Lithium Ion batteryThe memory effect is probably one of the biggest influences on our mobile device and ereader usage habits around. Mobile users worldwide habitually let their devices run down before recharging to max out the batteries’ finite number of recharge cycles. In the classic RPG computer game Deus Ex, there’s even a memorable scene where the cyborg villain Walton Simons is counseled to cure his persistent headaches by not keeping his implant batteries at full charge. Now a release from Verizon claims that the memory effect is a myth.

“If you are using a relatively new smartphone or tablet equipped with a lithium ion battery, that ‘memory effect’ doesn’t apply to you,” Verizon declares. “Your device battery can achieve a full charge regardless of the amount of charge present, at least when the battery is relatively new and has not been completely run down.”

Now whatever you think of Verizon’s customer service, they’re not likely to be trying to screw with their subscribers’ batteries. So presumably this represents state-of-the-art thinking on mobile battery optimization. And to help out still further, Verizon has shared Apples’ series of tips on getting the best from mobile batteries.

“Old NiCad batteries did have a ‘memory effect,’ but they have largely been replaced by the lighter-weight, more efficient lithium ion batteries in newer wireless devices,” Verizon continues. “Lithium batteries don’t have a ‘memory effect,’ but some people do – and they keep remembering how the older style batteries worked.”

So now you can plug in your device to recharge before bedtime and leave it on the charging stand, knowing that you’re not ruining its battery in the process. And for devices like Amazon’s $50 Fire tablet that don’t have a replaceable battery, that’s obviously a comfort.

Walton Simons battery


  1. Here’s a link to an article about lithium ion batteries:

    That also applies to lithium polymer batteries which are just a less rigid version of the same thing.

    What is commonly called the memory effect did exist in NiCad batteries. For the most part they were replaced with NiMh batteries in electronics and then with lithium ion. Neither of those had anything like the memory effect. In fact discharging them fully shortens their life a little, it doesn’t prolong it.

    I’ve been reading articles explaining this for over a decade. It’s not a new idea.


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