Ever had that sneaking suspicion that your laptop or cellphone battery life is getting worse over time?
Well, you were right. According to Battery University, a website dedicated to studying batteries, the lithium-ion batteries used in most of today’s consumer devices often grow weaker or fail within a year or two.
To keep your laptop or smartphone battery healthy over a longer period of time, there are a few simple things you can do:
1. Don’t let it charge out
Letting your battery go all the way down to 0% wears it out, the same way machinery is worn out faster with heavier use, according to Battery University. By charging it when it reaches 50%, you can increase the battery’s longevity by as much as 3-4 times.
2. Turn it off while charging
Having the device on while charging causes a so-called “parasitic load” on the charger, which can cause it to continually apply the highest possible voltage, causing battery stress.
3. Unplug at 100% – or before
Similarly, keeping the device plugged in when it reaches 100% means that the battery stays at the highest possible voltage, which elevates stress and reduces the lifecycle.
By just reducing the voltage by 0.1V every time you charge, which you can do by not letting the device charge fully, the lifespan of the device’s battery can be doubled.
In fact, the best way of charging your device is to plug it in when it reaches 40%, and unplug it when it reaches 80%, according to a Wired magazine interview with CEO of Cadex, which sponsors BU.
4. Don’t let it overheat
Batteries kept in warm conditions degrade faster than others. A battery at 100% capacity that is kept in 77F – or approximately room temperature – will only have 80% of its original battery life after a year.
Also, keeping a laptop or tablet constantly in your lap or in a bed retains a lot of heat and increases the strain on the battery.
For long-term storage, it’s recommended to charge batteries to 40% and then store them in the refrigerator (but not the freezer, as that’s harmful for the batter).
5. Take out battery while plugged in
Another solution for prolonging laptop life is to remove the battery pack when you keep the charger plugged in for prolonged use. That way, the battery is directly powered by the charger, and no strain is put on the battery.
6. Battery optimization apps
Some battery apps, such as Battery Doctor for Android and Battery Saver for Apple, will notify you when to charge in a more optimal cycle, notifying you to charge before you reach below 20% and to stop before 80%.
For your laptop, you can download Battery Care, a software that does the same thing.