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If You're Charging Your iPhone Like This, Apple Says Stop Immediately

Doing this to your phone's battery can affect its lifespan.

There's nothing more anxiety-inducing than picking up your phone only to realize that your battery is running low. And while no one likes to get caught off guard, keeping your phone too juiced up might be doing more damage in the long run. According to Apple, charging your iPhone overnight or for long periods of time can actually be bad for it, USA Today reports. Read on to learn more on the best ways to maintain your mobile device, and for more on specific products you should avoid, check out If You're Using This to Charge Your Phone, Officials Say Stop Now.

Keeping your iPhone's battery too full can damage it.

A young woman sleeping next to a smartphone charging on the nightstand

The reason to hold off on charging your iPhone too much has to do with its lithium-ion battery. No matter how you care for your device, the portable power supply will chemically erode over time—as known all too well by anyone who owns a years-old smartphone that can't seem to hold its charge.

But Apple says how you treat your battery can wear it down much faster, with the manufacturer warning that when your iPhone "remain(s) at full charge for prolonged periods of time, battery health can be affected." This means that your phone's battery can expect to have a shorter lifespan the more time it spends close to 100 percent. And for one product Apple is nixing, check out Apple Just Announced It's Discontinuing This Classic Product.

Software can help protect your device—but it's not perfect.

black contact phone charger on wooden desk next to person working on laptop
Shutterstock/New Africa

Fortunately, Apple has developed a software solution to make sure you're not inadvertently destroying your device. Any phone running iOS 13 or later includes a function known as Optimized Battery Charging, which works by analyzing how often you charge and begins to control the speed of the process once it hits 80 percent.

But even with these protective measures in place, leaving your phone plugged in overnight can still slowly chip away at your battery health. Although your phone stops charging at 100 percent, the small charges that continue when it dips to 99 percent while you sleep will still affect its lifespan in the long run, USA Today reports. If you do plan on plugging your phone in at bedtime, they suggest unplugging it if you wake up and notice that the battery is full. And for more tips and tricks, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Letting your battery get close to zero percent is just as bad.

ways you're ruining your cell phone

While filling your phone up with too much charge can damage it, the only thing that may be worse is depleting its charge entirely. "Running a smartphone until it's dead—a full discharge—every time is not the way to go with modern lithium-ion batteries," Eric Griffith, features editor for PC Magazine, recently wrote. "Don't even let it get that close to zero percent. That wears out a lithium-ion battery even faster than normal." And for more phone tips, check out If You Have This Popular App On Your Phone, Delete It Now.

Topping up your phone battery throughout the day may help prolong its life.

Smartphone charging with power bank on wood board table
Bohbeh / Shutterstock

If you're concerned about preserving your battery for the long haul, one expert says the best approach is making sure your phone is always just above half charged—which might actually help improve it overall. "According to research we have seen, battery lifetime actually increases by 4x when the depth of discharge—or amount that the battery is drained—is limited to 50 percent, rather than 100 percent," Menno Treffers, founder and chairman of the Wireless Power Consortium, told The New York Times.

"In other words, by continually topping up the phone battery during the day … and not letting your phone battery dip below 50 percent, you will actually increase the life span of your battery," he says. And for more on where you won't be able to pick up your electronics anymore, check out This Beloved Chain Is Closing All Its Stores.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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