us would have no clue.
We don't really give our batteries too much thought: we plug it in when the battery is low and wait until it is fully charged, sometimes leaving it plugged in the charger overnight so that we have a full battery the following morning.
However, leaving it plugged in when it has already hit 100% is the absolute worst thing that you can do to your battery.
To start off, let's go into the effects that charging inflicts on the battery. We all know that batteries wear down and lose capacity over time. Although there are many factors that influence battery wear, for the sake of brevity and simplicity we will highlight two factors that have a considerable effect on battery capacity over time and that is the effect of voltage and 'topping off your charge'.
Research tells us that a battery sustains considerable damage to its capacity when it is overcharged. The reason for this has to do with the chemical processes taking place in the battery during the charging process. Although all phones have an internal circuit that stops the charge process when it hits 100%, power voltage still trickles in when the charger is still plugged in. This affects the oxidative stability of certain chemicals which in turn leads to a decrease in battery capacity over time. If you want to know more on the science behind it all, click here.
'Topping off your charge'
Did you know that you can actually quadruple your battery's usable lifetime by charging it to a maximum of 80% every time, instead of charging it to it 100%.
Huh, really? How come?
That comes from the fact that the wear your battery sustains in the charging process is not a continuous, linear process. In our test case of a Moto G, the battery sustained more battery wear charging from 80% to 90% (battery wear=0.22 cycles) than from 50% to 60% (battery wear=0.02 cycles). In both cases it is a 10% increase in battery charge but charging from 80% to 90% caused 11 times more wear to the battery than charging from 50% to 60%.
Unplug on time.
So, if you want to have a longer battery life it is important to cap your maximum charge to 80%. But if you do need to charge to 100% then make sure to unplug when it is fully charged to avoid overcharging.
Maintaining good battery health is even more important nowadays when many smart phone manufacturers are pushing out mobile phones with non-removable batteries. Without the option of replacing the battery cannot be replaced so optimising battery performance so your battery goes with you as long as you possibly can.