The Proper Way to Charge Your Smartphone

There is no way around it; smartphones and other battery-powered devices have taken over our lives. Almost everything we do from answering phone calls to getting directions often involve a battery-powered electronic device. Unfortunately, most such devices do not appear to be equipped with batteries capable of making it through an average day, let alone the 10-12 hour shift many in law enforcement work. For many of us this means we have become slaves to our electrical cables, tethered to an outlet for fear of missing some important message. But this may actually be a product of our own misguided attempts to get more power; we may have been going about it the wrong way.

Remember when you got your first cellphone? Remember how battery life always seemed to be a problem? You were probably told to let the battery run down as low as possible and then charge or to keep the phone plugged in until needed to help ensure the battery was at maximum power when you needed it. Turns out both of these approaches may be contributing to a shorter battery life.

Reduced Memory

SmartphoneI don’t know if it is the electronic version of an old wives’ tale or rooted in reality, but I remember being told that charging your phone when it still had a healthy battery level would result in a reduction of the device’s future ability to charge. You would trick the phone into thinking its battery capability was much less than it was designed for. Turns out, this was way off base – at least when it comes to today’s lithium ion batteries.

Modern batteries are far more advanced than those found even a few years ago. While limited charging may have been advisable in early devices, a modern smartphone will actually function better if the battery is keep at or near peak charge as much as possible. No matter how often or how short a period the battery is charged there is little risk of reducing the battery’s memory.

Stay Plugged In

Another suggestion for keeping early cellphones ready to go was to keep it plugged in until you had to leave a power source. In other words, when near a power source you should plug the phone in and use it to avoid draining the battery. Again, this now appears to be a poor practice built on false or outdated information. Today’s smartphones are designed to be unplugged as much as possible and leaving one plugged in too long may subject the battery to unnecessary stress, which will itself reduce long term life of the battery.


To achieve the best possible performance, and longest life, from today’s lithium ion batteries it is suggested to follow these charging practices:

  1. Charge as often as possible, keeping power levels at or near 100%
  2. Remove device from charger when it reaches 100%
  3. Repeat as necessary, or whenever a power source is available, remembering to remove from power source when fully charged

Although not directly related to this theme, reducing the number of running apps will also allow your battery to last longer simply because less power is being used during downtime.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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