I’m a Cellphone Repair Expert – Here’s a big charging mistake everyone makes

Kevin Charron, Senior Lead Refurbishment Operations Manager at Bake Market (supplied image)

According to a phone repair expert who specializes in refurbishing old handsets, most of us are charging our phones incorrectly.

The way many of us recharge our phones — including leaving them on charge overnight or plugging them in while working — can actually damage batteries, permanently reducing the amount of charge the device can hold.

Speaking to, Back Market Senior Lead Refurbishment Operations Manager Kevin Charon warns that letting a phone’s battery die all at once is also harmful.

Kevin Charron, Senior Lead Refurbishment Operations Manager at Bake Market (supplied image)

Kevin Charron, Senior Lead Refurbishment Operations Manager at Bake Market (supplied image)

Are you charging your phone wrong?

Are you charging your phone wrong?

Charon said: ‘Leaving your phone plugged in or letting it die quickly reduces your battery life.

‘Instead, you should aim to keep your charge level between 20-80 per cent.’

That sounds like a pain to achieve, Charron said, but many new handsets offer the option to optimize charging (so it doesn’t strain the phone’s battery).

Doing so is easy on newer Apple handsets, Charon said.

It said: ‘For iPhones with iOS 13 and above, go to your iPhone Settings > Battery > Battery Health & Charging and select Optimized Battery Charging.

‘This setting will automatically reduce wear on your battery, improving its lifespan.’

Apple says the feature delays iPhone charging by 80 percent to activate optimized battery charging at the right time, using machine learning to learn your routine.

You should enable Optimized Charging if it is not already enabled

This is what the options screen looks like on a Pixel handset

You should enable Optimized Charging if it is not already enabled

That’s a little trickier on Android, because settings can vary between different manufacturers, Charron said.

He said: ‘You can see your battery health by going to your settings and then selecting Battery > Battery usage.

‘Then, under Manage battery usage, tap Optimized to automatically help extend your battery life.’

On Pixel phones, it can still be found under the battery, but it looks slightly different (like the screenshot below).

Another problem that can hurt battery life over time is dirt in the charging port, Charron said.

“Brown and dust are the enemies of your mobile devices and your battery life,” said Charron. Dust collects in your phone’s charging port, causing the device to overheat or stop charging. Cleaning your phone safely can ensure your battery isn’t overheating, which can cause long-term damage.’

Charron recommends using a toothpick and damp cloth to clean your charging port to get rid of debris that could damage your phone.

Charon said, ‘The first thing to do before cleaning your phone is to turn off your device. Then, shine a light on your device to see how much dust you’re dealing with.

‘Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth to clean the area around the charging port. To remove debris from inside the port, use a toothpick, moving it from side to side, making sure you are gentle as this area is very vulnerable to damage.

‘As the debris comes out, wipe it off with your cloth and go back in with a clean toothpick.’

Charron also warns that leaving your phone in direct sunlight can permanently damage the battery.

If you get a warning that your phone is overheating, it could mean the battery is taking long-term damage, he warns.

Charron said, ‘It’s best to keep your phone away from extreme temperatures. Temperatures below 0°C are too cold, while anything above 35°C is too hot, and both can hurt your battery life. Therefore, it is really important to keep your phone out of direct sunlight for long periods of time and limit use in hot cars or trains.

‘If your device’s internal temperature exceeds the normal operating range, you may experience the display dimming, going completely black, or the camera flash being disabled. You may also get a notification saying ‘Charging on hold’ or receive a temperature warning.

If you see a warning like this, it’s best to charge your phone in a cool place — and avoid charging it wirelessly, Charron said.

He said, ‘When charging your phone, find a cool, moisture-free environment below 32° C (90° F). Wired charging is also better and preferred over wireless charging to avoid overheating.’

If you’re somewhere hot, there are steps you can take to keep your handset from overheating, Charron said.

Charron said, ‘When your phone is not on charge, you can avoid overheating by lowering your brightness. If your phone is on low battery and searching for a signal, this can cause the device to overheat. So, if you’re somewhere with a weak signal, turn on airplane mode, then turn it back off when you’re in an area with better connectivity!’

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