charging

Is it OK to Keep my Smartphone Plugged in and Charging?

Lithium-ion battery

Episode 1575

Richard from West LA, CA

Richard wants to know if keeping his laptop and smartphone plugged in all the time will damage it. Leo says that there is great debate about it. It's not really bad to keep them plugged in at all. What's worse would be completely discharging or overheating them. Lithium-ion batteries also have circuitry designed to keep from overcharging. Check out Battery University for details on the life of batteries. 

Do I have a virus on my Android phone?

Episode 1417

Diane from Oxnard, CA

Diane got a message that said "downloading virus" when she went to a website on her Android phone. Leo says that's a bogus popup designed to scare her into downloading something. There's no legitimate message on her phone warning her that it will download a virus. She has a blank screen now, though. Leo says that is probably coincidental. It sounds like her phone's screen has gone out, or she could have a bad charging cable or clogged charging port preventing it to charge. There is a forced recovery mode for Android to bring it back up.

Is it harmful to use an external battery with my iPhone?

Apple iPhone Battery Case

Episode 1254

Kenny from Temple, TX

Leo says it isn't harmful at all, and Apple even sells an external battery for the iPhone 6/6s. In general with these charging cases, when you charge the case it will also charge the phone. On the Mophie cases, there's a switch for when you want to switch to the battery. When it comes to Lithium Ion batteries, though, the best thing to do is keep it charging. The battery will last longer if it stays charged vs charging and discharging. It's definitely not good to let it fully drain.

Why does my iPad give me a warning message that my charging cable isn't supported?

Episode 1242

Carl from Corona, CA

Carl got a cheap $2 charging cable for his iPad online, and now he's getting a message on his iPad that it isn't supported. Leo says that Apple has a proprietary cable for syncing data and charging devices. Leo suspects he'd probably be able to charge his iPad with that cable just fine, but he won't be able to sync the data. When buying a cable, he should look for "MFi Certified." Those cables are made to work with Apple devices. Apple licenses that cable technology, so he won't ever find an MFi Certified cable for cheap.

Why isn't my laptop charging?

Episode 1222

David from Los Angeles, CA

David is getting a low battery warning even though he's got his laptop plugged in. Leo says that a UPC battery backup could trigger that, as could the surge protector if it's malfunctioning. Both will prevent his laptop from charging if they are defective. The good news is that a laptop is built robust enough that he doesn't really need a surge protector.

Why am I getting an error message that my iPad doesn't support the charger?

Tablet

Episode 1109

Dave from Victorville, CA

Dave has a generation 1 iPad and he's getting a message that the iPad doesn't support the charger that came with it. Leo says that it could be a short in the cable, so he should try another one. Or it could also be the connector itself. Connectors take a lot of wear and tear and it may be starting to wear out. Since it's an iPad 1, the battery is likely about to fail as well since they only have a life of 500 recharges. It's past time to upgrade. The chatroom says that Costco has some great deals on iPad Airs.

Why can't I charge my iPad with my Mac Mini?

Apple Mac Mini

Episode 1103

John from Murrieta, CA

John has a Mac Mini with a USB hub, but he can't charge his iPad with it. Leo says that the iPad requires 10 watts to power and re-charge it. Standard USB ports have about 5 volts, but the amperage varies. Apple broke the standard for charging with the iPad. The older ports won't charge iPads because they don't get 10w or power. Apple's own chargers work fine, and if he has a late model iPad Air, he should be able to. But for now, get an 11w charger and that'll do the job.

Does it hurt to leave my phone plugged in after it's finished charging?

Episode 1075

Tiff from Redding, PA

Tiff wants to know if it hurts the phone to keep it plugged in after it's done charging. Leo says it actually doesn't hurt it at all. Cellphones use Lithium Ion batteries and there's a limited number of full charge cycles. Keeping it plugged in when it's not being used preserves and improves the lifetime of the battery. It also has circuitry that prevents overcharging.