We pride on paying meticulous attention to design, but we also strongly focus on learning how to best optimize battery life with effective charging techniques.
Starting with Apple’s best definition of maximizing battery, “Battery life is the amount of time your device runs before it needs to be recharged. “Battery lifespan” is the amount of time your battery lasts until it needs to be replaced. Maximize both and you’ll get the most out of your Apple devices, no matter which ones you own.”, we’ve worked endlessly creating optimized portable batteries and phone chargers to align with their philosophy.
Unfortunately, we still receive startling phone charging questions like:
“Why aren’t you making chargers that can fully charge phones in minutes?”
“What’s wrong with charging our phones when it reaches close to 0%?”
“Why should I spend so much on chargeable batteries when there are MUCH cheaper options out there?”
“Why does it matter if I leave my phone in the car?
It’s time we expose the misleading products and false phone charging tips and deliver the truth
Here are the products and tips to AVOID in order to preserve battery life.
The Truth About Miracle Chargers
Before we get into miracle chargers, let’s discuss in layman terms how a battery charger works. When plugging your phone to the charger, a certain amount of power flows from the outlet, to the charger, and finally to your phone’s battery. Your phone also includes a built-in regulator that prevents too much power pumped into the battery ultimately damaging it. In essence, the internal regulator dictates how fast your phone can be charged. But really, this is only concerning when power flowing to the charger exceeds what the internal regulators on your phone will allow. But not all chargers are alike.
As stated from Extremetech, “not all chargers are created equal”. The charger that came with your device is probably the most optimally suited for the device you bought. However, if you’re charging through a USB cable, your device might charge slower because it’s not shelling enough power. For instance, the Apple’s iPad charger puts out 2.1 amps at 5V whereas your everyday USB port will charge at 0.5 amps. If your phone can handle anything above 0.5 amps (which it probably can), you will notice that the USB port will charge a lot more slowly than the charger that came with your device. Even without the popular “miracle chargers”, you will notice that the USB port will charge a lot more slowly than the charger that came with your device.
Then along came Miracle chargers that often throw seductive facts like “Charge from 0% to 100% in a matter of seconds!” When using a quick charge, all it’s doing is forcing more power through your charger! And as we’ve mentioned, the regulators only allow so much at a time. However, some miracle chargers can still deliver more energy without damaging the battery, but there are still plenty of downsides.
Here’s how this can harm your battery:
- Miracle chargers can generate more heat. The more power forced through a device, the more stress it puts on a battery and the more heat it generates leading a shorter life-span.
- Energy quickness diminishes about halfway through because of the regulator. The regulator needs new cells to place power into and not overcharge the existing cells; thereby stalling the process
- Miracle chargers won’t function if your phone does not support it. The regulator once again will prevent it in caution of battery overload.
Here’s what we suggest:
We know batteries today simply cannot sustain the amount of activity we do on our devices. So instead of being stuck to a wall with one charger for an extra 15 minutes, you can take an external battery with you that can charge your phone multiple times.
We built the first AC outlet you can take anywhere, anytime that finally delivers a peace a mind to “low battery anxiety”.
Portable power banks are a lifesaver and are one of the best phone accessories to invest in. Whether you’re a traveling and or on an epic adventure, we all know the struggle of having your battery dying. Even after a few hours of texting, Snapping, and navigating, your phone’s battery will deplete to a very low percentage with no outlet in sight. This won’t happen if you were well equipped with a portable power outlet.
Why Knock-offs are Hazardous
You’d be amazed how many people still buy knock offs today. We get that it hurts to pay $20 for an Apple charger compared to $2 knock-off, but did you know they can catch on fire? Lifehacker has even conducted an experiment where they compared both a knock-off and third party charger against each other with the end result showing that knock-off barely even worked!
Apple has also started a program to replace all counterfeit chargers, and has filed a lawsuit revealing that the majority of chargers and cables on Amazon were fooling customers by proclaiming that they’re “authentic goods”. The end result now leads Amazon to aggressively pursue counterfeit products.
Ken Shirriff described on his blog in detail of his comparisons between an authentic to counterfeit iPad charger. We all are aware that Apple sells its chargers $19, but it’s surprising that a fake can cost less than $3! However, once opened, it’s obvious to see the notable differences. One of the easiest detection is spotting all familiar certifications, which almost none of the counterfeits have. It’s quite shocking how these products manage to pass safety testing!
The counterfeit charger turns out to have only half the power of a genuine charger. (Why it takes forever to charge.) It’s also a lot emptier, missing most of its insulation. (Why it can shoot sparks at you and set your house on fire.)
The bottom line is counterfeits are cheap because they’re made to be cheap. Here’s also why they can be dangerous.
Why They Are Dangerous:
- They Cut Corners at the worst places! Lacking insulation tapes, protective cases, and overall poorly design, it’s not surprising that it can leak electricity so much so you can literally feel the current virbrating in your hand.
- It may literally destroy your phone. Because of the leaking electricity, it’s no secret when it comesto the erratic nature fake chargers. The overflowing unstable current can not only fry your battery but may also destroy the overall processor of the phone!
- Even Fake Lightning Cables Are Useless. Every Lightning connector has a built in chip for authentication, and when your iphone doesn’t recognize the chip, it will immediately prompt a notification saying that “this accessory is not compatible.” In other words, fake lightning cables are useless and won’t even begin to charge the device!
What We Suggest:
Learn How to Spot a Knock-Off Charger!
The easiest way to detect a knock off Apple charger is to find the engraved“Designed in California” on the back. There’s also product codes and other security verification protocols to follow. But the biggest, most painfully obvious is the cheap price tag. Keep in mind that authentic chargers range from $20-$30 otherwise, don’t even bother.
If you need more information, check out Ken Shirrif’s breakdown on how he spots the difference between authentic and counterfeit chargers
#1 False Phone Charging Tip – Charging When Completely Dead
First, it’s important to recognize how a Li-Ion battery charges and discharges.
When describing the functionality of lithium-ion batteries, the key element is the movement of lithium ions. For example, when absorbing power, ions move one way when the battery charges, and will move the opposite direction when the battery discharges aka supplying power.
Here’s how explainthatstuff explains it in 4 steps:
- When charging, lithium ions flow from the positive electrode to the negative electrode through the electrolyte. Electrons also flow from the positive electrode to the negative electrode, but take the longer path around the outer circuit. The electrons and ions combine at the negative electrode and deposit lithium there.
- When no more ions will flow, the battery is fully charged and ready to use.
- During discharging, the ions flow back through the electrolyte from the negative electrode to the positive electrode. Electrons flow from the negative electrode to the positive electrode through the outer circuit, powering your laptop. When the ions and electrons combine at the positive electrode, lithium is deposited there.
- When all the ions have moved back, the battery is fully discharged and needs charging up again.With this understanding, it’s also important recognize that Lithium-ion batteries do not need to be fully charged. One Thing to AVOID: Never Turning Off Your DeviceThough your phone is a machine, it’s not invincible, and will require a few shutdowns. An Apple Genius once said that “in order to maximize battery life, you should turn off your phone from time to time, especially when you go to bed at night.” Remember Your battery has a finite number of charge cycles, and every time you decide to charge it when fully drain, it will slowly diminish the lifespan of the batteryWhat We Suggest:If you want to preserve your phone long term: there are two key elements to consider that will impact the lifespan of your phone’s battery: extreme temperatures and charging at a certain percentage and preserve the battery’s cycle stage.Here’s Apple’s Recommendation:
- Do not fully charge or fully discharge your device’s battery — charge it to around 50%. If you store a device when its battery is fully discharged, the battery could fall into a deep discharge state, which renders it incapable of holding a charge. Conversely, if you store it fully charged for an extended period of time, the battery may lose some capacity, leading to shorter battery life.
- Power down the device to avoid additional battery use.
- Place your device in a cool, moisture-free environment that’s less than 90° F (32° C).
- If you plan to store your device for longer than six months, charge it to 50% every six months.
Depending on how long you store your device, it may be in a low-battery state when you remove it from long-term storage. After it’s removed from storage, it may require 20 minutes of charging with the original adapter before you can use it.
Charging under EXTREME Weather
Why never to Charge under Extreme Weather
This one isn’t a stranger, but how often do we leave our devices inside a hot car or by the sun? Pretty often. In fact, we bet it’s probably the single most common form of torture to our devices.
Here are four places to NEVER place your phone:
- The glove compartment.This normally would be okay in tamer weathers, but in hotter places, it will slowly fry your battery. If you live in extremely hot weather conditions, the best place to would be to store your phone would be the trunk. If you live in extremely colder weather, it’s likely that the cold temperatures will cause your phone to contract, especially around 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In your pocket when using battery draining-apps. Normally it’s common place to place your phone on the side pockets, but when using energy hungry apps such as GPS, radio, or even while you’re on the phone – it’s normal for your phone to slightly get hot. However, if your phone gets so hot that it’s powering down, shut it down. This means that you may have a faulty battery, and should be replaced sooner rather than later. A good note to follow is that when your battery runs hot, it will quickly drain your battery, which is never a pleasant surprise.
- Your beach towel.Heat is the #1 worst enemy to lithium-ion batteries and will degrade its lifespan exponentially even when idle. Meaning that the sun can fry your phone’s battery just as it can burn your own skin. Leaving it exposed on a beach towel in the sun may seem innocuous, but it will encounter heating problems that will affect its lifespan. Rather than leaving it exposed, place it in a your handbag/beach bag, or even between a book – anything that will give it shade.
- Next to the stove. This one appears obvious, but nowadays it’s more commonplace to watch/listen on your phone while cooking or cleaning. We often forget how much hotter the area your cooking is sometimes even over 90 degrees! We understand that your phone should be in reach at all times, but we urge you to find a better location (say a cabinet) when you’re cooking. Or go cold-turkey and make the exception to not use your device.
What We Suggest:
If at any moment your phone starts to heat up – here’s what we recommend to mitigate any further damages:
- Shut off ALL battery-draining apps. As we’ve mentioned in our previous article, apps are be the biggest energy eaters. Take for instance GPS, it ALWAYS requires data to tell the user where a location is, how far is the destination, the best routes, and of course its re-rerouting command. That’s a lot for one app to process – imagine having 10 apps doing that all at once? That will certainly generate plenty of heat which can be mitigated if you simply turn them off.
- When in doubt – Airplane mode: Sometimes, you’re just not certain why your phone is warm and just gets out of hand and starts eating away at your battery. Or, sometimes, you’re not even sure how many apps have you allowed to give your location to. The solution – airplane mode. It will shut off your data and every app function on your phone until you choose to turn it off.
- If your phone is warm, don’t just let it be: If your phone is warming up take action immediately! It’s may not seem incredibly alarming so it is a very subjective choice, but if you’re in a very hot environment it’s best to place your device in the coolest places as possible. Some of which include, the fan, in the darkest shades of the room air-conditioner, and if it’s mandatory – the fridge.
- Sometimes it’s the case: Sometimes it’s the plastic/metal case that causes our phone to overheat. Unfortunately, the job of a case is to protect your phone, not maintain its temperature. If you experience abnormal temperatures, try taking the case off first. Some insulate heat especially when plenty of apps are in use.
Here’s Apple’s suggestion on temperature:
Avoid extreme ambient temperatures.
Your device is designed to perform well in a wide range of ambient temperatures, with 62° to 72° F (16° to 22° C) as the ideal comfort zone. It’s especially important to avoid exposing your device to ambient temperatures higher than 95° F (35° C), which can permanently damage battery capacity. That is, your battery won’t power your device as long on a given charge. Charging the device in high ambient temperatures can damage it further. Even storing a battery in a hot environmencxcdst can damage it irreversibly. When using your device in a very cold environment, you may notice a decrease in battery life, but this condition is temporary. Once the battery’s temperature returns to its normal operating range, its performance will return to normal as well.
It’s easy to overlook how to take care of our batteries, but as long as you don’t do any of these steps – you’ll be in good shape.