How to Take Care of Your Lithium-ion Batteries the Right Way

Eric LimerIn an article written by Eric Limer, Associate Editor on the site Gizmodo, he dispels some myths about how to care for the batteries in our devices, and then offers tips about how to really extend the life of your battery in your device. He writes:

The first rule for extending your battery life is to Top it Off. « You may vaguely recall hearing something about rechargeable batteries and the ‘memory effect.’ You know, that if you don’t « teach » your rechargeable batteries their full potential by taking them from totally full to totally empty, they’ll ‘forget’ part of their capacity. Well forget all that. Right now. It does not apply to your device.

Battery memory is a real thing, but it applies to nickel-based batteries; your device doubtlessly has a lithium-ion battery, and it needs to be treated a little differently. Specifically, it should be topped off whenever you get the chance. »

To get the most out of your battery you should try to keep the battery charged above 50%.

Batteries: The Absolute Definitive Guide

To get the most out of a lithium-ion battery, you should try to keep it north of 50 percent as much as possible. Let suggests doing one full discharge about once a month for « calibration, » but don’t do it all the time. Regularly running your device down will shorten its lifespan.

Limer’s next tip is ensure that once your device has finished charging, you remove it from the power source. You don’t want to have your battery charging constantly. Lithium-ion batteries can get overheated. Luckily for you, your charger is smart and will cut your phone off and some time once it’s full.

And finally, Limer’s last tip is that your battery doesn’t particularly like being all the way full either. In fact, your battery will behave the best if you take it off the charge before it reaches 100 percent. Leaving it plugged in when it’s already full is also going to cause a little degradation.

Limer’s final pieces of advice – « If you’re really particular about optimizing your battery’s life, you should try to go from around 40 percent to around 80 percent in one go, and then back down whenever possible. A bunch of tiny charges throughout the day is your second best bet, and going from zero to 100 and then 100 to zero on a regular basis will put the most strain on your lithium-ion battery. And finally, keep it cool. »

silver-apple-logoSo what does Apple have to say???

Why Lithium-ion?

Rechargeable lithium-ion technology currently provides the best performance for your device. Compared with older battery types, lithium-ion batteries weigh less, last longer and charge more efficiently. In fact, charging an iPhone 5s battery once a day in the U.S. costs just 51¢ per year.

When do I Charge my Battery?

Charge your Apple lithium-ion battery whenever you want. There’s no need to let it discharge 100% before recharging. Apple lithium-ion batteries work in charge cycles. You complete one charge cycle when you’ve used (discharged) an amount that equals 100% of your battery’s capacity — but not necessarily all from one charge. For instance, you might use 75% of your battery’s capacity one day, then recharge it fully overnight. If you use 25% the next day, you will have discharged a total of 100%, and the two days will add up to one charge cycle. It could take several days to complete a cycle. The capacity of any type of battery will diminish after a certain amount of recharging. With lithium-ion batteries, the capacity diminishes slightly with each complete charge cycle. Apple lithium-ion batteries are designed to hold at least 80% of their original capacity for a high number of charge cycles – in other words, charge more often.

Remove Certain Cases During Charging

Charging your device when it’s inside certain styles of cases may generate excess heat, which can affect battery capacity. If you notice that your device gets hot when you charge it, take it out of its case first.

I was very surprised as I read Limer’s article, which sparked me to do some  research and learn a whole lot more about lithium-ion batteries. Hopefully you learned something new too! 🙂

Leigh Cassell

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