Having your phone die while you’re out and about is inconvenient, and a laptop that barely runs unless it’s plugged in is just an obnoxious substitute for a desktop computer.
These problems are quite common and may even seem inevitable. But being proactive can make the lithium-ion batteries powering our devices last much longer — maybe even until you’re ready for an upgrade. A smartphone battery, for instance, should work at optimal capacity for two to three years, according to Wired.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of outdated information and myths circulating about batteries. Here are some simple ways to prolong your battery life, according to experts:
- Avoid extreme temperatures. Extreme cold can temporarily shorten battery life while extreme heat — above 95 degrees Fahrenheit — can permanently shorten it, according to Apple. (Keep in mind a device left in the car can heat up quickly.) Try not to use, charge or store your device in these conditions.
- 20 is the new 0. Letting your battery run down completely can reduce its life, according to Samsung. Try to always keep it above a 20% charge.
- Half-charged is best if you’re not using the device regularly. Storing a fully charged or drained battery could cause permanent damage. If you only use a laptop for infrequent travel, take the time to plug it in once in a while.
- Turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS if you’re not using them. Wi-Fi is more energy efficient than using your phone’s data plan with poor reception but a waste when you’re not using internet at all. Ditto for other things that constantly check your signal in the background.
- Use official chargers. Third-party chargers might be cheaper, but in the long run you may be trading a few bucks for reduced battery life. Off-brand chargers aren’t necessarily designed to the same standards as the real deal, and can cause permanent damage if they are delivering too much current to a battery.
This level of care might seem like overkill to some, but if you’ve ever been frustrated with how long your electronics hold a charge, it could be worth the effort.
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