The Smartphone Battery: FAQs, Maintenance Tips and Tricks

The smartphone battery

The rapid proliferation on internet connectivity and internet powered devices in Kenya has allowed many of us to own Smartphones.  These smartphones have helped simplify almost all aspects of our lives by letting people access the internet- a basic commodity in many Kenyan household. Everyone – even children under age 5-has basic knowledge when it comes to operating smartphones. However, many people are still unaware of proper smartphone battery maintenance practices.

Can you damage a smartphone battery by charging it too often, or for too long? Why is my phones power retention capability been deteriorating ever since I bought the phone? Why is it that my phone’s battery seems to get worse over time? Why does my phone’s charge go down immediately I turn my data on? Is fast-charging a hoax?

A myriad of questions regarding the smartphone battery are replete on the internet, especially on websites like Quora and Reddit. Many people are growing increasingly concerned about their smartphones well-being. This is because tech firms are coming up with high-end flagship smartphones that are retailing at very high prices. Many users cannot even bear the thought of having to replace their accessories- because their spare parts are equally as expensive, and are opting for better maintenance practices for their smartphones.

So, you sacrificed on life’s little pleasures, saved up and bought the new sleek Samsung S10 at a price guaranteed to make your peers at the upcountry gasp. On the first several weeks, the smartphone has power to spare as you snuggle into bed at the end of the night, but as time goes on you find your battery is just half-full by lunchtime. Then buyers remorse kicks in, you start questioning the phones authenticity, wondering if you were duped. But why?

The smartphone battery can lose its viability to keep charge because of a number of things. One common reason is that phone batteries do degrade over time, which means they are increasingly incapable of holding the same amount of power. While a typical smartphone battery should have a lifespan of between three- and five years, or between 500- and 1000 charging cycles, a five-year-old phone battery is never going to keep going as long as a brand-new battery.

The other reason is how you use your phone -the apps you install, the junk you collect, the customization’s you make, and the more and more notifications you receive – puts more strain on the battery. However, armed with these tips for best smartphone battery care practice, you can maintain your smartphone battery health much longer.

When you should charge your Phone

The most important rule for smartphone charging is to keep your battery topped up somewhere between 50- and 90% most of the time. So when the charge drops below 50%, top it up but unplug it before it hits 100%. This is why you might want to reconsider leaving it plugged in overnight.

Giving your phone a full recharge is not detrimental to the smartphone battery, and it seems almost counter-intuitive not to do so, but giving it a full recharge every time you charge it will shorten its lifespan. Likewise, at the other end of the scale, avoid allowing your phone battery to get below 20%.

Don’t charge your Phone to 100%

Your phone doesn’t need to charge up to 100% when you plug it in or at least not every time you charge it. Experts recommend that you do a full zero to 100 percent battery recharge (a “charge cycle”) once a month. This recalibrates the battery, which is a bit like restarting your computer.

Charge with smartphone chargers approved by your phone’s manufacturer.

Whenever you need to charge, where possible use the charger that came with your phone, as it is sure to have the correct rating. You may also use third-party charger so long as they are approved by the phone’s manufacturer. Cheap alternatives from Amazon or eBay may harm your phone. There have been several reported cases of cheap chargers actually catching on fire.

Overnight charging

You can charge your smartphone overnight, however not as a daily practice, since you want to avoid charging them to 100% too often, and won’t want to have to keep one eye open for when that time is near. Luckily, most modern smartphones are clever enough to stop charging when full, so there isn’t a huge risk in leaving your phone charging overnight. If you are leaving it plugged in for a long period of time, consider removing the back case as it can prevent it from over-heating.


Most new smartphones support fast-charging, yet often come with a lower-specced charger in the box. The most common fast-charging standard is Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, but phone makers often have their own alternative. These phones have special code usually located in a chip known as the Power Management IC (PMIC) that communicates with the charger you are using and requests that it send power at a higher voltage.

Fast-charging itself may not harm your smartphone battery because it is built to support it, however the heat generated from that charging could affect its lifespan. Prolonged and regular fast-charging might mean the battery doesn’t last quite as long as it would, were you to use a slower charger. So, you have to balance the advantages of faster charging with the convenience of quickly topping up your phone before you consider it.

Storing Smartphone battery storage

Don’t leave a lithium battery lying around too long at 0% – if you’re not using it for a while, leave it with around 50% charge. You’ll find the battery will drain between 5- and 10% each month, and if you let it discharge completely it might become incapable of holding a charge at all.



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