While the lithium ion batteries in your phone, tablet, or laptop are more powerful and resilient than batteries from five to 10 years ago, they still have a finite number of recharge cycles available. That said, there are a few tactics to give your battery the longest lifespan possible:
- Keep your operating system updated. These updates may include energy-saving advances. (They also help ensure your device is as secure as possible.)
- Don’t charge while it’s hot. This can cause damage to the battery.
- Consider taking it out of its case. If the case or device feels warm while charging, take your device out.
- Charge it halfway before storing. If you won’t be using your device for days to months, charge it to 50 percent, then power it down. Check in and charge it to 50 percent every six months, or as often as needed to prevent it from going dead. It can cause permanent damage to the battery if you store your device for extended periods with 0 percent or 100 percent charge.
- Enable optimized charging. Newer operating systems are designed to modulate charging, so that you can leave devices plugged in overnight without harming the battery.
- Follow the manual. Each battery system has different needs. Search online and you’ll find conflicting recommendations about if you should charge your battery to full capacity (or not), drain it to zero (or not), and other best practices. As Google puts it: “Charge as much or as little as needed.” Samsung notes that lithium-ion batteries perform best when they’re at least 50 percent charged and leaving your phone plugged in when it’s charged 100 percent can decrease the battery’s lifespan.
Smart tip: Think of a device’s health and the battery’s health separately—that is, if a phone, laptop, or tablet works well and meets your needs, then consider replacing the battery at the end of its lifespan rather than getting a new device.
Don’t forget to shut it down.
Give your technology time to rest by powering it down every once in a while, Dixon says. It’s particularly helpful for devices in constant use. “Powering down a device clears out temporary storage behind the scenes,” Dixon says. Think of it as a mini reset that might alleviate minor problems.
Give items new life.
Eventually, devices may stop working or you may want to upgrade. When that happens, “don't just throw your old device into a drawer,” Dixon says. Instead, look for other ways to use them, or donate or sell them. Many manufacturers, including Apple and Google, will give you a credit towards your next purchase if you trade in your old device. If it’s no longer operational, responsibly recycle it through the manufacturer, a box store recycling program (such as Best Buy), or a nearby e-waste recycling center.