It is natural for us to be excited when we obtain a shiny new gadget or phone, and we take care of it so much that we need to know every meticulous detail about its operation. It is no different with new phones.
Every time a new model or battery pack comes out, one of the most common questions asked is “Does charging your phone overnight ruin the battery?”
This question stems from the fact that rechargeable batteries that came out some decades earlier need careful charging schedules to avoid overcharging and the memory effect.
Overcharging is harmful to batteries, with heat being one of the many culprits that kills the battery. The memory effect is when the battery misjudges its empty state, which prompts early batteries to be charged “deep” or charging only when the battery is almost on zero percent discharge.
- 1 Nickel Cadmium vs. Lithium ion, and the Memory Effect
Nickel Cadmium vs. Lithium ion, and the Memory Effect
To further understand the memory effect and its impact to our main question, consider this illustration. An older model rechargeable battery is discharged to 40 percent and then promptly recharged at that capacity.
Now, earlier batteries are not “smart” and when they are charged, they would assume that this is their empty, zero state.
So when we charged at older model batteries 40 percent, the batteries “think” that this is zero and remembers it (there for the term “memory effect). Next time you use your battery, it will only discharge as deep as the 40 percent mark before declaring that it is already “empty” when really, it still has 40 percent of charge capacity left.
This is why many people still ask today if charging your phone overnight is safe, as overcharging and the memory effect played a big role to shape our beliefs and understanding of the earlier rechargeable batteries.
Many people even charge their phones just before they go to bed and make an effort to unplug them when midnight comes.
However, batteries in phones and tablets right now are as smart as the gadgets they power. Major phone manufacturers Samsung and Apple take great lengths to ensure that their battery has a close to zero percent risk of overcharging, and batteries do not exhibit the “memory effect” anymore.
This is because batteries today are made of lithium, whereas the earlier rechargeable batteries were made of some combination of nickel and cadmium.
So to address our main question, the short answer to it, considering today’s technologies, is no. Charging your phone overnight will not ruin the battery’s life.
Phone batteries, especially the ones made by the biggest brands, can now detect when they are on full capacity. When the batteries sense that they are already fully-charged, then the battery will cut off the electricity flow going to it, so that no more power can pass through.
When the battery is fully charged, it will be “bypassed” from the circuit. This means that the power from the charger is powering the phone now and none is being transmitted to the battery.
The battery now only acts as a backup storage of energy and will be idle until the energy stored in it is needed again (i.e. when unplugged).
However, even if It is safe to charge the batteries overnight, you should not be doing so every night. Today’s battery life will be more optimally calibrated when they are used anywhere from 40 percent to 80 percent charge.
It is not advisable to drain the batteries into deep discharge or close to zero percent. Batteries only have a limited amount of complete recharge and discharge cycles, and a deep discharge every so often will take a toll on that finite number of cycles.
Other Myths about Phone Batteries
Now that we cleared the issue of whether it is safe to charge overnight or not, there are still other phone battery myths that many people believe to be true but are actually quite inaccurate or even outright false.
Should I Use Off-brand and Knockoff Chargers?
Sometimes, the official charger that came with your phones break or stop to function and this could happen for any number of reasons. Anyway, most people resort to buying off-brand chargers which quite does the job but without a prestigious brand name attached to it.
Indeed, an off-brand charger can be a quick solution to your charger woes when you cannot afford to buy the original, branded accessory.
However, some people still think that off-brand chargers will ruin certain batteries. This is not true; what people should really watch out for are those cheap, knockoff chargers that have no distinguishing features on them whatsoever.
According to a research done by Lifehacker, off-brand chargers perform works just as well as the official chargers, but the cheap knockoffs really do not do anything and may even harm your device.
So do not shy away from buying an off-brand charger. As long as it was made by a respectable company like KMS and Belkin, then there really is nothing to worry about.
Should I Use my Phone while Charging?
There is also another myth going on that people should not use their phones while it is charging because it may explode, or it may even electrocute the user.
This myth sprang from an incident that happened to a Chinese flight attendant named Ailun Ma, who was electrocuted by her iPhone 5 because she was using the phone it while it was plugged in and taking charge.
It was later discovered that Ailun Ma was using a third party charger, presumably one of those cheap, knockoff ones that were discussed in the earlier section. It was not an original Apple charger, and so that definitely caused the electrocution.
So the truth here is that you can use your phone all you want even if it is charging. You just need to make sure that your charger is reliable and not some third party knockoff that could be a safety risk not only to you but to everyone around you, as well.
How often Should I Turn off my Phone?
There is also a common misconception that modern phones really do not need to be turned off at all. This is not entirely accurate.
Of course, phones are machines, but they need breaks in operation, as well. For Apple phones, research found out that turning off your phone at night will go a long way in helping the battery achieve its maximum optimal lifespan.
For more information about your iPhone lifespan then, visit at this page!
The Apple Company advises users of their iPhones to turn off their phone for a while once every week so that the battery life could be preserved. But if you feel like turning of your iPhone every night before you go to sleep, then that would be a welcome advice, as well.
iPhones run by iOS are not the only ones that will benefit from these short breaks. Even Android phones are recommended to be turned off every once in a while.
A simple reboot of an Android device can help optimize battery life, but having a regular schedule to a synchronized battery charge cycle may help even more.
For Android users, go to this page to learn how to fix Android OS battery drain!
What is the Optimal Time to Charge my Phone?
This question is tied to the earlier section mentioning the “memory effect.” Due to the existence of such phenomenon in earlier rechargeable batteries, it has become ingrained in people’s minds to charge their phone only when it is deeply discharged— that is, closer to zero percent.
This is to counteract the memory effect, ensuring that the earlier battery models will not be used to identifying shallower, arbitrary percentage levels as their empty level or “zero point.”
However, this method is only really necessary for those older nickel and cadmium based batteries. As discussed, we know have lithium technology which has no memory effect whatsoever, and can be safely charged at any point in the cycle.
The typical safe zone for phone batteries is charging around the 40 percent to 80 percent range. It is not recommended for these batteries to be discharged too deeply, because modern lithium batteries only have a certain number of cycles before they naturally deteriorate.
The general rule is that batteries in modern phones should be charged regularly, without letting them drain to zero. If they are drained completely, battery life will suffer and its operating service will be unstable.
How Does Heat and Cold Affect the Battery?
Another thing to keep in mind is that excessive temperature is always harmful to batteries.
They already generate a little heat in operation or when in charging state., and an excess of this will shorten battery life. Same with extreme cold— a battery exposed to this will be quickly out of service.
So, does charging your phone overnight ruin the battery? Apparently not, as we have already achieved the technology to lessen our worries about the memory effect and overcharging. If your phone was made in the last couple of years or so, then chances are it is safe to keep it charging overnight— as long as you don’t do it every night, of course.