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VERIFY: Keeping phone plugged in too long, too often will degrade battery over time

Experts conclude it’s OK to leave your device plugged up overnight, but repeatedly charging it past full will weaken the battery.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Think about how many times a day you hook up a device to a charger. Whether you're running at zero percent -- or you're just topping off -- all those charges add up. And, if you use your phone or iPad frequently during the day, you likely find yourself plugging it up before bed to let it juice up overnight.


A WFMY News 2 viewer e-mailed the VERIFY team asking, "My husband says that if you leave a device plugged into the charger, after it's fully-charged, it ruins the battery. Is that true?"



UBreakIFix manager Keleigh Hoats explained, "Modern cell phone batteries are smart enough to know that once they reach 100%, they aren't really gonna keep on charging. It is going to cause a constant 'trickle charge,' and that is going to give off some heat and degrade the battery over time, but technically, in the long run, it's fine."

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However, you should consider following these tips:

  1. If you wake up during the night, unplug your device to prevent constant 'trickle charging.'
  2. Consider buying a 'smart plug' and set the schedule for the charger to turn off. 
  3. Since 'trickle charging' can generate heat, especially if your device has a case, never put the phone underneath other devices or under your pillow.
  4. Always use an 'OEM' product, meaning a part from the 'Original Equipment Manufacturer.'

Hoats explained, "Samsung, Google, Apple (for example)...if it's specifically from that company and labeled as such, that's how you know it's an OEM product. Now if you buy something from a retailer, such as Walmart, Target, if it's not actually stamped by the manufacturer, it's going to be a non-OEM product. Non-OEM products are not going to be rated to the same specification as an OEM charger."


We verified yes, it's true -- leaving your device charging after it's fully-charged can degrade the battery over time. 

But, Hoats noted it'll typically take two years to do that, so don't worry if you fall asleep with your phone charging.

She also suggested letting your battery get down to 20-30%, but not 0%, before re-charging. And, if your battery isn't working properly or starts overheating, take it to a professional to have it serviced.

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Do you have a VERIFY inquiry? Submit a selfie video of the question and include any related links or screen shots. Send to:

E-mail: VERIFY@wfmy.com or Facebook: Meghann Mollerus News.