Apr 21, 2014

Does leaving an iPhone constantly charging harm the battery?

We have an old iPhone 3GS we leave at our vacation cottage, which has internet but no phone. The iPhone serves as a VoIP phone when we are there, so it sits plugged into the charger for weeks or even months at a time. Will this cause overcharging or harm the battery? Not only do we need it to work, I don’t want to introduce a risk of fire from an overheating battery.

How To Take Care of Your Smartphone Battery the Right Way

"Your smartphone is a minor miracle, a pocket-sized computer that can fulfill almost every whim. But none of its superpowers matter a bit if it runs out of juice. With removable batteries becoming more and more rare, you've got to take good care of the one you got. Fortunately, it's not to hard keep the lithium-ion powering your everything machine happy if you follow a few simple rules.

Obviously, the first rule for extending your battery life is not using up all your battery life playing candy crush and walking around with Wi-Fi and GPS enabled when you're not using either and really, really need your phone to last that extra hour. But aside from that, there are some basic rules for care and charging, and they're the simplest baseline for a healthy battery."

It shouldn’t, although battery life might not be as long as if you had used it with normal partial discharge cycles. Modern chargers don’t overcharge, they shut off or reduce charging to a trickle. usually just short of a full charge. I can’t think of where I read it, but I remember seeing that most if not all smartphones actually fudge the indicated charge slightly because they are bouncing around from 100%-95% or so while on the charger, and people get OCD about it and think something is wrong with their device. It’s easier to just call it 100% charged at 59-100%. 


If you want to read more about lithium-ion batteries, the type of rechargable used in most portable devices these days, you can find more info at Battery University (no, I didn’t make that up).

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