Billions of people own smartphones, which means billions of people regularly charge their devices’ batteries. Despite this being such a routine task, there are many misconceptions concerning it. To help sort fact from fiction, here are five common battery-charging myths debunked:

1. Overcharging Your Battery Will Damage It

A common myth is that leaving your smartphone plugged in once the battery has fully charged will hurt the battery, or worse yet, damage the device’s hardware. This is not true. Chargers will stop or significantly limit the power flow to the battery once it reaches full capacity.

2. It Is Best to Fully Drain Your Battery Every Time You Recharge It

The idea that a smartphone battery should be fully drained before it is recharged to maximize battery life is a holdover from the days when nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries were used in cell phones, laptops, and other electronics. This type of battery suffers from what is known as the “memory effect”. It gradually loses its maximum energy capacity when it is repeatedly recharged after being only partially discharged. The loss occurs because the battery “remembers” the smaller capacity.

The lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones today do not suffer from the memory effect, so you can recharge your device whenever it is convenient for you. You should, though, periodically drain your battery to recalibrate the device’s battery-power meter.

3. Only Use Chargers and Cables from Your Device Manufacturer

When it comes to smartphone chargers and cables, you should not believe everything you read. If you look at your user guide, you will likely see a statement that says you need to use chargers or cables either made or approved by your device’s manufacturer. Statements like this are mainly intended to drive sales rather than protect your smartphone. Third-party chargers and cables from reputable vendors (e.g., Anker, Belkin) will work fine as long as they are compatible with your phone’s make and model. However, you should avoid knockoffs that you might find at flea markets or bargain stores.

4. Using Your Device While It Is Charging is Dangerous

Every so often a story makes the rounds about how someone was burned or electrocuted when they used a smartphone while it was being charged. Stories like this are urban legends. While problems could potentially occur if a battery, charger, or phone is defective, using a device while it is charging is not dangerous under normal circumstances.

A common misconception is that public charging ports are safe to use. While your smartphone will be out of harm’s way if you plug your charger’s AC adapter into a charging station that has electrical outlets, the same cannot be said if you:

  • Plug your phone’s charging cable into a charging station’s USB port
  • Plug a charging station’s charging cable into your phone

Most smartphones use the same port for charging the phone and transferring data. Thus, charging a phone through this port can open up vulnerabilities, one of which is juice jacking. In this type of cyberattack, malware is installed onto, or data is stolen from, a device using a charging port that doubles as a data connection (typically a USB connection).

If you do not want to give up the convenience of using public charging ports, there are measures you can take to protect your smartphone. You can, for example, use power-only USB cables. For more suggestions, contact us.