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How long does the cell phone need to charge for the first time?

There are many doubts that can arise when we buy a new smartphone. And one of the most common questions is about the battery: how long do I need to leave the phone charging for the first time?

There is everything on this subject on the internet. Some say you need to fully charge from zero to 100% to avoid potential battery problems. Other people say that if the cell phone comes with a charge, you must first wait for it to run out and then plug the device into the wall socket for a total of 12 hours.

Below, see 4 myths and truths about the first recharge of cell phone battery.

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1. First cell phone charge

Now let’s reassure those anxious on duty: you don’t have to worry about the first recharge of your new cell phone, whether it’s an Android or iPhone. So, even if the smartphone comes with a battery as soon as you take it out of the box, you can use it normally without worrying about any problems.

So no: you don’t need to let the phone discharge the battery to zero and charge it for 12 hours, nor is it obligatory to bring the energy up to 100%.

Assuming you have your cell phone plugged in for several hours, there’s no reason to panic either. Thanks to current batteries, new smartphones no longer receive electricity when they reach their maximum capacity of 100%, preventing overcharging.

2. How it used to work (memory effect)

Older cell phones were known not only for their durability, but also because they didn’t need to be recharged for days or even weeks. Nowadays this is something impossible, as the vast majority of recent smartphones require at least one recharge per day.

Current batteries use a greater amount of energy due to the large number of components — multi-core processors, 4G/5G modem, support for fast recharge, OLED screen. However, they are also more efficient than old-time batteries because they are made of lithium ion, a material that provides better energy performance.

It is precisely at this point that we reach the so-called “memory effect”. Also known as “battery deadlock”, the phenomenon affects older batteries, made of nickel and cadmium (NiCd) or nickel-metal hydride (NiMH). It happens when the batteries are not 100% discharged, creating a “memory” for the next charges.

As time progresses and the battery still active receives new recharges, the component has its capacity reduced. The result is this “addiction” of the battery: it loses part of its original capacity, providing less energy to the cell phone.

Then came a recommendation from manufacturers and stores for the consumer to leave the device completely discharged, and only then charge the battery for a period of 12 hours for the first time. Feature phones, which were limited to basic features, were the most common cell phones to have this indication, precisely because they come equipped with NiCd batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries, which are now present in Android smartphones and iPhones, have also been losing energy efficiency over the years. However, they do not suffer from the memory effect of older NiCd batteries, as they do not have a programmed cycle that is addictive with each recharge.

3. How Lithium Ion Batteries Work

Li-ion batteries have four main internal parts: the anode, for the positive charge; the cathode to the negative; the separator, which separates cobalt oxide from lithium; and the lithium ion layers themselves, which arise from this separation.

The internal blades, which make up the cathode and anode, contain cobalt oxide, lithium ions, copper and graphite. When the battery is put into use, lithium ions make their way from the anode to the cathode, passing through the separator and binding to cobalt oxide. When this occurs, one electron is left per lithium ion, which is “captured” by the graphite anode and generates the charge/energy.

When there are no more lithium ions to be transported, the chemical reaction ends, causing the battery’s power to deplete. When we recharge the battery, the reverse process takes place, causing the lithium ions to fall back into place.

That’s why addiction doesn’t happen anymore and we can charge cell phone batteries regardless of the amount of charge available at the time of recharging. This memory effect has been replaced by battery cycles, which change the component’s durability and function.

4. Battery care

While today’s lithium-ion batteries are better and more efficient, that doesn’t mean you can push your luck on your cell phone. We emphasize once again: the battery, like any electronic component, loses its capacity over the years. Yes, it is an expected process, but we can delay it as much as possible, increasing its longevity. Here are some extra tips that can help you:

  1. Avoid letting the battery get to 0%. Charge it only when needed or when the smartphone itself requests it, usually when it reaches 20% or 10% charge;
  2. No need to charge the battery to 100%. The ideal is to keep between 70% and 80%, since the discharge process is slower than when the battery is at 100%;
  3. Use original chargers. Parallel or non-branded accessories may damage the device;
  4. Avoid using the device while charging as it may overheat it;
  5. Avoid leaving your cell phone on covers, sofas and pillows while charging;
  6. Avoid using plug adapters (benjamins);
  7. In case of thunderstorms or electrical discharges, suspend charging.

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