Mobile Myths: Can Charging Your Phone Overnight Harm Battery Health?

By Kimberly WatsonMarch 19, 2021

We've all heard it - charging your phone every night can damage the battery, but is that really true?

By John Shumway
March 19, 2021

After all, for years we have been told “don’t leave your phone on charge overnight” because it kills the battery life.

In fact, the recommendation was to let the phone battery drain to zero and then recharge.

Note the word WAS.

“The newer phones, especially these days really are designed to allow folks to use their phones, and charge their phones, as they see fit,” says Andrew Testa from Verizon. “You know, whether you’re charging your phone overnight, like I do every night, or you charge intermittently. You’re really not going to see a significant strain on your battery’s performance.”

In fact, Testa says with the current generation of lithium-ion battery-powered phones you don’t really even need to worry about leaving apps open.

“That’s one of the really nice things about the newer phones you don’t have to worry about going in and closing out all your apps on all the time,” he said. “The software really does it for you.”

So why is your battery running down in the middle of the day?

Testa says there are some culprits that drain your battery such as…“streaming, you know, 4k video Netflix if you’re going to watch a movie on your phone, things like excessive gaming. Also how high you run your screen brightness, those are things that can impact your battery. Downloading large files, you know, believe it or not, even having your phone on vibrate, or really loud. Those are things that can also, you know, impact battery life.”

Put in that category those Zoom-type meetings we’ve all be doing.

“Video calls can definitely be a drain on your battery layer just like, you know if you’re watching a video right that it’s the same, same principle,” Testa said.

Testa says there are four things you can do to extend your battery’s life.

“You’re gonna want to update your operating system,” Testa says is a good start. “You know phones nowadays, they’ve got really great features, things that reduce your app background activity to really make it easy and intuitive to get the most out of your battery.”

Second, Testa says avoid exposing your phone to temperature extremes. Both high heat and frigid cold can “really have an adverse long-term effect on your battery.”

Third on Testa’s list is something most people don’t even think about.

“Your screen brightness, so if you’re like me, sometimes I like to have my phone brightness on at 100%, and that could really have an adverse effect on your battery life,” he explained. “There are things like auto-brightness that can really help solve for that. And of course, many of the phones can operate dark mode on the newer screens that can also really help preserve that battery life.”

And finally when that “low power” alert comes on go into settings and turn on “Power Save.”

“Power save mode can be a godsend lifesaver,” Testa said. “Turning off things like location services and NFC and Bluetooth, and your voice assistant, that can really help extend your battery life when you’re in a pinch.”

Your phone will stop doing other things that drain your battery like constantly fetching your email, or monitoring for alerts until you can get your phone to a power source.

A final point:

When you do charge your phone make sure it’s free and clear of anything else. Don’t put anything on top of it, and if it’s in an easily removable case, remove it and let the phone breath.

All of those things are precautions because phones overheating are extremely rare. The current cell phones will rapidly recharge a phone up to about 80% and then trickle charge up to full power.

Once the phone is 100% the phone will stop the charging process even if it is still plugged in.

If your phone consistently gets hot, take it to your provider and get it checked.

SOURCE: pittsburgh.cbslocal.com

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