Battery Recharge

Why You Should Charge Your Phone When It Hits 50 Percent

Above all, there’s one thing you want out of your phone’s battery: the ability to hold as much power for as long as possible. Nobody wants a phone that can only last half a day off a full charge.

There’s an incredibly pervasive myth that the best way to keep your battery healthy is to let it drain all the way to zero before recharging. Alas, like littering and the all-bread food pyramid, this is no longer considered a best practice. In fact, it’ll actually shorten the lifespan of your phone. Instead, to keep your battery healthy and ensure it’s able to maintain as much of a charge as possible, you want to give your phone regular charges — and avoid letting it get down to that 5 percent, everything all red, “Oh shit, how am I even gonna find the subway stop from here?” moment (easier said than done, I know).

Why? Let’s see if it’s possible to explain without getting too wonky about battery tech. All modern cell phones’ lithium-ion batteries consist of, essentially, two sections: an anode (where all your power is stored) and a cathode (where all your energy goes to). In between them is a layer called the electrolyte (yes, the it’s the same name as the stuff Gatorade promises to replenish, but, trust me, these are very different). The anode is filled up with electrons. The cathode wants to suck up those electrons. The electrolyte makes it harder for those electrons to pass through, thus generating power. Think of it as a hydraulic power plant at the atomic level. When you plug your phone back in to charge it up, electrons flow back from the cathode into the anode.

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