Ever since the dawn of the modern smartphone, it has been a constant struggle to maintain a battery charge on our phones to last through the day. It’s our lifeblood, our primary means of contact, a fashion statement, and it has become part of us. Before it was necessary for certain work, but now it’s necessary for life.
We already keep a means of charging at home, in the living room, in the car, and at work. When desperate, we bring one of them with us to our destination. Did we ever think one day we might be carrying around a wall outlet charger to various places, hunting for somewhere to charge up? I remember when my cell phone lasted about a week on a charge, and I rarely checked the battery life throughout. We now glance at the battery life every time the phone is woken up; which is on average 46 times a day! ~according to TIME Magazine.
Charging your phone to 100%, then leave it plugged in must be bad for your phone, right? The depreciation of the battery must be caused by excess heat and stress from the wall adapter. However, what if this is no longer true?
Daniel Steingart, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University, states that keeping it plugged in all the time is the best thing to do. However, for most people this is simply impossible to do. Why even have a battery if you’re going to keep it plugged in 24/7? Well there is good news, at least for skeptics, that Google plans to release a smarter battery management in their next OS release. Experts say the current battery management is already quite good. At 100% charge, the extra energy isn’t “flowing” into it; that’s just not how the power demand priciples work.
Another expert in the field, Venkat Srinivasan, director of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS), says there is an ideal percentage range for the battery to be optimal. That range lies somewhere between 30 and 80 percent (depending on the specific battery manufacturer). Going beyond 80%, according to Srinivasan, is degrading the electrolyte capacity of the cells versus below 80% (albeit still quite slowly).
How does this new knowledge affect our daily habits?
Keeping your phone plugged in all the time isn’t realistic, and maintaining an under 80% charge is something of a hassle; especially when we would normally be asleep when the phone climbs above the 80% mark.
No, it’s best to keep your current charging habits, at least for now. Let the battery management do its best to keep you in the green. We just need a scientific breakthrough in battery technology to eliminate the biggest crutch a smartphone currently offers.
Remember, airplane mode helps charge up quicker when in a pinch!