Smartphone Buyer's Guide

What Happens If You Overcharge Your Phone

What happens if you overcharge your phone? “Overcharging” is the word that gets thrown around a lot with this one. The concept is that if you leave your phone on the charger for a while after it hits 100 percent, that it will reduce the capacity of the battery.

Well, this just isn’t the case This myth has some pretty legitimate origins, so it’s no surprise that it’s stuck around. What happens if you overcharge your phone, In the days of yore, lithium-ion batteries would overheat if you left them charging for too long. This did, in fact, cause damage to the battery and reduce performance. Hell, it even led some to explode.

However, modern devices are way smarter with managing power. Leaving your device plugged in all the time is just fine. The only reason this should be a concern, as hinted above, is if you have a poorly designed case that doesn’t allow for heat dissipation. Other than that feel free to charge away. In fact, leaving your battery plugged in provides your battery with a trickle charge once it’s at capacity, and that’s actually healthier for your battery than a complete discharge is.

 

What Happens If you Overcharge Your Phone?

 

Does Overcharging Hurt Your Phone?

You’ve probably heard people say that you shouldn’t leave your phone plugged in overnight. Doing so depreciates your battery life and makes it age faster. You’re killing your battery! I always charge my phone overnight, and I always let it reach a full 100% charge. Am I really killing my battery? Am I a murderer?

 

I can’t live with this guilt, so I called up some battery experts to find the truth. Daniel Steingart, Associate Professor at Princeton University told me that, The easiest thing to do is just keep it plugged in all the time or as much as you can. The way he sees is it is that we all need our phones ready and charged, so we might as well keep them fully charged forever. Your phone is pretty smart, and its software recognizes when it reaches a full charge, so you can’t technically overcharge your battery. Problem solved! But not really.

I also called Venkat Srinivasan, the Director of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science, and he told me: Don’t charge the battery all the way to 100%. Get it up to 90% and then stop it. – He never lets his phone reach a full charge, what? He says we should keep our phones between 30% and 80% charged because once they reach 100%, certain reactions occur that degrade the electrolytes and depreciate our batteries.

Conclusion

So this is probably where that overcharging myth comes from. Alright, so I went back to Dan, and I asked him to clarify. Like, Venkat says you’re wrong. And Dan told me that both of them are actually right. So, awesome, you do damage your battery when you charge it to 100%. But if you’re going for the full charge already, keeping it there doesn’t harm it.

Basically, if you are a normal human who just needs their phone out all the time, feel free to go to 100% and keep it plugged in forever. But if you care a lot about your battery’s life, like, a lot, or you don’t use your phone that much, go Venkat’s route and try to keep it in a narrow charging range. I admire your discipline, and maybe you’ll extend your battery’s lifespan. Ultimately, though, batteries are meant to be used, and phones are meant to be used too. You don’t do any damage by leaving it at 100. You’ll probably replace your phone before your battery totally dies. Or in the worst case scenario, you replace the battery. That’s not so bad. Okay, glad we settled this. Go live your truth, keep it 100.

What happens if you overcharge your phone quest for power is eternal. Phones, our tethers to both the virtual and IRL world, almost never have enough juice to last an entire day. Our lives are turning into endless hunts for places to charge. Even charging at home can be difficult, particularly if you share your space with other people and use multiple devices daily. These issues can be solved through planning, though.

 

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