Phone Charging Myths: Freezing and Memory

Dec 4, 2020

In part one of this multi-part blog series, we went over some of the most common smartphone charging and battery myths out there today. This is one of the smartphone areas that’s sadly collected some of the most misinformation over the years, largely due to how batteries and chargers have developed over time.

At FixIT Mobile, charging issues are some of the most common concerns we assist our clients with in the realm of phone repair, which includes both iPhone and numerous Android models. What are some of the most common myths that are still passed around today with regard to phone charging, battery maintenance and related themes? Let’s take a look.

Freezing Temperatures

One of the more ridiculous phone charging myths out there is that freezing the phone’s battery will help it retain its charge for longer. We honestly have no idea where this one came from, though there’s a chance it was simply due to early realizations that extreme heat isn’t good for batteries.

That last part is true, by the way – heat is not a lithium-ion battery’s friend. But neither is extreme cold, which will create a plating of lithium on the anode. This will have the exact opposite effect of what you desire, shortening battery life instead of lengthening it. While you absolutely should not be leaving your phone in 100-degree heat or allowing the battery to become too hot, freezing it is not the alternative.

Battery and “Memory”

Another myth that comes from older versions of batteries is the idea that smartphone batteries have a “memory.” Older formats used to, but current batteries do not.

Rather, the important quality for current batteries is capacity. Capacity does increase as time goes on with lithium batteries, but improvements to their technology over the years have continuously limited how quickly this happens. There’s no need to be concerned about memory or any of those older factors, however.

Running it Down

Related to the “memory” myth is the claim from some that you must run your phone battery down to 0% or 1% before you can recharge it. The idea is that if you don’t, you’ll lose capacity faster.

Once again, though, the opposite is actually true for lithium-ion batteries. Letting them get all the way down to zero actually wears them down faster than normal. Rather, you should be plugging the phone in before it enters low-power mode (usually 20% in most iPhones), then pull the plug around 80 or 90% - going all the way to 100% with certain high-voltage chargers may strain the battery slightly. That 30 to 80% range is generally ideal.

For more on phone battery misconceptions and how to avoid them, or to learn about any of our phone repair, laptop repair or other device repair services, speak to the staff at FixIT Mobile today.