Plugging Your Phone In Overnight: To Charge, Or Not To Charge?

Image courtesy of DanCentury

Anyone who’s ever jolted awake 30 minutes late for work because their phone’s battery died, thus keeping the device’s alarm clock from going off, may have been tempted to keep that thing plugged in all night, ensuring full battery. But is that overnight charge a good idea?

There’s a short answer and long answer to that question, as The New York Times recently explored. If you’re the kind of person who switches phones every two years or so, it probably won’t matter much to your phone’s battery life if you leave it plugged in at night.

Frequent charging can affect how well lithium-ion batteries perform, however, and not because it’s possible to overcharge them: smartphones have chips that keep them from taking in too much electrical current once they’re fully charged, so if you’re using an authorized charger, you should be okay.

But simply charging the battery isn’t so great for it, the NYT explains, citing the chief scientist and chief technical officer of a wireless charging company called Ossia, Hatem Zeine. He says that most phones use a technology that lets their batteries accept more current, faster. Which of course can be a plus for customers who value their time and need their phones juiced up and ready to go in short order. However, that tech leads batteries to corrode faster than they would otherwise, Zeine explains.

“When you charge fast all the time, you limit the life span of the battery,” he says.

If you are the type who wants to stretch that battery life as long as possible, he suggests using a charger meant for a less powerful device — but even that might not work. Making sure your device doesn’t overheat is something else to keep in mind, as high temperatures can rile up the lithium-ion in batteries and wear them out.

All that being said, charging overnight probably isn’t a big issue for many people, considering how many will just replace their devices as soon as they can anyway. Maybe buy yourself a separate alarm clock, too, just in case.

Should You Charge Your Phone Overnight? [The New York Times]

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