4 Ways to Ruin Your Smartphone’s Battery

4 Ways to Ruin Your Smartphone’s Battery
Phone on fire.

There’s a lot of information out there about how to treat smartphone batteries. We can argue about the best practices, but there are some clearly bad things that can ruin batteries quickly. Let’s make sure you’re avoiding them.

Smartphone batteries get worse over time, it’s inevitable. There are systems in place to slow it down as much as possible, but some things speed up that process and can even skip right to the end of it.

RELATED: Is Charging Your Phone All Night Bad For the Battery?

Using Cheap or Damaged Cables

Closeup of a damaged smartphone charging cable.

One of the worst and most dangerous things you can do is use cheap or incompatible cables with your phone. If you’ve ever heard a story about a phone spontaneously catching fire, it’s usually the fault of the cable.

It’s best to stick with charging accessories from the manufacturer of your phone or trusted brands. Avoid super low-cost accessories that don’t have a lot of reviews. iPhone users can look for the “Made for iPhone” sticker to feel safe. All of this applies to wireless chargers as well.

RELATED: How to Choose a Wireless Charger

Running It Down to Zero

Charging cycles are what impact the lifespan of a battery the most. The constant cycle of charging and discharging slowly degrades the battery’s health. What makes it even worse is when your phone is frequently starting the cycle from 0%.

It’s best to keep your phone charged between 20-80% as much as possible. Some phones have features to help you do this, but they can only do so much. Shorter charge cycles are better for the battery, so try not to let it get below 20% as much.

RELATED: How to Check Battery Health on Android

Keeping it Plugged In

Two phones charging

It goes the opposite direction, too. Keeping your phone plugged in at 100% all the time is just as bad as letting it get to 0%. Charging your phone overnight isn’t necessarily bad, but you shouldn’t charge it more than you need to.

When the battery reaches 100% charge it will protect itself by stopping charging. However, as soon as it drops back down to 99% it will charge back up to 100% again. This small cycle repeats itself over and over and it’s not good for the battery.

The good news is the iPhone and some Android phones now have “Adaptive” or “Optimized” charging features to reduce these charging cycles overnight. They keep the battery at around 80% most of the night and then finish the last 20% around your usual wake-up time.

RELATED: Is Charging Your Phone All Night Bad For the Battery?

Subjecting It to Extreme Heat

Most electronics do not like heat. This is especially true for batteries, including the ones in your phone. Excessive heat can shorten the lifespan of the battery. That’s another reason why it’s not great to keep your phone plugged in all the time.

Heat can come from other sources as well. Playing games that require a lot of resources, leaving your phone in a hot car, or letting it bake in the sun at the beach. All of these things can overheat your phone and damage the battery in the process.

RELATED: What to Do If Your Smartphone Is Hot

The good news is you probably don’t have to worry about ruining your smartphone’s battery. Most of these things are common sense. Stick with name-brand charging accessories, don’t overly exhaust or juice up, and keep the device at a comfortable temperature. You’ll get the best you can out of your battery.

The Best Phone Chargers of 2022

USB C Charger TECKNET 65W PD 3.0 GaN Charger Type C Foldable Adapter with 3-Port Fast Wall Charger Compatible for iPhone 13 Pro Max/13 Pro/13/13 Mini, MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, Switch, Galaxy S21/S20

Apple 20W USB-C Power Adapter

Amazon Basics 100W Four-Port GaN Wall Charger with 2 USB-C Ports (65W + 18W) and 2 USB-A Ports (17W) – White (non-PPS)

Anker Wireless Charger, 313 Wireless Charger (Pad), Qi-Certified 10W Max for iPhone 12/12 Pro/12 mini/12 Pro Max, SE 2020, 11, AirPods (No AC Adapter, Not Compatible with MagSafe Magnetic Charging)

USB C Car Charger 48W Super Mini AINOPE All Metal Fast USB Car Charger Adapter PD&QC 3.0 Dual Port Compatible with iPhone 13 12 11 Pro Max X XR XS 8 Samsung Galaxy Note 20/10 S21/20/10 Google Pixel

Techsmarter 11-Port Charging Station with 100W Five USB-C PD, PPS 25/45W, Five 18W USB-A Ports & 15W Detachable Wireless Charger Pad. Compatible with MacBook, iPad, iPhone, Samsung, Dell, HP, Yoga…