Apple’s Optimized Battery Charging

Have you ever wondered why devices seem to drain their battery faster only a few months after being purchased? This phenomenon can be attributed to overcharging, which occurs when a lithium ion battery is left charging past 100% while the device is still turned on, causing damage over time. Overcharging affects all devices with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, from laptops to wireless headphones. This article will focus on Apple’s overcharging solution for their mobile devices; it’s limitations, and contrasts it with LAVA’s consumer-oriented overcharging solution, the Charge Check.

When Apple launched its IOS version 13 in September 2019, the Optimized Battery Charging feature was introduced. Optimized Battery Charging limits battery degradation in Apple devices by minimizing the length of time a device spends overcharging. Available on iOS version 13 up to version 14.4.2 (latest IOS version), the software tracks the user’s habitual charging patterns and adjusts the battery settings to ensure that the device completes charging when the user typically unplugs it. The device charges to 80% when initially plugged in, and the software maintains the battery’s charge at that level before charging the remaining 20% within the established time frame. Therefore, the amount of overcharging is significantly reduced. The software predicts when the user will unplug their phone, and starts the remaining charge an hour or two before the predicted time. For example, if the user unplugs their phone everyday at 7 am, the device can detect this pattern and start charging the remaining 20% at 5 am.  

That being said, Optimized Battery Charging also has its limitations. If the user doesn’t unplug their mobile device at the time the software predicted, the battery would still overcharge. Furthermore, it can take up to 5 days for the algorithm to establish an initial charging pattern, or adapt to a new routine. Thus, it only works effectively when a consistent charging schedule and location, such as work and home, are set and adhered to. For example, this kind of solution would be ideal for someone who only charges their phone at home overnight, but may not be well suited to a user who travels frequently and charges their device sporadically.

While Apple designed their overcharge prevention technology to be integrated with their proprietary software, LAVA’s overcharging solution for mobile devices takes a different approach. The Charge Check is a unique external device that can be used with a range of mobile devices such as phones, tablets, speakers, and even cameras. As a standalone device, it is not limited by habitual charging patterns and provides a universally applicable solution for USB charging devices.

Equipped with our Continuously Active Battery Modulation (CABM) technology, the Charge Check allows the battery to charge between two charge level thresholds, an upper limit of about 90-98% and a lower limit determined by the discharge time. Discharge time is the length of time the battery stops charging for once it reaches the upper threshold. It is set at 3 hours by default, but can be customized by the user if they so desire.

At the end of the day, overcharging is a reality that all devices with lithium ion batteries will encounter. The value of LAVA and Apple’s solutions is the extent to which battery degradation can be limited, and how long the device can maintain its energy-holding capacity relative to the time it is used. Although Optimized Battery Charging offers a convenient solution via charging pattern tracking, its effectiveness depends on the user establishing a consistent charging pattern, and is limited to Apple devices. By comparison, LAVA’s Charge Check addresses overcharging with a unique plug-and-play external solution that automatically modulates battery charging levels for a range of devices and grants the user effective protection beyond habitual charging times and locations.

At LAVA we believe in sharing our knowledge and experience to offer insight on the technological challenges of today, and by leveraging our expertise in fields such as lithium-ion batteries we hope to inspire others to have meaningful discussions and uncover innovative solutions of their own. If you wish to learn more about the Charge Check visit https://lavaaccessory.com or give us a call at 416-674-5924.

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