One of the biggest questions about owning a smartphone is whether you should charge your smartphone overnight. No smartphone myth has circulated for so long or become as common as the issue of charging overnight. Is it good or bad for the phone? Is it dangerous? Can you overload? This all leads to the question of whether you should undertake this practice. The answer often depends on who you ask, but luckily science can help figure that out and find the real truth.
What the science says
Let’s clarify one thing right away. Either way, charging your smartphone overnight, during the day, or in the car will degrade performance over time. The lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones (and tablets) have a lifespan that won’t last forever. They also cut off the charging power when a battery reaches 100%.
Each smartphone will have a different “cycle” number that indicates how many zero to full charges the battery can withstand before needing to be replaced. The answer is often found in the hundreds, so nothing is of immediate concern. Also, you can extend the life of your battery by not fully charging it and not letting it drain completely. This doesn’t mean that you will be extending your battery for several years, but it will help.
What the manufacturers say
For its part, Apple recommends all iPhone users on iOS 13 and later to use its optimized battery charge feature to extend the life of your iPhone. This feature will reduce your battery charge once it reaches 80% in some situations.
Apple also notes that a battery’s life is “tied to its ‘chemical age’, which is much more than the passage of time.” In other words, Apple explains that the battery life also depends on external factors, such as the quality of its maintenance, the number of charge cycles, etc. the company has a dedicated entire page battery life maintenance that speaks not only about science, but also about the best possible care of your device.
Google, for its part, is in the same boat like Apple and suggests charging your phone “as little or as much as needed”. The company specifically mentions charging overnight from 9 p.m. with a probability of not unplugging until at least 5 a.m. Google provides instructions on “adaptive charging” to help you preserve the long-term battery life of your Google device (Pixel 4 and newer).
Samsung, with its huge choice of smartphones, also has a dedicated page to help customers manage battery life. It recommends charging regularly and keeping the battery life above 50%. While they don’t actively caution against charging overnight, they do indicate that leaving your phone connected for too long could negatively impact battery life.
Tips for saving battery
From everything science and the makers of the most popular smartphones are saying, you shouldn’t let your battery drain completely. Your smartphone can’t overload either, and it’s one of the biggest takeaways. Charging your phone overnight is more of a risk to battery health than the risk of the phone suddenly burning out. There are caveats to this, as anyone who puts their smartphone under their pillow at night while charging is in a different risk category. When a smartphone is under your pillow, heat is trapped due to a lack of air circulation, which could, in very rare cases, cause a fire.
The best thing to do is to charge your phone when it reaches a certain percentage. This may not apply every time, but try to aim for something like 30% as the minimum point for the charge. The number is up to you, but it will allow you to preserve your battery life longer without going through a “cycle” that will begin if you completely discharge the battery. There are also other tips like turning off notifications, some apps running in the background etc. which are default warnings to conserve battery life.
Should you charge overnight?
Let’s get back to the current question of whether you should charge overnight. The main concern is whether charging overnight is a danger. The answer is, it doesn’t appear to pose any major health risks. Causing a fire is more likely to happen when it’s under a pillow, but even that will be rare. There are concerns that you may damage your battery slightly by leaving it constantly charged overnight, but again, this is not a hazard that can shorten the life span for a short time. We are not talking about years, but rather weeks or months.
Ultimately, the answer to the question of whether to charge your smartphone overnight is the one that’s right for you. Can you charge your phone 100% before bed or do you have time to charge in the morning? If you do, then that is the best course of action. It really depends on what is best for you. As long as you can keep your phone from dropping to 0%, the best thing you can do is probably charge your device.
With all the smart or fast charging available on smartphones today, there’s a good chance you can get a quick boost in 30 minutes to an hour. Considering this, charging overnight seems more of a trained behavior than an absolute necessity.
Bottom line is that charging your smartphone overnight won’t cause your phone battery much trouble, especially if you have a newer phone. In reality, the manufacturers know the best, so you should listen to their advice on how to keep your smartphone battery healthy. If, instead, you notice battery drain due to an issue with Google Play Services, we’ve got the fix here.
Is this article useful?