Having your phone die while you’re out and about is inconvenient, and a laptop that barely runs unless it’s plugged in is just an obnoxious substitute for a desktop computer.
These problems are quite common and may even seem inevitable. But being proactive can make the lithium-ion batteries powering our devices last much longer — maybe even until you’re ready for an upgrade. A smartphone battery, for instance, should work at optimal capacity for two to three years, according to Wired.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of outdated information and myths circulating about batteries. Here are some simple ways to prolong your battery life, according to experts.
Avoid extreme temperatures
Extreme cold can temporarily shorten battery life while extreme heat — above 95 degrees Fahrenheit — can permanently shorten it, according to Apple. (Keep in mind a device left in the car can heat up quickly.) Try not to use, charge or store your device in these conditions.
20 is the new 0
Letting your battery run down completely can reduce its life, according to Samsung. Try to always keep it above a 20% charge.
Half-charged is best if you’re not using the device regularly
Storing a fully charged or drained battery could cause permanent damage. If you only use a laptop for infrequent travel, take the time to plug it in once in a while.
Turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS if you’re not using them
Wi-Fi is more energy efficient than using your phone’s data plan with poor reception but a waste when you’re not using internet at all. Ditto for other things that constantly check your signal in the background.
Use official chargers
Third-party chargers might be cheaper, but in the long run you may be trading a few bucks for reduced battery life. Off-brand chargers aren’t necessarily designed to the same standards as the real deal, and can cause permanent damage if they are delivering too much current to a battery.
This level of care might seem like overkill to some, but if you’ve ever been frustrated with how long your electronics hold a charge, it could be worth the effort.