Phone Battery Problems

By Amanda Kondolojy

i Gary Tamin via

Having a cell phone is great when you need to talk on the go, but if you have a faulty battery, then you may feel like you are chained to your phone's charger. Many things can go wrong with a phone's battery, from the so-called "memory effect" to plain-old worn out batteries. Some issues can be corrected, but unfortunately, most will need to be addressed by replacement.

Memory Effect

The memory effect is a common issue in older cell phones that use a nickel-cadmium battery. This issue occurs when the user charges the battery before it has drained repeatedly, and the battery "remembers" the point at which it was prematurely drained and then only drains from that point onward (thus losing a portion of its full battery potential.) The memory effect is only present in older cell phones, so if you have one that was made in 2005 or before, you may know of it. To prevent the memory effect from occurring, make sure to deplete your battery as much as possible before charging it.


Overcharge is a more common problem in modern cell phones. When you overcharge a battery, it means that you leave the phone on the charger after it has reached 100 percent. While leaving a battery on a charging station for a few hours after the charge has completed will not impact the battery too negatively, if you leave the battery on the charger for more than 24 hours you can overheat and permanently damage the battery.


Did you know that even if you do not use your phone, it still uses battery life? This phenomenon is known as self-discharge. If your phone is switched off all the time, the battery life is still being used. If you do not turn it on every few weeks and charge it, the battery will die permanently. If you have a cell phone that you only use in emergencies or are keeping "just in case," it is a good idea to turn it on and charge it at least once a month to keep it from self-discharging the battery.

Aged Battery

All batteries have a certain lifespan, and after awhile you can expect them to degrade substantially. Most batteries (under normal circumstances) will last between 2 and 3 years and can handle about 500 charge cycles. If you start noticing marked battery loss after a comparable amount of time, it is probably due to your battery being old. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about a battery getting old, and if enough time has passed, you will need to replace it to ensure your phone continues functioning as it should.

Getting the Most from Your Battery

To prevent most of these problems from happening, and to keep your phone's battery from aging too quickly, the best thing to do is to make the most of your charging cycle. Try and run the battery down as much as possible before plugging it in, and, if possible, unplug it as soon as it has finished charging. You can also reduce strain on your batteries (and thus reduce the number of charge cycles) by toggling settings like screen settings, vibrate function and Bluetooth wireless network connections.