Why shouldn’t you charge your smartphone at night?

Smartphone batteries are consumables, and it is therefore normal that over the years the capacity of your battery seems less important than on the first day. However, it is possible to take your smartphone’s battery life much further being careful how you charge your device.

Indeed, as surprising as it may seem, lithium-ion batteries do not like being fully charged or completely discharged. In such extremes, chemical reactions inside the battery cause, among other things, the formation of dendrites – crystals that gradually degrade the functioning of the component.

Avoid leaving your smartphone plugged in for too long and keep the charge between 20% and 80%

However, the degradation of the battery of your device accelerates if you have taken the bad habit of plugging in your device before going to bed, and of forgetting it like this until you wake up. Indeed, it does not take more than a few hours at most to fully charge the battery.

For the next few hours, the charger will just hold the charge around 100%, a level that today’s batteries don’t quite like to stay at. Of course, the problems will not appear immediately, but by dint of repeating the same action often, the signs of wear should appear quickly.

Ideally, therefore, avoid plugging in your smartphone before forgetting it on the bedside table – and instead prefer as much as possible to recharge it in small bursts of 10-20 minutes during the day, so as to permanently maintain the charge between 20% and 80%. Such a charge level is indeed optimal for the lithium ion battery life that manufacturers integrate into smartphones.

Are all smartphones really affected?

This is where it gets interesting. Indeed, it is quite possible to limit the carelessness of users by automatically managing the way in which the smartphone is loaded via the software layer. If your smartphone is recent and rather high-end, it is likely that it has a feature called Adaptive Charging (Google Pixel), Adaptive Battery (Samsung Galaxy) or Optimized Charging (OnePlus).

Samsung Galaxy smartphones even have an option that also allows you to permanently limit the maximum charge to 85% and thus take no risk. Be careful, however, to check that these optimizations are active (this is not necessarily the case by default on all models). If you have an iPhone running iOS 13 or later, a feature Optimized charging to similar effect is nevertheless active by default.

On just about every recent iPhone, therefore, you may never really have to worry about keeping the charge level between 20% and 80% without the slightest change in the settings – because the smartphone takes care of that for you.

Apple specifies that the function: “uses on-device machine learning to learn your daily charging routine, allowing Optimized Battery Charging to activate only when your iPhone expects it to be connected to a charger for an extended period of time.” The same feature is available in some Apple accessories like AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max.

Take special care if you disable these optimizations

Many users prefer to disable battery optimizations, for completely legitimate reasons. For example, to be sure of the charge level when you leave your home. Or because they find the optimizations applied by some manufacturers too strict.

For example, Samsung, OnePlus, Huawei, and Xiaomi are known to apply overly heavy battery optimizations that can even break the functionality of some apps. A site, Don’t Kill My App, even identifies smartphone brands deemed too aggressive by developers around battery optimizations that limit the operation of applications.

In itself, nothing prevents you from deactivating the active charging / battery optimizations on your smartphone. Just go to the settings and deactivate the appropriate options. In this case, just remember that you are once again solely responsible for the battery life of your device. To avoid a battery replacement in the next few months, do not plug it in overnight and make sure to keep the charge level between 20% and 80%.

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Why shouldn’t you charge your smartphone at night?

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