Nine Smartphone Battery Myths You Can Ignore

Smartphones are a necessary part of our daily lives. We hear about the numerous myths on how to eke out more life from your smartphone battery.

RAYMOND OGLESBY @RaymondOglesby2
November 17, 2022

Copyright Scott Adams, Inc./Distributed by Universal Uclick for UFS Let’s explore these myths.

This is for smartphones

Dilbert and Listen
Copyright Scott Adams, Inc./Distributed by Universal Uclick for UFS

Maintain Battery Life Forever

Let’s open with the most persistent overarching myth: that you can somehow baby your phone’s battery to keep it in good health forever.

A smartphone battery is, ultimately, a consumable good. Like a battery in your car, the battery exists to be used and, when it has reached the end of its life cycle, replaced.

Sure it’s a minor hassle to get the battery on your phone replaced, given that many phones have sealed-body designs now. But it’s not particularly expensive to do so. You might have to spend $50-$70 for a new battery.

Kill Apps to Save Battery Life

Your phone was designed to be used the way the vast majority of people use it: opening apps when needed, never actually closing them, and just letting unused apps sit off to the side when moving on to the next app; leaving the original apps to hang out in a sort of suspended state until needed again.

Your phone was not designed with the idea that you, the end user, would force quit an app when you were done using it as if you were closing apps down on a desktop computer. That’s true for iPhones, and it’s true for Android-based phones.

Yes, there are rare instances of poorly coded applications using too much background data or otherwise negatively impacting your battery life. If you have an app you really need to use, and it’s one of those apps, force quitting it when you are not actually using it might be wise.

But for the majority of us, closing apps is a waste of time, and actually hurts the performance and battery life of your phone.

Discharge the Battery to 0% Before Using

The consumer use of lithium-ion batteries is fairly recent. Because of that, many people either have first-hand experience with older (and more finicky) batteries or were given advice by people who did.

Some types of rechargeable batteries suffer from “memory” issues. That’s not the case with lithium-ion batteries. In fact, you should go out of your way to avoid fully draining the battery. In general, your phone battery is healthier when it is being regularly used and charged.

However, once or twice a year it is useful to let your lithium-ion battery drain all the way down before recharging to recalibrate the battery. That does not extend the life of the battery, but it does ensure that your phone software can accurately report the charge of the battery.

While Charging Don’t Use It

This myth is based on the idea that heat is damaging to your phone and to the battery life. That’s not entirely untrue. Your battery is healthier operating near room temperature (and actually works a little better in cooler-than-room temperature conditions). Electronics, in general, do not like heat.

But the little bit of heat introduced by charging and then the extra heat introduced by you using the phone is not a big deal. Should you charge your phone while sitting in the direct summer sun, playing the most demanding mobile game you have? No, probably not. But anything short of those kinds of stress-test conditions is fine.

Third-Party Chargers Will Damage Your Phone

Is it ideal to only use first-party OEM chargers created by the manufacturer specifically for your smartphone? Sure. Is it a huge risk to do otherwise? In most cases, not at all.

There are plenty of really great third-party chargers out there from reputable companies like Anker, Belkin, Spigen, and so on.

What you want to avoid are the poorly constructed and poorly quality chargers you find at gas stations, flea markets, and other places where bargain-basement no-name products are sold. Do not trust your phone to a $4 gas station charger.

Fast and Wireless Charging Will Damage Your Battery

Let’s lump these two together because the basis of the myth is the same. There is a long-standing belief that using a fast charger or a wireless charger damages your battery because it introduces excess heat that degrades the battery circuits.

Technically, it’s true that the brief period of intense charging during the peak of a fast charging cycle introduces more heat than not using fast charging would introduce.

It’s also technically true that the inherent inefficiency of a wireless charger over a wired charger will also introduce extra heat.

Neither of these has an impact significant enough to merit any real consideration, that’s why new cars feature wireless charging.

Charging Overnight Damages Your Battery

Here’s another myth that was significantly more true in the past and barely relevant today: leaving your phone plugged in to charge overnight is bad for the battery.

In the past, smartphones were not smart about battery management. Your phone would charge up to 100%, stop charging, and then after slowly discharging, it would charge back up again. Modern phones have adaptive charging, and they strategically manage the charging window to minimize battery damage.

Having a fully charged and ready-to-go phone in the morning far outweighs any minor wear and tear overnight charging might put on the battery.

Battery Is Damaged by Turning It Off at Night

This myth, depending on who shares it, goes both ways. Some people will tell you turning the phone off is good for the battery. Some people will tell you leaving the phone on all the time is bad for the battery. The truth is, neither state really matters much.

Your phone is designed to be on all the time. Not a single phone manufacturer has designed their device with the intention that you power it down and put it in a drawer when you are not using it.

Sure, you can extend the life of a lithium-ion battery by charging it to roughly 50-60% and then storing it in a cool, dry place. But this is your smartphone, you do not have to put it in storage, instead, you use it every day.

Disable Bluetooth and Other Features

Years ago, disabling features to save battery life was a far more useful tip than it is now. To be certain, any features on your smartphone that require energy such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, background data, and so on, will impact your battery life.

Turning off Wi-Fi when you are on a plane and not using the plane’s in-flight Wi-Fi, for example, is a straightforward way to squeeze out a little battery life if you do not have a charger handy. And disabling background data updates for a particular app that is aggressively polling for data you do not need constant updates about is also a wise decision.

But turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, leaving your phone in Airplane Mode, or disabling all background data is overkill. For day-to-day use, it just makes your phone a pain to use.

The same thing goes for Low-Power Mode. If you are stuck between locations where you can charge your phone, by all means, use it. But keeping your phone in Low-Power Mode just makes it more frustrating to use.

Micro-managing how you charge your smartphone can, at best, only add a tiny amount to the battery’s lifespan and is hardly worth worrying about.

Quote For the Day

The only way to define your limits is by going beyond them.

Arthur C Clarke

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Checkout TechSavvy.Life for blog posts on smartphones, PCs, and Macs! You may email us at contact@techsavvy.life for comments or questions.

I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Just send an email to contact@techsavvy.life. Please mention the device, app, and version you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

Author’s E-Book

You can access the e-book from a Kindle device, the Kindle App for the desktop or smartphone, which is a free app.

The author’s Vietnam eBook on the Battle for Tra Bong Vietnam: Events and Aftermath

How to Turn Off Data Roaming on Smartphones

Roaming is a term that often gets mentioned in data plans for smartphones. Are you technically “roaming” when you’re out and about? Well, that’s not exactly what it means in the eyes of your mobile carrier.

RAYMOND OGLESBY @RaymondOglesby2
August 16, 2022

Roaming is a term that often gets mentioned in data plans for smartphones. Are you technically “roaming” when you are out and about? Well, that’s not exactly what it means in the eyes of your mobile carrier. Let’s explore data roaming.

This is for smartphones

Dilbert and Chip
Copyright Scott Adams, Inc./Distributed by Universal Uclick for UFS

Data Roaming

Data roaming is actually a very simple concept. You have a mobile carrier that provides data to your smartphone when it’s not connected to Wi-Fi. However, as you know, your carrier’s network is not limitless.

So what happens when you go somewhere not covered by your carrier’s network? That’s where data roaming comes in. Roaming allows you to hop on another network so you can still make calls, send texts, and use wireless data when your carrier’s network is disconnected.

This typically works through agreements between your carrier and other networks. The most common scenario in which data roaming comes into play is traveling to a country where your carrier does not have a presence. You can roam on the other network and not need to sign up for something new.

The Cost

Unfortunately, data roaming is not usually included for free as part of your data plan. If you want unlimited roaming you will need to pay for one of the more expensive plans. Roaming charges vary from carrier to carrier.

In general, if you do not pay extra for unlimited roaming, you will pay for how much you use. That could be around $0.25 per minute on calls, $0.10 per SMS, and $3 per MB of data. Needless to say, those numbers can add up quickly, so make sure to read the details of your data plan to find out what you could be charged.

Avoid the Charges

The good news is you probably do not have to worry about roaming charges. Your carrier may not have 5G or LTE coverage in all places, but there is almost always some lower-speed coverage everywhere in the country. Data roaming is primarily for traveling internationally.

That being said, there are some things you can do to be absolutely sure you are never roaming and being charged for it.

On the Android

On Android, go to:

Settings > Network & Internet > SIM

and toggle Roaming to OFF.

On the Samsung

On Samsung o to:

Settings > Connections > Mobile Networks

and toggle Data Roaming to OFF.

On the iPhone

On the iPhone, go to:

Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options

and toggle Data Roaming to OFF. Refer to the below image:

Roaming 1
Turn OFF Data Roaming

Tip: If you are not traveling internationally, you can also consider paying for an international data plan with your cellular carrier. You can also consider getting a SIM card and cellular data plan in the country you will be staying in. Both of these are good ways to avoid the usual pay-for-the-data-you-use roaming charges, which can be expensive.

That’s all there is to data roaming. It’s primarily a feature of mobile networks for traveling outside of your country of residence. In your day-to-day life, it’s not something to worry about. However, if you plan on traveling, you will want to see what your carrier has to offer.

Quote For The Day

In software systems it is often the early bird that makes the worm.

Alan Perlis

Tweet Info

That’s it. Please feel free to share this post! One way to share is via Twitter.

Just click the Tweet icon below. This will launch Twitter where you click its icon to post the Tweet.

Checkout TechSavvy.Life for blog posts on smartphones, PCs, and Macs! You may email us at contact@techsavvy.life for comments or questions.

I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Just send an email to contact@techsavvy.life. Please mention the device, app, and version you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

Author’s E-book

You can access the e-book from a Kindle device, the Kindle App for the desktop or smartphone, which is a free app.

The author’s Vietnam eBook on the Battle for Tra Bong Vietnam: Events and Aftermath
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