Today’s smartphone manufacturers tend to promise lightning-quick charging speeds that juice up empty batteries within a short span of time. Many of these tend to be based on Programmable Power Supply (PPS) and USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) 3.0 standards, but one question remains: does fast charging damage your smartphone battery?
With fast charging, a stream of power is delivered constantly to the handset, followed by a saturation phase that sees the voltage reach its peak value before the current drops. After that, the trickle stage will kick in, with power sent at a far slower rate.
Conventional smartphone chargers feature an output that ranges anywhere from 5 to 10 watts. Those were the days when your empty battery required a good number of hours to achieve a full charge.
Today, there are faster chargers that improve this by up to 12 times! For instance, the Xiaomi 11T Pro, announced last year, supports the 120W HyperCharge standard that fully charges its 5,000mAh battery from 0% in just 30 minutes. Leave it plugged in for 18 minutes and it will be charged to 80% capacity.
Other manufacturers like Samsung offer a 45W charger, while Apple takes the slower route of a 20W charger.
Fast-charging technologies let you juice up your handset as you take your morning shower, offering more than adequate battery life to last the entire day. If you are a power user, just plug the smartphone for half an hour in the middle of your day, and you should receive a power boost that is enough to last you into the night without any issues.
Your phone’s battery capacity plays a role in the charging speed. For example, even if Apple’s iPhones officially max out at 20W in terms of fast charging, they feature a smaller battery capacity; hence, leaving it plugged in for just 30 minutes will yield a 50% charge, which should be adequate for the average Joe in a hurry.
You could opt to plug in a faster charger, but the charge speed would still be capped by the phone’s electrical components.
Here are some tips that can help extend your smartphone’s battery life in the long run:
- Keep it cool
Lithium ion batteries do not like high temperatures. Charge the smartphone without placing it in direct sunlight, near a heat source, or in an enclosed area where there is very little or no airflow, as this would increase heat levels, affecting battery health over time and making it a fire hazard.
If possible, charge your handset without its case. As the battery produces heat while charging, a case would restrict airflow, which could cause damage or degradation over time – not only to the battery itself, but also other internal components. By removing the smartphone from its case while charging, heat can dissipate outside the phone’s chassis.
This being said, ensure the phone is not placed in extremely cold locations, since this could lead to reduction in battery power at a far faster rate and hamper your user experience.
- Hands off
Try not to use your smartphone while it is charging, since the display is one the major power drainers while it is being used. It also increases the battery temperature further as the phone undergoes additional stress.
The long and the short of it
If you fear the possibility of long-term damage to the battery when using a fast charger, rest assured this would not happen unless there is a technical flaw within the battery or charger itself.
The old pattern of overnight charging has been relegated to the past, and there are far more advantages than drawbacks when it comes to fast charging. Imagine being able to boost your battery life over lunch or a meeting, confident it will last you through the rest of the day!
And with most people changing their smartphones every two to three years, the issue of battery degradation due to fast charging is, honestly, a moot point. Charge ahead into the future worry-free and enjoy your smartphone experience.
Edwin Kee dreamt of being a pro-gamer only to have circumstances mould him into a programmer in a past life. He has since moved on to write about consumer electronics and other topics. Check out his blog at manatau.com.