Why Use Lithium-ion Batteries?
Lithium-ion batteries are quite the stars compared to their older battery cousins. They're a speedy bunch, charging up quicker, and they stick around for the long haul, lasting a good while longer. Plus, they pack a big power punch in a little package, giving you more battery life without weighing you down. And guess what? Once you get to grips with how they tick, they'll do an even better job for you!
Pioneer work with the lithium battery began in 1912 under G.N. Lewis but it was not until the early 1970s when the first non-rechargeable lithium batteries became commercially available. lithium is the lightest of all metals, has the greatest electrochemical potential and provides the largest energy density for weight.
Quick for the rush, slow for the endurance.
Your Apple gadget's lithium-ion battery employs a clever strategy: it uses fast charging to hit 80% of its capacity in a snap, then it shifts gears to a leisurely, slow charging pace. How fast it gets to that 80% can change a bit, depending on your settings and the device you're powering up. Sometimes, the software might put a cap on charging beyond 80% if the battery temperatures get a bit too toasty. This smart two-step process means you're ready to roll quicker, and it also gives your battery a longer, happier life.
Charging is a breeze
You can juice up your Apple lithium-ion battery whenever you fancy. There's absolutely no need to wait for it to run down to 0% before you recharge. These batteries operate on charge cycles. A complete cycle occurs when you've used (or discharged) an amount that adds up to 100% of your battery's capacity - but it doesn't have to be all at once. For example, you might use 75% of your battery's capacity in one day, then top it up to full overnight. If you then use another 25% the next day, that's a total of 100% used – bingo, that's one charge cycle. A cycle might even span several days. Of course, like all batteries, the capacity of a lithium-ion battery will decrease a smidge with each full charge cycle. But here's the good news - Apple's lithium-ion batteries are engineered to retain at least 80% of their initial capacity for a significant number of these cycles, although the exact number can vary between different products.
What are the downsides of Litium-ion batteries?
The lifespan of lithium-ion batteries is a matter that raises eyebrows, with many manufacturers often keeping mum on this topic. It's not unusual to see some loss in capacity after a year, regardless of whether the battery is being used or not. Typically, these batteries tend to give up the ghost after two or three years. It's worth mentioning, though, that this age-related decline isn't exclusive to lithium-ion - other types of batteries, like nickel-metal-hydride, especially when exposed to high temperatures, also experience similar issues. Apple try to extend the life of the battery by slowing down the device so that it doesn't draw as much power. This can mean that replacing the battery in your phone gets you a faster phone.
The technology behind lithium-ion batteries isn't standing still. Manufacturers are tirelessly working on upgrades, rolling out new and improved chemical mixtures roughly every six months. With such swift advancements, it can be a bit of a challenge to gauge the aging process of the newly enhanced batteries.
Keeping lithium-ion batteries in a cool spot - don't leave your iPhone out in the sun - can help put the brakes on their aging process, regardless of the battery type. Manufacturers advise storing these batteries at around 15°C (or 59°F). It's also a good idea to leave them partially charged during storage - the magic number here is around 40–50%%. So, every now and again just power up the device and charge it to around 50% and then put it back on the shelf.