Why Is Your Phone Battery Draining While Charging? (Explained)

“Ugh! Why is my battery going down while charging?” Yup, we’ve all been there — plugging in our smartphone to charge overnight, only to wake up and see that it’s either drained or barely has enough battery to last a whole day. That can’t slide, especially in this particular day and age when our smartphones are our lifelines, our easiest medium of communication and in some cases, primary work devices.

The batteries of the devices we use are what keep them up and running, so when an issue like a draining phone battery when it’s supposed to be charging comes up, it leaves smartphone users all around the world scratching their heads.

Scroll through and let’s dive deep into the science of phone charging while getting to know the primary culprits behind this irritating problem together.

Why is my battery going down while charging?

Teenage Boy Holding Smart Phone with Low Battery

Let’s start with the basics and take a closer look at the charging process to understand the issue at hand.

After you plug your charger into your phone, it receives electrical energy from the charger and converts it into stored power for your phone’s battery. In this process, there are two critical components involved: voltage and current.

Voltage and current: what’s that supposed to mean?

Voltage is the force of the electrical energy running through your charger into your phone, while current is that energy’s flow. Together, they affect how fast your phone charges.

To ensure the best efficiency while charging, your phone should be in a room with a temperature between 0°C to 35°C (32°F to 95°F). Additionally, it’s key to use charger cables and adapters approved by your device's manufacturer. Cables and adapters not approved by the manufacturer may not be able to provide your phone with the same amount of power at all times, causing damage to your phone’s battery.

Common misconceptions

Photo Of Cord Near Socket

Everyone has something to say about the best charging practices, just as how I know you and I do. For example, some believe you have to drain your phone battery completely before you charge it, while others theorize that keeping your phone plugged in from night until morning does more harm to the battery than good.

So, what’s the deal?

To debunk those myths, let me tell you the truth: modern smartphones are equipped with lithium-ion batteries that don’t require a completely drained battery before it is deemed safe for recharging. Furthermore, charging overnight is usually safe due to built-in mechanisms within smartphones that prevent something called overcharging. But here’s something to keep in mind: keeping your phone at 100% for prolonged periods may be the one to damage your battery over time.

Background processes and apps

While your phone is charging, it’s not completely off. A lot of the applications, services, and sometimes even games still run in the background — and they consume power. Before you Google why these background processes are a feature in smartphones, well, it’s because “Background App Refresh” is essential for tasks like email syncing, updates, and connectivity maintenance.

What can I do?

This is an important thing to keep in mind because some apps are more power-hungry than the rest. Social media apps, for example, can have quite an impact on your battery life, especially if they're left running while your phone is charging. 

Personally, I suggest you close unnecessary apps or get to know your phone’s battery optimization settings better to lessen your apps’ background consumption. However, when your device’s battery is quickly draining and it’s time to sound the alarm, you can let your friends and family know and help you out with a great new iOS 14 feature called Battery Sharing.

Software and firmware updates

Photo of Settings app in iPhone

It’s not uncommon to hear a rumor or two about malicious software and firmware updates by phone companies. However, it is important to note that software and firmware updates are more than just flashy new features, they are direct responses from companies implementing better optimization for your phone including bug fixes that can improve battery life. Therefore, ignoring these updates could potentially lead to inefficiencies in your phone’s power management.

Where can I check for updates?

Ensure your phone is running the latest software appropriate for it by going to Settings > Software Update or System Update

Here’s a tip from me to you: make it a habit to install updates to improve your phone’s battery performance, because when you ask experts about why your battery is going down while charging, updates are not going to be the answer.

Charging cable and port quality 

Man holding charger with on his work table

The quality of your charging cable matters. Low-quality cables are not going to provide a stable connection for your phone, leading to interruptions in charging and even discharging your battery. Investing in high-quality cables can make a significant difference, so save up for a good one, and rest assured that it’ll last for a remarkably long time compared to the ones at the dollar store.

Clean, clean, clean!

When asking yourself, “Why is my battery going down while charging?” It could be due to dust and debris that are accumulating in the charging ports on your phone over time, which could affect the charging process. To tackle this, people use a handful of tools, but the most common ones are using compressed air or a soft brush to gently clean the phone port. Be very gentle with your cleaning so as to not damage anything in the process.

Temperature and environmental factors

White Thermostat Hanging on the Wall

There is a specific temperature you need in your environment to achieve the best battery health and charging efficiency. Ideally, charge your phone in a room-temperature environment of around 0°C to 35°C (32°F to 95°F). Avoid exposing your device to excessive heat or cold temperatures, as this might lead to overheating, condensation, and corrosion.

Watch out for the humidity!

Additionally, humidity levels play a role in charging efficiency. Even bulky protective cases can have a few cons since they hinder heat dissipation which leads to the slowing of the charging process. Striking a balance between protection and heat dissipation is crucial for your phone’s battery to thrive.

Battery health and calibration

Turned on Black Iphone 7 Displaying Hello

Even though lithium-ion batteries are designed to last longer than the old generation batteries, they still degrade. Over time, users will find that they can't hold as much charge as when they were fresh from the store. To make sure your phone’s battery health stays on top of its game, avoid consistently charging your phone to 100% and keep it between 20% and 80% whenever possible.

Another thing you should know about: Battery calibration. Basically, it is a process that ensures your phone consistently reports its battery percentage accurately. It's essential to recalibrate your battery periodically, especially if you notice inconsistencies in the reported charge.

How can I calibrate my battery?

Calibrating your battery is most important when you start to notice inconsistencies in your battery’s behavior – such as your phone shutting down unexpectedly or an alarming drop in battery level. To get you caught up, here’s how to calibrate your phone’s battery:

  1. 1
    Use your phone normally: Get your battery percentage anywhere between 20% to 30%.
  2. 2
    Charge to 100% without interruption: After you successfully wear your battery percentage to 20% to 30%, charge your phone to 100% without ever unplugging it.
  3. 3
    Let your phone get some rest: After your phone reaches 100%, let it sit for 2 hours before using it again, allowing your battery to fully calibrate.
  4. 4
    Restart: When it’s done resting, let it restart and recognize the true calibrated battery percentage.
  5. 5
    Check battery percentage: It should now be more accurate and reflect your phone’s true charge level.
  6. 6
    Repeat (If necessary).

Some tips:

  • Avoid fast charging: Stick to your phone’s standard charger or use a charger with a lower output. 
  • Don’t use your phone while charging: While it is tempting, using your phone while charging can disrupt its calibration process.

Troubleshooting and solutions

Man in White Dress Shirt holding phone while looking at laptop

If you're still facing issues with your phone's battery draining while charging, here's a checklist to help troubleshoot:

  • Check your phone’s cable and charger quality.
  • Close background apps that aren’t important.
  • Ensure your phone is running the latest software and is updated.
  • Clean the charging port gently.
  • Charge your phone in an optimal environment with the recommended temperature.
  • Peek at battery health and performance and consider calibration.

In most cases, following the handy checklist above should resolve the problem. However, if you’re still scratching your head about why your battery is going down while charging even after following the checklist, it may be time to consult a professional or start saving up for a battery replacement.

Final thoughts

Learning how to take care of your phone and adopting good charging habits can change your battery’s lifespan for the better, helping make sure that you’re never caught with a drained battery right when you need it most.

Explore more insightful articles related to device optimization on the Marketing Catalyst website. Discover how data and analytics can empower you to make smarter decisions for your devices. At Marketing Catalyst, we're a team committed to empowering individuals like you through knowledge and data-driven insights. 

Remember, your smartphone's battery is a valuable asset. With the right knowledge and practices, you can ensure it serves you efficiently and reliably, powering your digital life seamlessly.

About the Author Peter K.

Peter K. is an experienced digital marketer with a decade of expertise in driving business growth through innovative strategies. His data-driven approach and deep understanding of SEO, PPC, social media, and content marketing have propelled brands to new heights. With a client-centric mindset, Peter builds strong relationships and aligns strategies with business goals. A sought-after thought leader and speaker, his insights have helped professionals navigate the digital landscape. Trust Peter to elevate your brand and achieve success in the digital era.

Android and iOS
Android and iOS
Android and iOS
Peter K.

April 3, 2024

Android and iOS
Android and iOS
Peter K.

February 28, 2024