You may be doing more harm than good.
Updated August 19, 2019
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Every night, the last thing I do before bed is plug my phone in to charge overnight. After all, it guarantees that I’ll wake up to a full battery (all the better for checking my email and scrolling through Instagram all day!).
But apparently, according to some experts, my all-night-charging habit could actually be harming my phone. Here’s why it’s not good for your devices to be fully charged 24/7, plus how to charge them the right way.
Why you shouldn’t charge your phone overnight
Time to rethink your charging strategy.
It’s not so much the issue of how long you charge your phone for but how full the battery is. When you charge it overnight, it likely gets to 100 percent and stays there for hours—which can age your battery faster. Business Insider reports that lithium-ion batteries (a.k.a the kind that are in your smartphone) age slowest when they’re kept at 30 to 50 percent battery life. And even Apple’s website agrees, noting that to extend the life of your battery, it’s ideal to keep it half-charged.
And while the overnight charging isn’t the root of the problem, if you charge your phone on your bed while you sleep, it’s a serious fire hazard. The vents on your phone get blocked by blankets so it can’t cool down properly and it ends up overheating and possibly even catching fire.
How to charge your phone safely
Make sure your phone is in a well-ventilated area when it’s charging, and keep in mind that it doesn’t need to—and in fact, shouldn’t—be at 100 percent all the time. “I would advise people to let their phone’s battery drain as much as possible before they start the charging cycle,” our home theater editor, Lee Neikirk, explains. “Batteries have a sort of memory process and the ability to recharge will weaken over time if you’re constantly recharging when you’re at 75% or 50% battery life.”
And if you’re worried about your phone dying during the day, particularly if you have an on-the-go lifestyle, consider a portable charger or wireless charging pad, which tend to charge smartphones much quicker.
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Share All sharing options for: You can wirelessly charge your smartphone anywhere with Mophie’s new magnetic battery pack
Mophie’s charge force cases have been known for making it easier for people to wirelessly charge their phones at their desk or in the car using magnetic mounts. But now you’ll be able to wirelessly charge your smartphone anywhere you want, thanks to the new charge force powerstation mini.
The portable battery pack magnetically connects to Mophie’s charge force and juice pack cases, which are available for the iPhone 6 & 7 (Plus as well) and the Samsung Galaxy S7 & S8 (Edge and Plus, too). The powerstation mini is essentially a 3,000mAh battery with magnets, which fully charge every phone it’s compatible with, sans the S8 Plus and S7 Edge, which come with 3,500mAh and 3,600mAh batteries, respectively.
If you already have a juice pack or charge force case, the $49 powersation mini is probably a good purchase, but if you aren’t already in the Mophie ecosystem, it’ll cost you at least $100 to get involved, and that’s not including the other wireless charging products like the base and desk mount that most people will want.
The Mophie charge force powerstation mini is available for $49 from Mophie’s website today.
If you’re like most people today, you go through a full battery cycle in under a day. This happens because most smartphones run so many apps simultaneously that it’s hard to maintain enough battery power.
Another reason for this is that most people don’t charge their smartphones the proper way or maybe they don’t have enough time to reach a desirable percentage. So, you’re always faced with needing to charge the phone while driving, while in a meeting, while at a bar, or while riding the subway. You may have thus already invested in a portable power bank for your smartphone.
More and more people are also becoming interested in the concept of phone-to-phone charging. It’s not a new thing but it is becoming more widely available as the technology advances. Read on to learn more about this method and find out how you can do it.
When to Charge?
There still seems to be a bit of confusion in regards to when it’s time to charge your phone. Should you charge it when the battery is fully depleted or should you charge partially?
Today’s smartphones use lithium-ion batteries. As opposed to the old acid batteries, these benefit more from partial recharges and, in the long run, don’t respond particularly well to 100% drains.
It is recommended that you charge your phone when the battery is between 30% and 80% in order to improve its lifespan. It is also a good idea to refrain from charging the battery up to full each time.
The most popular method of phone-to-phone charging involves using cables. These are special cables designed to transfer power from one battery to another. Keep in mind that most of these cables are very short, so you won’t get much freedom while the phone is charging.
It took more than a century for Nikola Tesla’s dreams of wireless power transfer to come to life. For wireless charging to work, your smartphone needs to feature a receiver and a power transmitting pad as well as adhere to some specific standards.
This is a wireless charging standard adopted by manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Sony, Apple, LG, Motorola, and Huawei. It is characterized by inductive charging distances of up to 40mm or 1.5”.
This standard is less used partly because it is associated with the Alliance for Wireless Power and not the more popular Wireless Power Consortium.
The Juicer is a phone-to-phone charging cable currently in development. The project is crowdfunded and promises to deliver a small cable that’s able to transfer power from one battery to another with minimal energy loss.
The developers have also hinted at the idea that the Juicer will be compatible with all smartphones, regardless of brand. Currently, the only chance of getting the Juicer cable is to join the waiting list with other supporters and donors of the project.
Mate 20 Pro
Huawei are currently designing a revolutionary (according to their engineers) smartphone called the Mate 20 Pro. Along with advanced high-def cameras, a powerful processor, and loads of software features, the smartphone is also designed to work as a charging station for any other smartphone with a Qi standard.
It will reportedly have the fastest 15W Qi wireless charging transfer rates on the market, well above the industry standard. Of course, it’s the compatibility with all other Qi-rated devices that makes the Mate 20 Pro a smartphone to look forward to.
The Potential Downsides of Phone-to-Phone Charging
Despite how convenient phone-to-phone charging might be, there are several cons to discuss here. First of all, regardless of the transfer method and the technology or standard used, the power drain on the main battery is usually very high.
There’s also the matter of accounting for different voltages and how this may cause overheating or cause both batteries to lose power simultaneously. This effect can be observed if you try pairing an Android device and an iPhone via a converted USB OTG cable.
Connecting the phones will show you that the drained battery is slowly gaining power but quickly losing it too. It also causes massive heat gains which are damaging to the battery and could lead to periodic system reboots or total system failures.
Should You Do It?
Assuming that the technology is perfected, compatibility is not an issue, and the power drain on the topped battery is not massive, should you opt for phone-to-phone charging? Because lithium-ion batteries respond well to periodic partial charging cycles, it won’t be a harmful thing to charge phone-to-phone.
However, the energy gains would be minimal, and they would take time. As such, it is still a lot easier to carry around a small power bank to get some juice when you need to make an emergency phone call or send an urgent email.
More and more phones are adding wireless charging capabilities, but if you’re using an older handset or one that still needs a cable to juice up—hello, Google Pixel 2 —you don’t have to be left out of the party. Here’s a straightforward guide to the kit you need to charge up any phone by just placing it down on a surface.
Fortunately for our purposes, understanding where you are with the tech is more straightforward than it has been in the past, since the lengthy battle between wireless charging standards is now drawing to a close . Just about everyone has decided to go all-in on Qi wireless charging, though you might still see hardware of a different standard around for a while—so be careful what you buy.
Wireless charging pads
The basics of adding wireless charging to a phone that doesn’t support it are the same as they are for a phone that does. You have your charging pad, plugged into the power, and then you can drop your phone on it to juice up.
With Qi wireless charging, all this happens with an inductive charging system, which uses an electromagnetic field to pass a charge between two devices via the copper coils embedded in them. If your phone doesn’t come with the necessary coil inside, then you need to add it somehow.
More on that in a moment, but in terms of the charging pads you can buy, your choice is wide open. If you’re upgrading a phone that isn’t able to charge wirelessly out of the box, there won’t be any official charging pads to confuse matters, so you can pick your favorites from the many third-party models out there.
Make sure you see the Qi wireless charging standard label, and check up on the output wattage as well—the newest pads go all the way up to 10w and 15w, though you’re going to need a phone or adapter that’s able to draw more power to get the full benefit (otherwise the charging rate will fall back to the slowest supported speed).
You’ve got flat pads and vertical stands to pick from, and most of these options fall into the very affordable bracket. A word of warning though: The wireless receiver dongle is going to protrude from your phone’s power and data port, so you probably need to buy a pad-style charger. What’s more, you won’t be able to charge your phone with a conventional cable unless you unplug the wireless adapter, so you might want to buy two or three pads to cover the home and office.
Wireless charging adapters
The secret to wireless charging devices not built for it is a thin adapter that includes the required coil, and stays permanently connected to your phone’s data and power socket. You can plug and unplug it whenever you like, but if you’re doing that you may as well just use a charging cable.
These adapters are ubiquitous and cheap , no matter what type of charging socket your phone uses: MicroUSB, USB-C, or Lightning. The coil part of the device sticks to the back of your phone—it shouldn’t protrude any more than a sheet of paper, but the smooth aesthetics of your phone will inevitably be affected to some degree.
You need to look for something that fits your phone’s charging port, offers Qi compatibility, and looks as sleek as possible. Head to your favorite online tech retailer of choice, but the usual rules about carefully checking user reviews apply—read through a range of opinions and if possible look for a review from someone who’s used the adapter with your make and model of phone.
Setup is as simple as connecting the adapter and then placing the phone down on a wireless charging pad. As far as your phone is concerned, it’s charging through the power socket as normal; it’s just the source of the electricity that’s been changed.
Alternatively, you can opt for a case that includes the necessary adapter in it. Cases can interfere with and slow down wireless charging, so it makes sense to go for one made specifically with wireless charging in mind. Again, find the right fit for your phone: This case will enable wireless charging on older iPhones, for example.
Is it worth it?
Wireless charging is one of those conveniences that seem a bit gimmicky and unnecessary, until you actually try them. Even with the inherent downsides of wireless charging, once you get used to just dropping your phone down on a pad every night without hunting for a cable or a plug, it’s difficult to go back.
And there are downsides—wireless charging remains significantly slower than wired charging, and using third-party adapters to convert a phone that doesn’t have the tech integrated tends to slow down the process even further.
As we’ve already mentioned, if you need to charge your phone conventionally at any point, then you need to unplug the wireless adapter to make room for the cable, which isn’t ideal. If you’re constantly switching between wired and wireless charging as you go from home, to the office, to the car, then you might consider the added convenience of wireless isn’t really worth the effort.
The stylish looks of your phone are likely to suffer too—especially if you’re phone is currently bare or in a super slim case. Many cases should still work fine, with wireless adapter dongles being so thin, but having to buy a new case is a possibility.
Even with all those caveats in mind, you should still join the wireless charging revolution. With the price of adapters and pads so reasonable, you can even give it a try to see if you like it, without losing too much if you don’t.
Unique Items At Affordable Prices
28 Thursday Aug 2014
There is nothing more frustrating than uploading photos to your favorite social media site when your smartphone battery suddenly runs out of power – especially when you are nowhere near a car or home outlet to recharge.
Well, we’ve got that one covered! Battery On The Go is a handy battery charger that no serious smartphone power user can be without. This sleek, functional, and portable smartphone charger will charge extend the talk time on your smartphone by up to 8 hours, and will extend your Internet use time by up to 7 hours.
I took one of these portable chargers home with me over the weekend to see if it really lives up to the claims. I simply plugged the charger into the USB hub on my computer and let it charge up for a couple of hours. Then I took it with me to the beach where I knew I was going to be snapping and uploading lots of photos on my Galaxy S4. When my phone started to run out of juice, I simply plugged the charger into my phone and watched as it recharged my phone’s battery. Simple. Convenient. Just as described. I loved it!
Battery On The Go will work with most smartphone brands including iPhone, BlackBerry, Samsung, Nokia, HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony, and many more. It features a cool 4-LED display to let you know how much charge is left in the battery, and another LED light to let you know when it is charging. A handy power button also makes it easy to turn on and off.
It’s also compact enough for travel – making it an essential item for long plane trips or airport layovers.
We carry the Battery On The Go Portable Battery Charger in both pink (shown above) and blue. Stop by DreamProducts.com to learn more.
Scott Spooner is a Digital Marketplace Specialist for Dream Products.
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Mobile Edge, the industry leader in innovative and stylish laptop carrying cases and accessories introduces the UrgentPower universal smartphone battery charger. The USB UrgentPower battery will provide immediate backup power and add up to 10 additional talk-time hours to virtually any smartphone, and up to 300 additional hours to iPods and e-readers.
Avoid the frustration of your phone shutting down by carrying the UrgentPower. With a powerful 2600mAh charge, the battery\charger is designed to give you that additional backup power when you need it most. This slim and compact unit comes with the connectors for smartphones, iPhones, digital cameras, e-readers, handheld gaming devices and even tablets.
The retail package comes with a USB charging cable, a Micro USB connector, a Mini USB connector and an Apple 30-pin connector. The UrgentPower can also charge an iPhone 5. Future units will include Apple’s Lightning Connector.
Charging your device is quick and easy. Simply connect the UrgentPower to your phone or other mobile device and enjoy immediate access to all your favorite features. The UrgentPower can be recharged easily from a laptop USB port or any USB power source. The sleek cylindrical design makes it convenient to stash in your pocket, handbag or favorite Mobile Edge carrying case.
“Smartphones tend to use a lot of power running today’s popular apps and there is nothing worse than being stuck with a dead phone,” said G. David Cartwright, the President and CEO of Mobile Edge. “With the UrgentPower battery, our customers can feel secure and enjoy extended use of their mobile devices while on the go, especially when they need it most.”
The UrgentPower is available now and carries a suggested retail price of $39.99. Model number MEA2600.
Charging our devices is part of everyday life, but the unsightly cables, scrambling to find a charger, and frustration that comes with forgetting to plug your phone in is something we can all do without.
Wireless charging can help fix all this. As the future of charging evolves, the newest smart devices no longer need to be plugged into a small cable. Simply placing them on a special mat will allow them to absorb a charge. In the future, wireless charging may even be possible just by being near a charger, meaning you won’t even need to take your device out of your pocket to charge it. We’re not there yet though, so for now, let’s weigh the pros and cons of today’s wireless charging to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you.
Xfinity Mobile has the best phones on the best network, many of which support native wireless charging.
How does wireless charging work?
Instead of plugging your device into a charging cable, a special wireless charging pad transfers energy to your device using electromagnetic induction (also known as “inductive coupling”). It doesn’t replace charging with a cable — all phones that support wireless charging can still be charged the traditional way.
What phones have wireless charging?
A number of Android phones and two Apple device series — iPhone 8 and iPhone X — support native wireless charging. Most new mobile devices from Apple are expected to have wireless charging capabilities, and you can also add this feature using a wireless charging adaptor for any iPhone, 5s to 7 Plus. Android phones that support native wireless charging include the Samsung Galaxy Range, Sony Xperia, LG Optimus G Pro, Nokia Lumia, and Motorola Moto.
Pros of wireless charging
There are benefits of wireless charging. Here’s why wireless charging may be a good choice for you.
Just one cable: With wireless charging, all you need is one cable plugged into the charging mat — no more multiple cables for multiple devices. Plus, the universal standard — the Qi wireless charger — is compatible with all devices. So, wireless charging for iPhones is the same for Androids. You can use the same charging mat for all your devices.
Convenience: Just place your phone face up on the mat and it starts charging. That’s all you have to do!
Charge anywhere: Wireless charging mats have already started showing up at hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops. They are also more secure than plugging your device into an unfamiliar charging cable.
Clutter-free charging: Wireless charging means exactly that — no wires! You’ll get rid of the cables on your desk, bedside table, and in your car (in-car wireless charging is available too). Some furniture companies are even building wireless charging into their furniture, eliminating the need for a charging mat on your table or countertop.
Auto-off: Once the device is fully-charged, the wireless charger shuts off, resulting in saved energy, a safer charge, and less need to worry about overheating your battery.
Less wear on cables: You can still use cables to charge your phone when you need to, but using them less frequently makes frayed cables a thing of the past.
Cons of wireless charging
It may seem like a no-brainer to go wireless. But there are some disadvantages of wireless charging.
It’s slow: Wireless charging typically takes 30-80% longer to fully charge your device than a cable. Keep in mind: how you place your device on the mat can affect how long it takes to charge. And even in an ideal setup, 20% of the power running through your device will be wasted — not great in terms of conserving energy.
You can’t use your phone: Your device has to stay on the mat while it’s charging, meaning you can’t pick it up and use it in the way you can when it’s plugged into a charging cable.
It’s more expensive: Wireless chargers are a relatively new technology with a hefty price tag, especially compared to cables. Depending on the size, they can cost anywhere between $40 and $100.
Pro tip: Larger pads can charge multiple devices, potentially resulting in some cost savings.
As smart devices continue to advance, wireless charging will likely become the norm. Until then, weigh the pros and cons, and keep an eye on the latest phone accessories to help you decide if you’re ready for this new technology.
You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4.0 International license.
Wirelessly charging your phone, while highly convenient, risks depleting the life of devices using typical lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), report researchers.
Consumers and manufacturers have ramped up their interest in this convenient charging technology, called inductive charging, abandoning fiddling with plugs and cables in a favor of just setting the phone directly on a charging base.
Standardization of charging stations, and inclusion of inductive charging coils in many new smartphones has led to rapidly increasing adoption of the technology. In 2017, 15 automobile models announced the inclusion of consoles within vehicles for inductively charging consumer electronic devices, such as smartphones—and at a much larger scale, many are considering it for charging electric vehicle batteries.
Issues with wireless charging
Inductive charging enables a power source to transmit energy across an air gap, without the use of connecting wire but one of the main issues with this mode of charging is the amount of unwanted and potentially damaging heat it can generate.
There are several sources of heat generation associated with any inductive charging system—in both the charger and the device its charging. the fact that the device and the charging base are in close physical contact makes this additional heating worse. Simple thermal conduction and convection can transfer any heat generated in one device to the other.
In a smartphone, the power receiving coil is close to the back cover of the phone (which is usually electrically non-conductive) and packaging constraints necessitate placement of the phone’s battery and power electronics in close proximity, with limited opportunities to dissipate heat generated in the phone, or shield the phone from heat the charger generates.
It has been well-documented that batteries age more quickly when stored at elevated temperatures and that exposure to higher temperatures can thus significantly influence the state-of-health (SoH) of batteries over their useful lifetime.
The rule of thumb (or more technically the Arrhenuis equation) is that for most chemical reactions, the reaction rate doubles with each 10 °C (18 °F) rise in temperature. In a battery, the reactions which can occur include the accelerated growth rate of passivating films (a thin inert coating making the surface underneath unreactive) on the cell’s electrodes. This occurs by way of cell redox reactions, which irreversibly increase the internal resistance of the cell, ultimately resulting in performance degradation and failure. A lithium ion battery dwelling above 30 °C (86 °F) is typically considered to be at elevated temperature exposing the battery to risk of a shortened useful life.
Guidelines battery manufacturers have issued also specify that the upper operational temperature range of their products should not surpass the 50−60 °C (122−140 °F) range to avoid gas generation and catastrophic failure.
These facts led the researchers to carry out experiments comparing the temperature rises in normal battery charging by wire with inductive charging. However the researchers were even more interested in inductive charging when the consumer misaligns the phone on the charging base. To compensate for poor alignment of the phone and the charger, inductive charging systems typically increase the transmitter power and/or adjust their operating frequency, which incurs further efficiency losses and increases heat generation.
This misalignment can be a very common occurrence as the actual position of the receiving antenna in the phone is not always intuitive or obvious to the consumer using the phone. The research team therefore also tested phone charging with deliberate misalignment of transmitter and receiver coils.
Comparing charging methods
The researchers tested all three charging methods (wire, aligned inductive, and misaligned inductive) with simultaneous charging and thermal imaging over time to generate temperature maps to help quantify the heating effects.
In the case of the phone charged with conventional mains power, the maximum average temperature reached within 3 hours of charging did not exceed 27 °C (80.6 °F).
In contrast, for the phone charged by aligned inductive charging, the temperature peaked at 30.5 °C (86.9 °F) but gradually reduced for the latter half of the charging period. This is similar to the maximum average temperature observed during misaligned inductive charging.
In the case of misaligned inductive charging, the peak temperature was of similar magnitude (30.5 °C (86.9 °F)) but this temperature was reached sooner and persisted for much longer at this level (125 minutes versus 55 minutes for properly aligned charging).
Regardless of the mode of charging, the right edge of the phone showed a higher rate of increase in temperature than other areas of the phone and remained higher throughout the charging process. A CT scan of the phone showed that this hotspot is where the motherboard is located.
Also noteworthy was the fact that the maximum input power to the charging base was greater in the test where the phone was misaligned (11 watts) than the well-aligned phone (i watts). This is due to the charging system increasing the transmitter power under misalignment in order to maintain target input power to the device.
The maximum average temperature of the charging base while charging under misalignment reached 35.3 °C (95.54 °F), two degrees higher than the temperature researchers detected when the phone was aligned, which achieved 33 °C (91.4 °F). This is symptomatic of deterioration in system efficiency, with additional heat generation attributable to power electronics losses and eddy currents.
The researchers note that future approaches to inductive charging design can diminish these transfer losses, and thus reduce heating, by using ultrathin coils, higher frequencies, and optimized drive electronics to provide chargers and receivers that are compact and more efficient and can be integrated into mobile devices or batteries with minimal change.
In conclusion, the research team found that inductive charging, while convenient, will likely lead to a reduction in the life of the mobile phone battery. For many users, this degradation may be an acceptable price for the convenience of charging, but for those wishing to eke out the longest life from their phone, cable charging is still recommended.
For most of us, charging a phone is a set-it-and-forget-it ritual. We plug it in when you go to bed, or anytime our dwindling battery bars happen to coincide with proximity to an outlet. But the lithium-ion batteries that give life to our phones are fickle beasts. After all, who hasn’t found that 10 minutes of juice is enough to give them a half-a-day’s battery boost at one time, yet barely budges the bars a day later? Which got me to thinking: What’s going on here, and are there times in a battery’s charge cycle where it is able to more efficiently accept power? Basically, does a nearly empty battery act like a dehydrated person marooned in the desert, thirstily sucking up as much juice as it can, as quickly as it can?
Gallery: Samsung Galaxy S7 Vs Galaxy S7 Edge
“Generally, a battery can accept higher charge rates at a lower state-of-charge percentage than it can at higher percentage,” says Mark Carlson , an engineer at Motorola. “So a battery at 10 percent can generally accept higher charge current than a battery at 50 percent.”
According to Carlson, there are a couple of phenomenon at work here. Since overcharging a battery can compromise its long-term usage, gadget batteries tend to have “charge limits” that are designed to keep it going for as many charge cycles as possible. You can think of a battery’s charge limit like a car approaching a stop sign. It’s much easier for the car to stop on time if it’s rolling up at a slower rate. Similarly, slowing down the charge as it approaches the limit helps to keep it from going overboard.
Lithium-ion batteries can be fickle beasts (Photo credit: AIZAR RALDES/AFP/Getty Images)
Still, Carlson stresses that the actual charge rate is the product of a number of interconnected pieces of hardware and software, and while batteries should theoretically charge faster when they’re almost empty, this isn’t always true. “T he actual charge rate for any phone will depend both on the battery charge current limits along with the capability of the external charger and the charge control circuitry in the phone,” Carlson says. “So while it may be true that the charge current can be faster at lower battery levels, the hardware and software in the charging system needs to support it.”
Does this mean you should change how you actually charge your phone? Not really. Especially if forgoing convenient opportunities to charge your device in the name of science puts you at risk for having a dead phone at a crucial time. But next time you stare in frustration as the battery status slowly ticks up, you’ll at least know why it may not be charging as fast as you’d like.
I’m a New York-based writer and entrepreneur. I appear on a few shows on the Travel, Science, History, Discovery, and Nat Geo channels. I also write for numerous
I’m a New York-based writer and entrepreneur. I appear on a few shows on the Travel, Science, History, Discovery, and Nat Geo channels. I also write for numerous publications, including Forbes. As a writer, I’m interested in the intersection between technology, human experience, design, and culture. For more fun, you can follow me on Twitter: @sethporges, subscribe to me on Facebook.