Half charges avail us longer battery life on our phones

Like just about everyone else I know, I have a cell phone. I've had a cell phone since, I think, 2001. I actually can't remember the exact date or the year that I got my first cell phone, but 2001 seems about right. My first phone was a Nokia, I remember that. I also know I had one since the time that ATT was caught up in a fiasco where they could not migrate phone numbers from another carrier to their service.

Since that time, I've always been diligent about charging my phone. I kept tabs on it, making sure to never run out of charge so that I might not be stranded with a dead phone. I think that I've been without a land line since I got my first cell phone, too. As I look back now, I can see how the cell phone has evolved and become a fixture in my life. And as I write this, I'm starting to flash on how I have used chargers to keep my phones alive.

Long ago, I read some interesting posts in a forum about how best to charge my phone. I had learned, erroneously, that it was good to keep a phone fully charged. As I went through one phone after another for more memory and processing power, I became more and more vigilant about keeping my phone charged.

I recently purchased a new phone as my old phone was not able to hold a charge, even with a new battery. I became suspicious that some nefarious application was mining cryptocurrency on my phone. I even installed an application dedicated to monitoring the battery usage and time remaining on the phone given available power.

So I worked with my wife to get a new phone. I wasn't interested in getting the latest and the greatest, but I wanted something better than I had, which was a Samsung Galaxy Note 5. I bought it for the giant screen, but hardly ever used the stylus that came with it. I had been so diligent about keeping it hooked up to a charger, that I think I damaged the phone. Now I have a Samsung Galaxy S8, and I'm here to tell you how my philosophy about charging my phone has changed.

My wife received the phone upon arrival and charged it for the first time to 100%. From there, I proceeded to transfer the SIM card from my old phone to the new phone. Then I used Samsung's excellent backup system to restore all of my apps from my old phone to the new phone to test my theory about a crypto mining app.

After a couple of weeks, I can say that the phone has performed well beyond my expectations. I don't think there is any crypto mining app on my phone as it is often cool to the touch. My phone seems to go into deep sleep often, but it can still receive calls.

One of the apps that made the journey to my new phone is AccuBattery, which you can find here. It's a very slick, polished and informative battery monitor. I installed it long ago to monitor the battery on my old phone. Now I'm using it to monitor my new phone and it is completely changing my perspective on how to manage power on my phone.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with a feature called, "Fast Charging", which means I won't have to wait long to fill up if I want to. But from what I've learned from AccuBattery, topping off wears out the battery much faster than not topping off. AccuBattery recommends charging up to 80% capacity to limit the amount of wear on the battery. And by not charging up to 100% every time, I am extending the life of the battery in my phone.

If that saves me from going to the shop to get a new battery installed even once during the life of this phone, the app has paid for itself. It's free, but I'm so enthused with AccuBattery, I bought the Pro version so that the developers can buy some coffee. I paid $2.99 for it and it is well worth it.

I discovered later that there is a bonus: the software license is for the account, not the device. So any device that I use with my gmail account as a primary account is included. That means I can easily transfer it to the next phone I buy and I can monitor multiple devices without the ads.

The reason why this app is worth the money goes beyond all the useful and very interesting information I get from it (and the generous licensing terms). Yes, I can learn the design capacity of the battery, and then compare that with the measured capacity. That gives me a sense of the wear on the battery. AccuBattery also tells me how much wear is incurred by charging it to 80%, the recommended maximum charging level.

But here's the kicker and here is where my perspective changes. AccuBattery shows me that on my phone, if I charge to say, 40%, I still get around 25 hours of standby time on the phone. Which means I'm still going to have a couple hours of talk time on the phone, and I'm not even that chatty. I can get up to 40% in about 10-15 minutes. Now I'm not even charging to 80% much anymore. I'm fine on a 40-60% charge. I know, sounds compulsive, right?

I think this is better than keeping my phone connected to a charger as often as I can, all the time. My new phone performs very well even when I'm using Bluetooth to play music in my car. It's just sipping power all day and doesn't really even dig into power until I use it to talk to someone.

The new phone and AccuBattery have, together, been sort of liberating. I'm not always looking for a place to charge it anymore. I'm not thinking about the battery power so much now that I'm learning new, much more relaxed metrics to manage the power state of my phone.

AccuBattery also tells me how much time it will take to reach 80% charge, which is usually less than an hour. Knowing how much time it takes to get to the max charge allows me to measure the time spent charging and limit battery wear. So now I just plan on charging for 15-30 minutes at a time. And that allows me to play a long game with battery life.

Write on.

slogan by @tecnosgirl
Slogan by @tecnosgirl

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A short but growing list of people I admire, who have helped me, and/or influenced me, my thinking and/or my posts:


I have been experimenting with that too. I've been trying to keep my battery in between 40% and 80% and it appears it really makes a difference!

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