Ask LH: Can Overcharging Damage My Phone?

Ask LH: Can Overcharging Damage My Phone?

Dear Lifehacker, I have a question regarding charging my iPhone 5 (or any other technological device for that matter). Does leaving a phone to charge all night ruin its battery life? Is ‘overcharging’ an already charged device bad for it? Thanks, Charged Up

Charging picture from Shutterstock

Dear CU,

Unlike the nickel-based batteries of old, the lithium-ion batteries found in smartphones and tablets do not suffer from the lazy battery effect. This means you’re free to charge the battery at any point during each cycle without affecting the amount of charge it holds. Likewise, you can continue to leave it plugged in after it has reached 100 percent.

That said, it’s still not a great idea to keep your gadgets charging for prolonged periods while unattended — while rare, lithium batteries have been known to overheat which has the potential to cause everything from dead phones to explosions. You can read a bunch more about the best ways to charge your gadgets here.


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