Truth Behind the Biggest and Dumbest Battery Myths

To help you navigate the murky waters of battery knowledge, we reached out to industry experts to debunk some of the most persistent misconceptions.

So, we aim to uncover the science behind batteries rumors and give you some valuable tips on how to extend the life of our beloved smartphones.

Charging your phone in airplane mode will make it charge faster.

True (kind of)

A common recommendation to speed up charging your smartphone when you’re in a hurry is to turn on airplane mode.

Airplane mode disables all radio frequencies.

This means that your cellular data connection will be disabled, and in some cases, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections will also be lost.

The basic idea is that by reducing the phone’s activity, the battery should charge faster.

phone battery myths
battery myths vs battery facts

Yes? This is technically correct, but the actual increase in download speed seems very minimal.

A test conducted in 2014 found that enabling airplane mode shortened charging time by just four minutes.

You may not have to sacrifice your ability to tweet while waiting for your phone to charge.

If Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are running in the background, battery life is consumed significantly


Besides the screen, the main factor that reduces your smartphone’s battery life is the energy consumed by constantly searching for Wi-Fi and data network connections.

If the battery level drops rapidly during train travel, this may be due to the increased efforts of the device to establish and maintain a mobile network connection.

It’s best to connect to a fixed network, such as Wi-Fi, if it’s available on the train.

You can also easily extend your battery life by making simple adjustments like lowering the screen brightness and increasing the time before the phone goes to sleep.

Using an unofficial or local charger may damage your phone


Unofficial or Local Cell phone chargers perform inconsistently, and this inconsistency can have a negative impact on the health of your smartphone battery.

The charger is equipped with a series of controls designed to limit the amount of energy supplied and end the charging process when the battery reaches full capacity.

However, some third-party chargers may not be subject to these strict security mechanisms.

Overcharging the battery can cause it to lose too much of its vital lithium ions, causing the performance degradation described earlier.

It’s important to note that not all third-party loaders are inherently malicious.

However, to limit potential risks and ensure the life of your phone’s battery, it is best to choose an official charger.

Charging the phone with a computer or laptop will damage the battery


Slow charging can benefit your battery. Again, it all comes down to lithium ions, It’s a recurring theme.

Charging the battery slowly puts less stress on the lithium ions and the structure that houses them, reducing the chance of battery damage.

For this reason, manufacturers limit the charging speed of their devices to prevent them from charging too quickly.

Turning off your device occasionally can extend battery life


This is another misconception, but it has a historical basis.

Before lithium-ion batteries became the standard, nickel-metal hydride batteries were the primary choice for rechargeable batteries.

With these older batteries, you cannot get an accurate reading of the battery’s charge level unless you fully charge it and then recharge it.

If you leave it half-discharged and then reload, you lose ground. So you have to download it completely to watch everything.

Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, eliminate this need.

Modern batteries can accurately estimate the state of charge, regardless of its current level, and when the device is not in use, the battery will experience a minimal load, almost as if it were completely turned off.

Turning off the device will not significantly reduce the battery charge, as it can effectively manage its state during use.

Battery performance deteriorates when cold

False (mostly)

Contrary to popular belief, keeping batteries cool and running at lower temperatures is more beneficial to battery life.

Exposing the battery to high temperatures is much more likely to accelerate normal wear and tear.

We recommend not overheating the battery while charging and not leaving it in direct sunlight or in a warm car.

Why are batteries negatively affected by heat?

The answer lies in the liquid electrolyte that occupies the space between the layers of lithium-cobalt oxide and graphite.

These electrolytes act as a barrier and prevent direct contact between the two components.

This is essential for the movement of lithium ions between layers and is therefore critical to the structural integrity of the battery.

At high temperatures, these liquid electrolytes begin to degrade, causing the battery to fail over hundreds of charge cycles.

This issue is particularly important for electric vehicle batteries that are exposed to intense sunlight for long periods of time.

To prevent performance degradation caused by heat, manufacturers integrate battery management systems into their vehicles.

When it comes to smartphones, keeping the environment at room temperature is a smart approach.

Extremely cold temperatures can make your phone run a little slower because the lithium ions move more slowly, which can temporarily affect its ability to supply power to the battery components.

However, this drop is usually minor and does not cause permanent damage to the battery.

Additionally, if your device has minimal charge remaining and you are in a cold environment, your device may occasionally turn off as cold temperatures can trick it into thinking the battery is low.

This won’t cause any damage, but it can temporarily damage the device’s electronics.

If you leave the charger plugged in and turn it on, you’re wasting energy

That’s not true (well, maybe a little)

Cell phone chargers and other simple cables that don’t contain complex components typically use very little power when no devices are connected.

However, TV or laptop cables, especially those equipped with large power adapters or “bricks”, exhibit more complex behavior.

These cables actually consume a small amount of power in standby mode, waiting for the TV or connected device to wake up.

Historically, this standby power came from appliances, which accounted for up to 10% of the average household’s energy bill.

However, recent regulatory changes have significantly reduced the power consumption of these devices.

The current standby mode consumes minimal power, making it much more energy efficient.

Discharge the battery to 0% before recharging


Interestingly, batteries experience the most stress when they are fully charged or fully discharged.

The optimal condition for a battery is to keep the charge at 50%.

In this state, half of the mobile lithium ions exist in the lithium-cobalt oxide layer and the other half exist in the graphite layer.

This balance puts minimal stress on the battery and extends the number of charge cycles the battery can withstand before wear begins.

Basically, if your main goal is to extend battery life, it’s best to keep the charge level between 20 and 80%.

This approach reduces the time required to compress a significant number of lithium ions into bilayers.

In this scenario, the layer expands and physically deforms. But if you do that, every time you use it, your salary is cut in half.

So this may not be the most practical strategy.

Charging more than 100% will damage the battery


This myth is closely related to the previous one. Leaving your phone charged overnight to keep it at 100% isn’t good for your battery, but overcharging isn’t.

In fact, the phone has a “current charging” mechanism that stops the charging process when it reaches 100% and resumes charging when the battery level drops slightly.

The problem lies in constant 100% charging, as we learned in the previous myth, which puts a certain load on the battery.

While this is not best practice, battery manufacturers have determined battery parameters to avoid causing significant damage.

Replacing your phone’s battery can give it a new lease of life


Over time, your smartphone battery goes through a process of wear and tear.

Smartphone batteries typically maintain peak performance for 2 to 3 years.

Many smartphone manufacturers may not immediately disclose whether your phone’s battery is replaceable.

You can do this yourself, but manufacturers make it difficult.

Alternatively, it may be more convenient to replace the battery yourself with the help of a professional.

A practical approach is to manually assess battery health so that investment decisions can be made for new batteries.

That way, you won’t have to spend a lot of money on buying a new phone.

Even when your battery is at 100 percent, there’s still room for some more charge


Your smartphone’s battery conceals untapped energy beyond what the displayed percentage indicates.

Nevertheless, harnessing this extra power can severely compromise the battery’s long-term durability.

The heart of this issue revolves around a nuanced balancing act undertaken by manufacturers.

Increasing the battery’s available charge diminishes the number of times it can be charged and discharged without incurring internal damage.

To ensure batteries endure through hundreds or even thousands of charge cycles, manufacturers impose constraints on the amount of energy a battery can discharge.

To comprehend the rationale behind these restrictions, one must acquire some insight into battery mechanics.

The core of most lithium-ion batteries, found in smartphones, laptops, and electric cars, comprises two layers: one crafted from lithium cobalt oxide and the other from graphite.

Energy is liberated as lithium ions migrate from the graphite layer to the lithium cobalt oxide layer.

When you recharge a battery, you are essentially directing these lithium ions in the reverse direction—back out of the lithium cobalt oxide layer and into the graphite layer.

This is where the predicament concerning battery longevity and charge cycles comes into play.

If an excessive quantity of these lithium ions is withdrawn from the lithium cobalt oxide layer, it disrupts the entire structure of the layer.

The atomic structure of the material actually falls apart if you remove all that lithium.

Consequently, it is feasible to surpass a 100% charge, but the only means of achieving this is by extracting more of these critical lithium ions.

Although you can remove the lithium ions, reinstating them becomes an arduous task after disrupting the internal structure.

Therefore, manufacturers set limits on the amount of battery charging.

It is typically set to remove only half of the lithium from the lithium cobalt oxide layer during a full charge.

If you remove half the lithium, the battery can provide more charge, but you can’t do it very often.

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