Why You Shouldn't Leave Your Cell Phone Plugged in at Night

Consider, for a second, your evening routine. After washing up and slipping into pajamas, the last thing you do before hitting the pillow is drop your phone into a charger. Cell phone users around the world have all adopted this habit. But could it be bad for your phone's long-term battery life?

Leaving your phone to re-charge overnight is convenient—you're able to wake up in the morning to a full phone battery that will last through the workday and into the evening. But leaving your phone plugged in after reaching 100 percent is not best for your phone's battery long-term.

Tech tips blog Lifehacker shares some strategies for prolonging a device's battery life, including this advice about leaving a phone to charge overnight:

Similarly, lithium-ion batteries don't need to be charged all the way to 100%. ... If you do charge it to 100%, don't leave it plugged in. This is something most of us do, but it's another thing that will degrade your battery's health.

Think about it! If you head to bed at 11 p.m. with a battery percentage in the single digits, your phone will be fully charged by 2 a.m. If you wake up at 6 a.m., that's 4 hours that your phone stays plugged in with a full battery.

So what should you do to keep your phone's battery in top shape? You could set an alarm for 2 a.m. to unplug your phone. But that would suck. Instead, consider one of these options:


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A Socket Timer. The same sort of outlet timer you might use to power down your Christmas lights can be used to "unplug" your phone. The compact Belkin Conserve Socket is only $10 and can be set to shut down in ½ hour, 3 hours or 6 hours.

A Portable Battery. Instead of plugging in at night, re-wire your habits and start your re-charge routine in the middle of the day. No matter where you are, you can get juiced up with a portable battery charger. The goBAT II, 79.99, is capable of charging an iPhone 2.6 times.

(Images: 1. Flickr member Slightlynorth licensed for use under Creative Commons, 2. Belkin Introduces a Slew of Energy Saving Accessories, 3. Kensington to Scosche: Portable Battery Packs)

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