Charge Smarter, Not Harder: Maximizing Battery Life in Your Devices

Let’s face it, dead batteries are never convenient. Whether you’re on a call, streaming a movie, or crunching deadlines, a depleted battery can throw your tech-powered day into chaos. But fret not, battery-conscious friend! By understanding how and when to charge your devices, you can extend their lifespan and keep them powered up longer.

Debunking the myths:

First, let’s clear the air on some common misconceptions:

  • Myth: Leaving your phone plugged in overnight damages the battery.
  • Fact: Modern devices have safeguards to prevent overcharging. However, it’s better to avoid keeping your battery at 100% constantly.
  • Myth: Letting your battery drain completely before charging is good for it.
  • Fact: Deep discharges stress the battery and can shorten its lifespan. Aim for moderate charge cycles.

The sweet spot for charging:

Here’s the key: most lithium-ion batteries, used in almost all modern devices, thrive in the 20-80% charge range. Aim to keep your battery within this sweet spot as much as possible. Here’s how:

  • Smartphones and tablets:
    • Charge when the battery reaches 20-30%.
    • Unplug at around 80-90%.
    • Avoid full charges and complete drains whenever possible.
  • Laptops:
    • Set battery thresholds in your settings (e.g., stop charging at 80%).
    • Remove the charger when not actively using the laptop.

Beyond the numbers:

Remember, these are general guidelines. Several other factors can impact battery health:

  • Extreme temperatures: Avoid hot environments, which can degrade battery performance.
  • Fast charging: While convenient, it can generate heat and stress the battery. Use it sparingly.
  • Low-quality chargers: Stick to certified chargers to avoid potential damage.

Bonus tips:

  • Optimize settings: Reduce screen brightness, disable background apps, and turn off location services when not needed.
  • Invest in a power bank: For extended journeys, keep a portable charger handy.
  • Monitor battery health: Most devices have built-in battery health indicators. Keep an eye on them.

Laptop-specific tips

While keeping your laptop plugged in all the time won’t cause immediate harm, there are a few reasons why it might not be the best practice for long-term battery health:

Battery stress: Although modern laptops have safeguards against overcharging, keeping them constantly at 100% can put stress on the battery. Batteries have a limited number of charge cycles, and full charges count as one cycle even if you plug and unplug frequently throughout the day. This stress can contribute to a faster decline in battery capacity over time.

Heat generation: Plugged-in laptops often generate more heat, especially if the charger or surrounding area is poorly ventilated. This additional heat can shorten the lifespan of other components inside your laptop, like the processor and motherboard.

Reduced mobility: Being tethered to a power outlet limits your laptop’s portability, defeating the purpose of having a “lap”top you can easily carry around.

Risk of power surges: While rare, sudden power surges or fluctuations can damage your laptop, even if it’s plugged in. Unplugging it minimizes this risk.

Reduced lifespan of the charging adapter: Keeping the charger plugged in constantly puts stress on its components, potentially leading to earlier wear and tear.

Energy usage: Even when not actively charging, plugged-in laptops still draw a small amount of power. If you’re environmentally conscious, unplugging it when not in use can help conserve energy.

However, there are also some scenarios where keeping your laptop plugged in might be beneficial:

  • You use your laptop primarily at a desk and rarely unplug it.
  • You frequently use applications that demand high performance, requiring constant charging.
  • You have a faulty battery that drains quickly.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to keep your laptop plugged in depends on your individual usage patterns and priorities. If you’re concerned about maximizing battery life and ensuring optimal performance, it’s generally recommended to follow the 20-80% charging rule and unplug your laptop when you don’t need it.

By following these tips and being mindful of your charging habits, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your phone, tablet, and laptop batteries. Remember, a little awareness goes a long way in keeping your devices powered up and ready to go!

Remember that Computer Techs can help you understand the complexities with desktop and laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, and “dumb-phones”. We even help with smart/internet connected devices around your home such as smart speakers and assistants, and streaming media players that connect to your television. Contact us for more information.

How Seniors and Less-Tech-Savvy People Can Use Artificial Intelligence

AI in 2024: Your Friendly, Tech-Savvy Sidekick

Artificial intelligence (AI) might conjure images of robots taking over the world, but the reality is far more down-to-earth. In 2024, AI is not here to replace us, but to assist us, and that includes everyone, regardless of age or tech skills.

Whether you’re a senior citizen looking for a helping hand or someone who finds technology intimidating, AI can be your friendly sidekick, making daily life easier and more enjoyable. Here are some ways AI can benefit you, along with free services like Gemini and Copilot that you can start using today:

Free and Friendly AI Helpers:

Free services that can make your AI journey even smoother:

  • Gemini: Google’s large language model trained to be informative and comprehensive. It can answer your questions in an engaging way, even on complex topics. Think of it as your friendly AI librarian!
  • Copilot: Microsoft’s AI writing assistant can help you write emails, letters, social media posts, and even creative content. Stuck on what to say? Copilot can provide suggestions and help you overcome writer’s block.

Helping Around the House:

  • Smart Assistants: Smart speakers and displays can control your lights, thermostat, and other devices with simple voice commands. No more struggling to reach the thermostat on a cold day – just tell your AI assistant to turn up the heat!
  • Reminders and Organization: Stay on top of appointments, medications, and tasks with reminder apps that can even learn your routines and anticipate your needs. Imagine never forgetting to take your medication again!

Exploring New Hobbies and Interests:

  • Creative Tools: AI-powered art generators and writing assistants can spark your creativity, even if you’re not a professional artist or writer. Imagine creating a beautiful painting or writing a heartfelt poem with just a few prompts!
  • Learning and Entertainment: Language learning apps with AI tutors can help you pick up a new language at your own pace, while educational platforms can tailor learning experiences to your interests. Imagine learning French or delving into the history of ancient Rome, all from the comfort of your home!

Staying Connected and Informed:

  • News and Information: Services like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa can answer your questions, read you the news, or even play audiobooks. Imagine relaxing in your favorite chair while listening to the latest headlines or an engaging story.
  • Social Connection: Feeling isolated? AI-powered chatbots can keep you company and engage in conversation. Additionally, video chat platforms with features like facial recognition can help you connect with loved ones face-to-face, even if they’re miles away.

Remember, AI is a tool, and like any tool, it’s most useful when you know how to use it. Don’t be afraid to experiment, ask questions, and have fun exploring what AI can do for you. With a little guidance and these free resources, you can harness the power of AI to make your life easier, more enjoyable, and full of new possibilities.

If you need help getting started with AI, Computer Techs provides In-Home training and setup of your computer, mobile devices and smart devices around your home. Contact us for more information, or to set an appointment.