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All About Cell Phone Batteries

Updated on August 18, 2014

Cell Phone Battery Help

Without cell phone batteries, your phone is useless. Finding out how to care for your battery and properly charge it will extend its performance and its life. Knowing when and how to replace it can be equally important to avoid disaster.

If you have questions related to your cell phone battery you've come to the right place for answers.

Types of Cell Phone Batteries

There are several types of cell phone batteries still available on the market:

NiCd or Nickel Cadmium

These are rechargeable batteries that offer the most affordable pricing. On the other hand these cell phone batteries require more frequent charging and are not environmentally friendly. These batteries require full discharge/recharge to reduce "memory effect" which results in ongoing reduction in the ability to fully recharge.

NiMH or Nickel Metal Hydride

Due to the lack of Cadmium, these rechargeable batteries are more environmentally friendly. They are also preferable as they pack more usage time than their Cadmium counterparts; holding a charge at least 30% longer. "Memory Effect" is also less of a factor with these batteries.

Li-Ion or Lithium Ion

These rechargeable cell phone batteries are currently the most common on the market and are a bit smaller. They offer a longer life and don't experience "memory effect" but on the other hand are more expensive than NiCd or NiMH batteries.

Li-Poly or Lithium Polymer

These batteries are the newest on the scene and are the lightest weight cell phone batteries available. Like Li-Ion batteries they hold a charge significantly longer than batteries with older technology.

Other Terms You Will Hear

OEM battery: This stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer

Aftermarket: This indicates that a battery is made by a company other than the OEM but should be made to the same specifications.

Clone: These batteries are to be avoided. They are aftermarket batteries that aren't made to the same specifications as the OEM and often lack the same protective circuitry to avoid overheating and so forth.

Charging Cell Phone Batteries

Properly charging a cell phone battery is important if you wish to extend the life of the battery and get the best performance.

Proper charging is different for the different types of batteries. In general, you want to fully charge a new battery before it's first use. While NiMH batteries need a full discharge prior to recharge every few cycles, it is unwise to do so with a Lithium Ion battery. Li-Ion charging should occur when the meter shows no less than one bar; don't wait for a full discharge.

For the best performance, it is recommended that users review the manufacturers instructions. There is also a handy article at CellPower.com that provides some general recommendations for the various cell phone battery types and one from BatteryUniversity.com that answers other charging questions.

Caring for Cell Phone Batteries

Aside from charging your batteries properly, there are a number of things you can do to extend their life and assure good performance.

Avoid exposing the phone/battery to moisture. This includes keeping hands dry and assuring that your phone isn't accidentally dropped into a sink, stream, or toilet. Keeping it on a leash can help reduce this risk. Handle it carefully; avoid dropping it. Again, a leash or clip can reduce this risk. Avoid excessive heat. Cell phone batteries prefer cool, not excessively cold, dry climates. Leaving cell phones in a windowsill, laying on the kitchen counter beside a stove top or oven, near a heat register, or in a hot car is unwise. Proper cleaning is sometimes needed when corrosion occurs. Contacts can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. Avoid touching other components.

Conserving Cell Phone Battery Power/Extending Battery Life

If you truly want to extend the time between charges and extend the overall life of your cell phone battery there are additional things you can do.

Turn the phone off when not in use. For instance, consider turning it off when you're sleeping, when you are driving, when in classes or a meeting, and when flying. Certainly, if you are in an area with poor or no reception there is no need to have your cell phone on. It will use additional battery power in such situations as it searches for a better signal. Consider a repeater, home base station, or some other device to assure your phone gets a good signal. You can learn more about getting better cell phone reception here. Don't use the cell phone batteries when it's not necessary. If you're sitting next to an outlet, plug it in when you are on the phone. Cut back on functions that consume a great deal of battery power. The vibrate function, extra volume, taking pictures, playing games, and surfing the internet all consume a great deal of power. Turn off or dim the backlight, set it to go off after a couple of seconds, turn off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and similar functions when not in use. Remove the batteries from your phone if it won't be used for more than a day or two. They can be stored in an airtight bag in the refrigerator (not freezer) but be sure to allow them to warm up before recharging and then using them. (Store Li-ion batteries with a 40% charge) Don't purchase cell phone batteries and store them for more than a few weeks as they will still lose power despite not being in use.

How Long Will My Cell Phone Battery Last?

Here is a handy CNET chart to help you figure out how long the battery in your specific cell phone should last.

Does Your Cell Phone Battery Need Replaced?

Cell phone batteries sometimes "die" and need replaced. NiMH batteries die slowly giving the owner warning, while Li-Ion batteries seem to fail all at once. The most common symptoms of a failing battery are:

a significant decrease in talk and standby time between charging cycles a battery that gets hotter than normal during recharging or when using it in your cell phone.

How to Save a Wet Cell Phone Battery

If you've dropped your cell phone in a sink, a toilet, run it through the washer, or gone swimming with it there are tips to salvage it in this WikiHow article.

Tips for Buying a Replacement Cell Phone Battery

If your cell phone battery fails, you'll want a new one. You may also find yourself in need if you choose to have a backup battery due to heavy use or traveling. When buying a replacement battery:

Be sure to check the type of battery recommended by the manufacturer and the size your specific phone will accommodate Obviously trying to purchase a cell phone battery directly from your cellular company is often the easiest way to shop, but if you don't find what you need or want a better bargain, you can try specialty battery stores and online retailers Check the date on the batteries. Batteries in generaly will last for 300-400 cycles, but even when they aren't in use they are losing power; thus a battery that has been on the shelf for 6 months won't last as long. Although "clone batteries" may offer a better bargain, it is often best to avoid these as they aren't always safe as they sometimes lack protective circuits.

If you want cell phone batteries that go longer between charges, choose Li-Ion or Li-Poly. More mAh (milli-amperes per hour) the more battery power.

How To Replace Your Cell Phone Battery

Some cell phones, like the iPhone, are a bit more complex but in general changing cell phone batteries is pretty basic:

Turn the phone off first Remove the battery Check for corrosion and clean with alcohol and a cotton swab if needed. Allow to dry. Insert the new battery Fully charge Dispose of the old battery properly.

How to Change a Battery in Your iPhone

Cell Phone Battery Leak

Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer cell phone batteries don't really leak but other batteries can. If leaking occurs, contact the battery manufacturer. Batteries are often guaranteed against leakage and the company may clean up the mess for you or replace any damaged goods.

If you need to do it yourself, be safe. Use gloves and goggles and stay in well ventilated areas. Of course, start by removing the battery. Many experts then recommend using a pencil eraser to rub off any leakage or perhaps an emery cloth on any metal parts. A vinegar/water solution applied to a cotton swab is sometimes useful as well.

Before closing up, it is important to assure that everything is completely dry. If you use a hair dryer for this purpose, be sure to use the Cool setting.

Recycling Cell Phone Batteries

Nickel Cadmium batteries contain toxic waste that must be disposed of properly. Other cell phone batteries contain metals that should be recycled.

There are a number of resources to assist users in finding appropriate recycling options:

Earth911.org provides a directory of centers accessible by doing a search on their page.

Call2Recycle can also assist in finding a local center to take old cell phone batteries.

Future Cell Phone Batteries

It's anticipated that cell phone batteries will continue to evolve. The search for more environmentally friendly and yet more powerful sources of energy for cell phones is ongoing and you can learn about current efforts here.

There are many reports regarding the use of hydrogen fuels cells. Articles at Gizmodo and Inhabitat are just some samples.

Solar powered cell phones are also in the news. CNET and MobileWhack are just two of the more recent reports regarding these devices.

Kinetic energy is another possible solution which is discussed in this Inhabitat article.

This Scientific American write up also discusses how the energy created by your own movement may power cell phones in the future. Or, as this ImpactLab article indicates, perhaps your heartbeat will provide the needed energy.

Of course, not to be out done, wind powered cell phone chargers are reported by PC World.

Photo Credits

Introduction: trekkyandy.

Types of Cell Phone Batteries: _Sarchi.

Charging Cell Phone Batteries: Kalleboo.

Caring for Cell Phone Batteries: Respres.

Conserving Cell Phone Battery Power: chidorian.

Does Your Cell Phone Battery Need Replaced?: DawnEndico.

Tips for Buying a Replacement Battery: nalilo. (no derivative work allowed)

Recycling Cell Phone Batteries: Moria.

How to Replace a Cell Phone Battery: Geishaboy.

Future Cell Phone Batteries: JamesJordan. (no derivative work allowed)

Cell Phone Batteries: Let Us Know If This Page was Useful!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      i would like to find some information on replacement batteries for cell phones re: carrier specific batteries? have tried to find some that are more reasonably priced, however all request what carrier i am with--why is that if a number of them carry the same model of phone?

    • profile image

      hendriono 4 years ago

      Thanks for great info... May I translate into Indonesia?

    • shelleymax profile image

      shelleymax 4 years ago

      Great info...i enjoyed reading your site..ive always followed manufacturers instructions and given a good battery charge first time...worked so far...

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Do I lose the photo gallery in my phone if I take the battery out?

    • profile image

      MiserWare 4 years ago

      Use MiserWare products to extend battery life without decreasing performance. Check out our page!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      should i remove the battery of mobile if it is not in use for 5-7 days.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Recently purchased OEM replacement batteries for my old Motorola razr and Nokia phones. Both were garbage. They lasted no longer than the 3 year old batteries. In fact I am still using the original battery in the Razr it lasts longer.

    • profile image

      luminouscomm 4 years ago

      Thank you for all of the great information. I will definitely pass this info on.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great information on cell phone batteries, it was very interesting to read!thank for sharing

      ''TOP 10 Nimh Batteries

    • jwcooney profile image

      jwcooney 5 years ago

      Great information on cell phone batteries, it was very interesting to read!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Does it mean that if I replace my existing cell phone battery with higher mAH battery,, Talktime will improve? Is it recommendable? Will it affect phone hardware?

    • profile image

      sojourner-1 5 years ago

      Thanks-great info on batteries. Go thru settings and check to see in you have items "on" that you seldom or never use. Turn them "off."

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Turn off the backlight. While this may make it harder to use your cell phone at nighttime or in pitch-black situations, most of the time you can easily use your cell phone without it being brightly lit. If you must, change your cell phone's backlight settings so the light goes off after 5 or 10 seconds of inactivity. This way your phone should still be usable at nighttime. free government cell phones

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      very useful...im using this info to purchase a better battery for my phone.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This was incredibly fortuitous, finding this site. My phone battery is slowly dying. It is ridiculously inconvenient. There was a lot o good information here. Also, my Captcha for this post was "uberlust".... that's Fantastic.

    • profile image

      kristofwalker 8 years ago

      Great Lens , 5 stars! - I don't mean to spam your site here, but we have a great article how to save money on Cellular Family Plans .

      I think it is a good companion to the ideas you have put forth here.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Really great lens, you certainly know your cell phones and batteries. Very useful information. 5*****

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      i was worried do i need a new battery for my phone i got a new battery but when i put the battery in my phone all it do is vibrate

    • profile image

      energy-sculptor 9 years ago

      Thanks for the lens - very useful. It is exactly thekind of info I need for our cell phone movies !!!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 9 years ago

      Great tips for lasting cell phones. It this is a simple subject, but not easy to explain. You mastered making the simple look easy.

    • rebeccahiatt profile image

      rebeccahiatt 9 years ago

      This is good information, my cell phone battery is nearly always dead when I need it.

    • profile image

      enslavedbyfaeries 9 years ago

      My cell phone battery has about 2 1/2 minutes of life left in it. (I'm not kidding) Thanks for these great tips and suggestions. Hopefully, now I'll be able to get the most out my new battery now.

    • The Eclectic Muse profile image

      The Eclectic Muse 9 years ago

      A-Ha! So that's what happened to my previous battery, I left it in the car and it could not stand the heat! Thanks for the information.

    • ArtSiren LM profile image

      ArtSiren LM 9 years ago

      Very useful lens. I think I may have ruined my battery by not letting it fully discharge before its first recharging - only lasts a day or so now from fully charged!