Your mobile phones, tablets and laptops have rechargable Lithim Ion batteries that lose capacity as they age but with good care, the batteries may last for 2 to 3 years or even longer. What can you do to increase the overall lifespan of your gadget’s battery? Should you keep your mobile devices charged or wait for the charge to drop to 0% before charging them again?

Phone Battery

I recently scanned the websites of consumer electronics companies, including HP, Asus, AppleDell and also Battery University – for their recommendations on how to maximize the battery life and here’s a quick summary of what I learned:

1. Avoid deep discharge meaning you should not continue using the device until the battery drains down to 10% or below. The optimal charge level for Li-Ion batteries is suggested between 40% and 70% and, if possible, charge your device in short bursts multiple times a day.

2. If you are not planning to use a gadget for long periods, like more than a month, charge them to around 50% before storing. If the device is fully charged, discharge to the half-way mark, power-down the device and store in a cool dry place.

3. You should never store a device that is either fully charged or completely discharged for extended periods as both these states would result in loss of battery capacity. If you are leaving your mobile device in the closet unused for longer than six months, charge it to 50% every six months to maintain battery health and also reduce the aging effect.

4. Do not leave your gadgets in the car on a hot afternoon as prolonged exposure to temperatures higher than 35°C can permanently damage the capacity of your mobile phone’s battery.

5. It is OK to leave your mobile phone plugged in at night for charging but the mobile case could be an issue. The heat generated during the charging needs an exit vent and if the design of your mobile case doesn’t allow that, it maybe a good idea to remove the case before plugging-in the charger.

That said, these tips will mostly benefit people who do not upgrade their gadgets frequently. For others, don’t sweat too much as you’ll probably replace the phone even before the battery starts to degrade.

And while we are on the topic of batteries, watch this TED video that explains how batteries work and why even the best batteries will slowly lose capacity and eventually die.