Fast charging is becoming a standard feature on smartphones, electric vehicles, laptops, and other gadgets. It’s convenient as it lets you juice up your device or car in less time than you would conventionally have to wait.
But as much as fast charging is impressive, does it have any negative effects on battery life? And are fast chargers bad for your phone? Let’s break it down for you.
Your phone battery isn’t changing anytime soon
All mobile phones — and most personal electronics and electric vehicles — use lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable batteries. It’s a tough slog to create batteries that last longer because battery technology hasn’t changed in decades. Instead, much of the recent progress in battery life has come from power-saving features built into devices and from making the software that manages to charge and discharging more efficiently, so you sip power rather than guzzle it.
Unfortunately for mobile phones, the focus on extending battery life is generally on cars, satellites, and your home’s power system, areas where industrial batteries need to function far beyond the two or three years we expect from our mobile devices.
Another force working against our phones is their battery size. Compared to an electric car battery, a phone’s power source is minute. For example, the Tesla 3’s rechargeable battery has a battery capacity over 4,000 times greater than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
How Do Phone Companies Mitigate the Impact of Fast Charging?
Smartphone companies have also devised other ways to reduce the impact of the fast charging phase on the battery by using a dual-battery design. This way, the two batteries share the high input load during the fast-charging phase—thus preventing damage.
Another preventive measure is the different battery management software systems. Smartphones have a dedicated management system for overseeing charging, preventing the battery from being damaged by a high input charge. Apple’s optimized battery charging is an excellent example of this.
Essentially, the effectiveness of your phone’s battery management software dictates whether fast charging damages your battery or not.
The bottom line is fast charging won’t impact your battery life substantially. But the physics behind the technology means you shouldn’t expect the battery to last longer than using a conventional “slow” charging brick.