batteries

How to Prolong Your Device's Battery

There's a lot of conflicting information about how to properly care for a lithium-ion battery (the kind of battery that is in your smartphone). There are basic things we know are bad for batteries, including extreme temperatures (hot or cold), overcharging, and complete discharging. Fortunately modern devices, including all smartphones today, are built to protect the battery automatically. For example, your phone will shut down before the battery is completely depleted, and it won't allow it to overcharge either.

Is it best to keep my smartphone plugged in whenever possible?

Motorola Moto G4 charging

Episode 1539

Mike from Culver City, CA

Mike has a Motorola G4 and he wants to know if it's best for his battery to keep the phone plugged in whenever possible. There's been articles that claim it's best to do it differently, though. Leo says there's a lot of lore about lithium ion batteries, and Leo isn't even convinced that we understand how they really work. Leo gets his information from BatteryUniversity.com.

How can I stop robocalls?

woman on phone

Episode 1531

Jessie from Durango, CO

Jessie keeps getting robocalls and the numbers they get are either disconnected or bogus. Leo says that they are bogus, and according to a recent survey, by 2019, 80% of cell phone calls will be robocalls. And nobody knows what to do about it. Most are from overseas. They forge the caller ID, and will even do it with the recipient's area code and prefix. The reality is, legitimate companies will not be calling. They'll be using mail. Jessie can log her number into the DoNotCall.Gov database.

Why won't my laptop charge?

Battery

Episode 1531

Karen from California

Karen's laptop has stopped charging. It's 10 years old. Leo says that her laptop has a lithium ion battery and it has probbaly just worn out. They won't take a charge after about 500 recharges, and after 10 years, it's very likely that's what it is. But Windows 10 has a feature in the command line. She can get to it by pressing the Windows key, and then typing CMD and enter. Then she should type "powercfg /batteryreport." This will give her a report on her battery's health. It gets saved to the hard drive and she can open it with her browser.

Should I replace my iPhone battery?

Apple iPhone SE

Episode 1530

Max from West LA, CA

Larry wants to know if he should spend the $29 to replace his iPhone SE battery considering the battery is over 80% capacity. Leo says that the charging capacity will continue to drop as he continues to recharge the battery since there's only a limited number of recharges he can have. But having said that, with over 80% capacity, he's probably alright. Realistically, replacing the battery will probably only add six months to that phone's life. But the battery replacement on the iPhone SE is $79, not $29.

Why doesn't my new laptop battery work?

Lithium Ion Battery

Episode 1513

Chris from Burbank, CA

Chris is having issues with his old Dell laptop. The battery has died. Leo says that Lithium ion batteries have a limit of about 500 charges and then they simply die. If he can pop out the battery, he can plug it into his AC adapter and run it. But he can get get a new battery for it as well. Chris did that and it still doesn't work. Leo suspects it's a third party battery that won't work on that Dell. It's likely a knock off.

Does FileVault slow down Macs?

FileVault

Episode 1470

Laurie from Santa Monica, CA

Laurie has been having shut down issues on her MacBook Pro and has been told by an Apple Genius that it's because of FileVault being turned on. Is that causing problems? Leo says absolutely not. That doesn't impact the Mac at all. There's no hit to performance either. FileVault is a good idea because it will keep her data encrypted in case her laptop gets stolen. Leo says what's more likely the case is that her battery is bad and that Apple will replace it.

How can I get data off a dead iPod?

iPod

Episode 1447

Paul from Montecito, CA

Paul has an iPod with some unreplaceable media on it. It won't let him charge anymore and he's afraid he's lost his media. Leo says it depends on how old it is. He should look on the back and see what the model number is. Chances are, the battery just doesn't hold a charge anymore. He may be able to replace the battery. Before he does that, though, he should try and get it powered up by connecting it to his computer. If it powers up, then he can get the data off with iTunes. If not, that model iPod has a spinning hard drive in it, so he could remove it.