We’ve all done it: Just before bed, you plug your smartphone into its charger so that it can get a full charge while you sleep through the night. The idea is to wake for the day with 100 percent charge on your smartphone’s battery. But then you heard that charging your phone overnight damages the battery and eats away at its capacity over time, so you turn to Google for answers.
So before we get into this overnight charging myth, we’ll give you the short answer first. Yes, you can leave your phone plugged in overnight. This wasn’t always the case, though, so be sure to read on to find out the truth behind this old advice.
Lithium versus nickel
You’re probably aware that the majority of today’s tech runs on lithium ion batteries. Years ago, batteries were primarily made of nickel like the Duracell and Energizer batteries you buy in stores. Nickel-based batteries exhibited a tendency to have a cyclic memory. If they weren’t given full charges in between cycles, they might “forget” their full capacity and remember the point to which they were last charged as being the maximum capacity. Many of us have never used nickel-based batteries in our mobile devices since the transition to lithium ion had occurred by the early 2000s.
Fortunately, lithium-based batteries didn’t suffer from the memory phenomenon often exhibited by the nickel batteries. Lithium batteries played a major part in the mobile phone revolution. For one thing, they’re able to hold a lot of power while remaining fairly compact, which allowed mobile phones to become increasingly small and thin. Also, lithium batteries have a much better lifespan and recharge fairly quickly. The one caveat is temperature sensitivity.
Heat: The Silent (Battery) Killer
Now we get to the most significant threat to your lithium-ion or lithium-polymer battery, which is heat. Granted, batteries dislike the cold just about as much as they dislike the heat, but the latter is more relevant when it comes to leaving your device plugged into its charger overnight.
Thus, we get to the answer of our main question: Should we leave our smartphones plugged in overnight? The answer to this question is a resounding sure, why not?
As we discussed above, the main danger in leaving your smartphone plugged in overnight was allowing the battery of your device to get hot and remain hot through the rest of the night. However, our mobile devices have gotten much smarter. They can stop charging when the battery has reached its full capacity and begin using the connected charger as its primary power source, allowing you to wake up to a fully-charged battery while your phone remains powered on through the night. It’s a pretty sweet deal.
The battery is one of a smartphone’s most important components; after all, a smartphone with a dead battery is little more than a paperweight. So it goes without saying that we surely don’t want to do anything that would damage our batteries and make them less efficient. Although there are some who still believe it’s a bad idea to leave your phone plugged in overnight, all signs point to overnight charging being a completely valid way to make sure you start your day with a full charge on your smartphone.