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Charging myths that need to be debunked

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By Vicente Radito David

If there’s an Achilles’ heel in your otherwise top-of-the-line, shinyshimmeringsplendor of a smartphone, it’s your battery. Given a year or two, your smartphone’s performance will inevitably degrade. And while restoring to factory settings and starting anew might improve the bogged-down memory of your phone, your battery’s ailing capacity is a different issue altogether.

That’s why there are numerous myths about phone batteries and charging them. We do all sorts of tricks and come up with all sorts of entreaties to the gods of various pantheons in the hopes that our batteries last longer.

But in the immortal words of Nadine, “Come on, guys, it’s 2018!” (date updated). It’s time to separate fact from fiction and determine which of the various beliefs about battery and charging are true and which are nothing more than mythtakes.

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1.CHARGE/DRAIN FULLY

Yeah, I remember the days when you had to wait until your phone was fully drained before you can charge it – and you must charge it to full 100% (imagine the logistical complexity this presents) unless you want your battery to start acting like an ailing man.

But those days were a good two decades ago – way back when I was still in college. Now, the Lithium-ion batteries that smartphones use don’t require you to wait either to fully drain or to fully charge your phone battery. In fact, it’s actually harmful if you wait until your phone is fully drained before you charge it. Feel free to charge whenever you need.

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2.CHARGE OVERNIGHT

I can practically hear mothers all over the nation warning their kids not to charge their phones overnight. “Sayang ang kuryente! Masyadong iinit at masisira phone mo! Baka sumabog yan!”

Fortunately, battery technology is as smart as your smartphones… at least in this regard. You can safely charge your phones right before going to bed. Your phones would automatically detect when it’s at full capacity and stop charging. This minimizes wasted energy and keeps your phone safe. Just don’t charge the phone and then put it under your pillow, ok? That’s just asking for trouble.

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3.HOT & COLD

This one holds true – avoid putting/using your phone in extreme hot or cold. If you’re out in the snow and your hands are freezing, you might notice that your phone will give up entirely and just shut off. Likewise, if you leave your phone in the punishing heat of the sun, it’s bound to churn up some problems for your device.

This is the reason why it’s not advisable to put your phone under your pillow while it’s charging. Your phone battery might have improved a lot through the years, but it’s still susceptible to extreme temperature. This is also why you should never ever put your phone in the freezer to prevent battery problems (believe it or not, there are some people who believe this). This is a guaranteed way to mess up your phone and your battery.

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4.USE WHILE CHARGING

News of batteries exploding are sure to chill your spine… and bound to make you a bit wary of using your phone while it’s plugged in to an electrical outlet. So far, however, no one has been able to make a direct, unassailable connection between exploding phones and charging. There is plenty of evidence, on the other hand, of increased likelihood of failure when using counterfeit chargers. If you want to be safe, use only official (or even trusted off-brand) chargers to prevent any accidents; it’s the knockoffs that you have to avoid. Knockoffs not only put you in danger, they don’t even charge all that well.

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5.KILL THE APP KILLERS

About ten years ago, apps that close other apps (‘task killers’ or ‘app killers’) were a godsend. These apps force other apps to quit, with the promise that fewer apps running in the background result to a smoother user experience and better battery usage.

But a decade is a long time, and your phone’s operating system has gotten a lot better in managing resources. Nowadays, there are many arguments against app killers or closing down an app altogether.

When you press your home button, active apps are effectively ‘paused’ and get stored in the phone’s memory until you load the app again. Now, this is where things have changed.Loading apps from memory is actually faster and better for your phone because it uses less computing and battery power than fully-loading from the device storage. Furthermore, ‘paused apps’ aren’t the drain they used to be because battery power only gets used when your phone’s processor is actively processing tasks. Unless the app you’ve paused performs tasks in the background (like how the FB messenger notifies you that you’ve received a message even if you closed the app or how your games give you an update once you’ve finished building something or another), leaving apps unclosed is generally better for your phone. Painstakingly closing your apps every time you’re done with them actually uses more computing and battery resources.

Of course, like I said earlier, it’s also important to reboot your phone (therefore closing all the apps) at least once a week.

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6.24/7, 365

If you can use your phone even while charging, and it’s ok to leave it charging before you go to sleep, can we leave our phones on non-stop then?

No. It’s a good idea to reboot your phone occasionally – at least once a week. Keeping it always on degrades the battery life, not to mention the phone’s performance. Once you reboot, you’ll have a noticeable improvement in your phone performance and you’ll be keeping your battery in top condition too.

 

Over the years, battery technology has evolved a lot – maybe not enough that we don’t have to think about it, but it’s far better than what it used to. As such, adapting to the batteries of today require changing the charging habits that we’ve developed. Knowing which of your beliefs are supported by science can get you the most out of your smartphone battery.

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