How Long Should A Cell Phone Battery Last?

It’s not that I talk on my cell phone much. Quite the contrary… I have so many rollover minutes built-up each month, you wouldn’t believe it.


But my cell phone battery still loses its charge, so I have to go through the motions of charging up my phone. Then finding it’s dead just when I need it most. And recharging it all over again.

So, I wonder… just how long is the battery in a cell phone supposed to last, anyway?


My Cell Battery Only Lasted A Year

Motorola V400 cell phone.

After a year of using my Motorola V400 cell phone (with Cingular service …love ’em!), I came to the realization that I needed a whole new lithium-ion rechargeable battery for it already.

One year just doesn’t seem very long for a battery to last — in my opinion.

So I asked the guys at Batteries Plus (in Cool Springs, TN) for their take on how long a cell phone battery should last.

They gave me a couple of great tips to improve your cell phone battery life:

  • First, and foremost, they said a cellphone battery is built to only recharge itself “so many” times. (A little research revealed that number is about 400 times.)
  • And, to top that off… the Batteries Plus guys said every time you plug your phone into a charger — either in your home via a wall-charger unit, or in your car via a car-charger — you’re actually lowering the life of that battery.

So if you think you’re doing the right thing by keeping a full charge on your battery at all times, you are 100% wrong.


What Should You Do?

Let your cell phone battery run down very low — not fully discharged, but almost — every single time. Doing so will extend the life of your battery another full year… or more!

A lithium-ion battery in use should last between 2-3 years.
~ Batteries Plus

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Geesh… Who knew there was such “precision” and a “process” and some real “rhyme & reason” to how lithium-ion batteries work?!

Obviously, the same would be true for the rechargeable batteries in your other electronic equipment: digital cameras, iPods, wireless products, laptops, etc.

Good to know.

Thanks, Batteries Plus. (Guess that’s why they’re “America’s battery experts.”)


Tips For Prolonging The Life Of Your Battery

  • A new Lithium-ion battery will benefit from an initial “conditioning” of the battery. For the first 3 charge cycles, fully charge the battery overnight and allow it to fully discharge before recharging.
  • Avoid frequent full discharges because it puts additional strain on the battery. Several partial discharges with frequent recharges are better for Lithium-ion than one deep one. Recharging a partially charged lithium-ion does not cause harm because there is no memory. (In this respect, lithium-ion differs from nickel-based batteries.)
  • To achieve a true full charge when rapid charging, the battery needs to be slow charged the last 10-15% of its charge cycle.
  • Batteries with a fuel gauge (laptops) should be calibrated by applying a deliberate full discharge once every 30 charges. Running the pack down in the equipment does this. If ignored, the fuel gauge will become increasingly less accurate and in some cases cut off the device prematurely.
  • Lithium-ion batteries require a charger specifically designed to charge Lithium batteries.
  • Short battery life in a laptop is mainly caused by heat rather than charge/discharge patterns.
  • Keep the Lithium-ion battery cool. Avoid a hot car. For prolonged storage, keep the battery at a 40% charge level.
  • Consider removing the battery from a laptop when running on fixed power. (Some laptop manufacturers are concerned about dust and moisture accumulating inside the battery casing.)
  • Avoid purchasing spare Lithium-ion batteries for later use. Observe manufacturing dates. Do not buy old stock, even if sold at clearance prices.
  • If you have a spare Lithium-ion battery, use one to the fullest and keep the other cool by placing it in the refrigerator. Do not freeze the battery. For best results, store the battery at 40% state-of-charge.
  • A Lithium-ion battery may be damaged by extensive overcharging (continuously on a charger for more than 24 hours).

Sources: and

Now, just for fun…

Listen to Bud Light’s Real Men of Genius ”Mr. Really Loud Cell Phone Talker Guy”

Lynnette Walczak

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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Fun From Around the Web

  • Cell Phone Batteries

    “Let your cell phone battery run down very low — not fully discharged, but almost — every single time. Doing so will extend the life of your battery another full year… or more!” it’s true, i’m not try it.

  • Randall Moore

    This article is dead wrong, according to its own sources. The number of times a battery can be recharged is also dependent on on far it is DIScharged. Keeping your battery charged increases the number of times it can be charged, and the overall lifespan.

  • Mike

    Ought to be a rule, no posts without a date. How old is this freaking post?

  • Jack

    “Let your cell phone battery run down very low — not fully discharged, but almost — every single time. Doing so will extend the life of your battery another full year… or more! Thanks Batteries Plus. (Guess that’s why they’re “America’s Battery Experts”)”

    You ma’am are either a COMPLETE idiot, or you are on the payroll for Batteries Plus. For everyone else who has a lick of sense: DO NOT FOLLOW THE BAD ADVICE OF THIS ARTICLE. There is a reason it flies in the face of conventional advice. Because its advice is *wrong*. You normally should not let your lithium cell phone battery run down below 19-20%, except every 30 charges or so (where you recondition it with a full rundown and charge). Follow the advice of the scientific and NON-BIASED “Battery University” site.