9 Smartphone Battery Myths You Should Stop Believing

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Lee Charlie / Shutterstock.com

Smartphones are a ubiquitous part of our lives now, as are the many myths about how to get more life out of your smartphone battery.

It can keep your phone battery healthy forever

Let’s start with the most persistent general myth: that you can somehow take care of your phone’s battery to keep it in good health forever.

A smartphone battery is ultimately a consumable good. Like the tires on a car, the battery exists to be used and, when it has reached the end of its life cycle, replaced.

Just like tires or any other consumable that will eventually succumb to wear and tear, there are certainly things you can do to extend the life of your smartphone battery. You can also make tires last longer by handling them minimally, storing your car in a climate-controlled environment, and taking other extreme measures to protect them. But by doing so, you make using your car less convenient, and for what? To delay spending money on new tires?

We strongly recommend that you think of your smartphone battery the same way people think of tires. Sure, it’s a minor hassle to replace your phone’s battery, since many phones now have sealed-body designs. But it is not particularly expensive to do so. And in the end, we’d rather use our phone the way we want to use it than worry that maybe a few years from now, we’ll have to spend $50-70 on a new battery.

With that in mind, here are a bunch of persistent smartphone battery myths you need to stop worrying about, along with a few notes on the little nuggets of truth that inspired them.

You should delete apps to save battery

Your phone was designed to be used the way the vast majority of people use it: open apps when needed, never close them, and just let unused apps fall to the side as you move on to the next app, leaving the original applications hanging. in a sort of suspended state until needed again.

Your phone was not designed with the idea that you, the end user, would force quit an app when you were done using it like you would quit apps on a desktop computer. That’s true for iPhones and it’s true for Android-based phones.

Yes, there are rare cases of poorly coded apps using too much background data or negatively impacting battery life. If you have an app that you really need to use, and it’s one of those apps, forcing it to close when you’re not using it might be a good idea.

But for most people who use most apps, constantly closing apps is not only a waste of time, it also hurts your phone’s performance and battery life.

You must discharge the battery to 0% before charging

In the grand scheme of things, consumer use of lithium-ion batteries is fairly recent. Because of that, many people have first-hand experience with older (and more delicate) batteries, or got advice from people who did.

Some types of rechargeable batteries suffer from “memory” problems where failure to cycle the battery can significantly degrade performance.

That is not the case with lithium ion batteries. In fact, you should do everything you can to avoid completely draining your battery. In general, your phone’s battery is happier when it’s used and charged regularly.

Maybe once or twice a year, however, it’s helpful to let the lithium-ion battery in a smartphone drain completely before recharging to recalibrate the battery. That doesn’t do anything to extend battery life, but it does ensure that your phone’s software can accurately report battery charge.

You should not use it while it is charging

This myth is based on the idea that heat damages the phone and the battery life. That is not entirely false. Your battery works best at room temperature (and actually works a little better in cooler than room temperature conditions). Electronics, in general, do not like heat.

But the little heat introduced by charging and then the additional heat introduced by you using the phone to brown Instagram isn’t a big deal. Should you be charging your phone while sitting in the direct summer sun, playing the most demanding mobile game you have? No, probably not. But anything other than those kind of stress test conditions is fine. Just enjoy your phone.

In fact, we’re big advocates of buying really long charging cables so you can enjoy your phone more comfortably while it charges.

Third party chargers will damage your phone

Is it ideal to only use original OEM chargers created by the manufacturer specifically for your smartphone? Of course. Is it a big risk to do otherwise? In most cases, not at all.

There are a lot of really great third-party chargers out there from reputable companies like Anker, Belkin, Spigen, etc.

What you want to avoid are the poorly built, poor quality verified chargers you find at gas stations, flea markets, and other places where no-name bargain products are sold. Don’t trust your phone, which is worth hundreds and hundreds of dollars, to a $4 gas station charger.

Fast and wireless charging damages the battery

A smartphone sitting on a wireless charging pad.
Ni Gal / Shutterstock.com

We will group these two together because the basis of the myth is the same. There is a longstanding belief that using a fast charger or wireless charger damages the battery because it introduces excess heat that degrades the battery’s circuitry.

Technically, it is true that the brief period of intense charging during the peak of a fast-charging cycle introduces more heat than not using fast-charging would generate.

It’s also technically true that the inherent inefficiency of a wireless charger over a wired charger will also generate additional heat.

However, none of these have a significant enough impact to warrant real consideration, and fast charging on modern smartphones is very safe.

Overnight charging damages the battery

Here’s another myth that was significantly more true in the past and barely relevant today: Leaving your phone plugged in to charge overnight is bad for your battery.

In the past, smartphones weren’t that smart when it came to battery management. Your phone would charge to 100%, stop charging, and then, after slowly discharging, charge again, overnight. Modern phones have adaptive charging and strategically manage the charging window to minimize battery damage.

Having a phone fully charged and ready to go in the morning far outweighs any minor wear and tear that overnight charging can put on the battery.

Turning off your phone is bad for the battery

This myth, depending on who shares it, goes both ways. Some people will tell you that turning off the phone is good for the battery. Some people will tell you that leaving your phone on all the time is bad for your battery. The truth is that neither state matters much in the grand scheme of things.

Your phone is designed to be on all the time. Not a single phone manufacturer has designed their device with the intention that you turn it off and put it away in a drawer when you’re not using it.

Sure, you can extend the life of a lithium-ion battery by charging it to about 50-60% and then storing it in a cool, dry place, but then again, this is your smartphone, not an old device you’re putting away. But your smartphone isn’t a device you’re storing, it’s something you use every day.

You need to disable Bluetooth and other features

Years ago, disabling battery-saving features was a much more helpful tip than it is now. Without a doubt, any feature of your smartphone that requires power, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, background data, etc., will affect the battery life.

Turning off Wi-Fi when you’re on a plane and not using the plane’s in-flight Wi-Fi, for example, is an easy way to squeeze some battery life out of it if you don’t have a charger handy. And disabling background data updates for a particular app that aggressively polls for data it doesn’t need constant updates on is also a good move.

But turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, leaving your phone in airplane mode, or disabling all background data is overkill. For daily use, it just makes your phone difficult to use. Who cares if it adds a fraction of a percent to your battery life if every day you have to fiddle with settings or manually open apps to get updates?

The same goes for low power mode in general. If you’re stuck between locations where you can charge your phone, use it. But keeping your phone in low power mode only makes using it more frustrating.

In the end, we hope that the real conclusion for everyone is that they should use their phones however they want. Micromanaging how you charge your smartphone can, at best, only add a small amount to battery life and isn’t worth worrying about.

The best phone chargers of 2022


TECKNET 65W PD 3.0 GaN USB C Charger Type C Charger 3-Port Fast Wall Charger Foldable Adapter Compatible for iPhone 13 Pro Max/13 Pro/13/13 Mini, MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, Switch, Galaxy S21/S20

Apple 20W USB-C Power Adapter – Fast Charge Capable iPhone Charger, Type-C Wall Charger

Amazon Basics 100W Quad-Port GaN Wall Charger with 2 USB-C Ports (65W + 18W) and 2 USB-A Ports (17W), White (Non-PPS)

Anker Wireless Charger, 313 Wireless Charger (Pad), Qi-Certified 10W Max for iPhone 12/12 Pro / 12 mini / 12 Pro Max, SE 2020, 11, AirPods (No AC Adapter, Not Compatible with MagSafe Magnetic Charging)

AINOPE Super Mini 48W USB C Car Charger All Metal Fast USB Car Charger Adapter PD&QC 3.0 Dual Port Compatible with iPhone 13 12 11 Pro Max X XR XS 8 Samsung Galaxy Note 20/10 S21 / 20/10 Google Pixel

Techsmarter 11-port charging station with five 100W USB-C PD ports, 25/45W PPS, five 18W USB-A ports and detachable 15W wireless charging pad. Compatible with MacBook, iPad, iPhone, Samsung, Dell, HP, Yoga…