Posted by Dada K. on

 Battery life is  determine not only by time, but by charge/discharge cycles” 

-  A Wise Human

 Like most new things, your shiny phone  was working to your  satisfaction for a  while. No complaints. But now, barely a year after you bought your phone, the battery seems to die rather very quickly. You have optimized your device, removed some apps and went through some of the suggestions in previous blog post, “Getting more out of your battery between charges”, but you still do not see much improvement. At this point, I would be willing to bet that your battery is at the end of its life. It has become a casualty of a life cut too short.

There is nothing you can do about your battery when it reaches end-of-life, except to dole out the cash to replace it (if you have an expensive phone), or buy a new phone altogether. But if you stay with us through this tips session, you will be able to do something about the battery in your new phone, or the new battery in your phone, before you reach this point.

Most smartphones are powered by  Lithium-ion-based battery for a very good reason. They are light, have very high power density (which means compared to other battery types of the same weight, it packs more power), and are relatively stable. These properties  make it the number one choice for consumer electronic  devices, they must however be treated very well if they are to perform their function well.

Note that effectively, battery life is measured by the number of “complete” charges (or discharges) it can withstand before the maximum capacity drops to under a certain percentage (typically, 80%).  Before we proceed, here are some definitions.


Complete discharge (100%)

When a fully charged battery is used until it completely dies.


Partial discharge (!100%)

( FUN #1 – can you read out  what is in the brackets without using the words “exclamation,” or “opposite.” )

When battery (whether fully charged or not) is used but not to the point when it dies.


A complete cycle

You are right if you think  “a complete cycle”  is when a fully charged battery is discharged (used) until it dies, however that is not the only way to define a complete cycle. For a more broader definition, A complete cycle is when the sum of discharges equals to 100%. For example, if I use 30% and 25% on separate times, then between those two times, I have discharged my battery by  55%. Assume  I recharge my battery before it dies and I use 45% of its charger, then between these three times, I have used  30% + 25% + 45% = 100% . This is one complete cycle.

The life-time of lithium-ion batteries generally ranges from 200 to 300 cycles depending on battery quality.


Lithium Battery Limitation 

In order not to bore you with a long list of instructions, we will actually make it short and fun. We are  going to look at the do’s and don’ts Batteries (though we are not going list them under a big bright heading of “DOs” and “DON’Ts).

 (FUN #2, From the list below, you figure out which is which. Is it a “DO” or a “DON’T”?)

Note: Besides the number of discharge cycles, the life of a battery is also affected by the cumulative effect of all the other types of stress  it experiences, and some additional factors. We will look at some of the common ones.


1. Extreme temperatures phone conversation              Heat speeds up different chemical reactions you don’t want in your battery, and wears it out’ much quicker than you would like.
2. Shelf life – Though not as much as discharge cycles do, storing a battery without using it still causes a gradual reduction in its capacity over time.
3. Overcharging – Only use the power adaptor that came with the phone because other chargers may not be able to detect when the battery is fully charge and therefore will keep charging it. That is bad.                                     
4. Storage – If you will be storing the phone for some time without using it, avoid storing it in an environment that heats up excessively. Typically, room temperature is good enough but it is best to follow the manufacturer’s advice on how to store your phone/battery.
6. Puncturing - Smartphone batteries typically have a soft shell and could be easily punctured if phone is put under high pressure, battery is tampered with, or stored in extreme temperatures.                                                           
7. Water – Avoid  using your phone  in a situation where  it could get wet, water unless phone is IP67/68 certified. It will tell you in the user manual if it supports it.                                                                                                         
8. Overuse – The less you use your phone, the less you will need to recharge. The less you recharge, the lower the number of cycles you put on your battery, and therefore it will lasts longer for you.       
9. Full charge/discharge - Per the 20-80 rule, it is best to keep your battery charge-level between 20% and 80%. Letting your phone die before charging it, and also charging it to 100% puts unnecessary stress on your battery and could shorten it’s life.It is a matter of choosing between having a full charge for the day or a longer battery life. Just like everything in life, you just can’t have it all. 
10. Short Circuit – Check the power port and the power connecter regularly and remove any foreign objects you may find. Foreign objects can cause short circuit that could damage the battery, the  phone or the charger.


  1. Fast charging -

    Fast charger are for phones designed to support fast charging. Using fast charger on a phone not designed for  fast-charging could shorten the life of  the battery.
  2. Continuous improvement - Update your phone to the latest OS version  available to you. There are always ongoing improvement that  may help reduce your battery consumption.
  3. Don’t charge your phone for longer than needed. It is better to unplug when charging is complete. Phone tends to warm up when plugged in.
  4. Read HOW TO MAKE YOUR BATTERY LAST LONGER BETWEEN CHARGES. It could help you reduce power consumption and consequently, battery life.

If you are able to follow the above tips, you will  help extend the lifetime of your battery.

Don't hesitate to ask questions or post your comments.

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