Battery memory effect refers in particular to the effect on NiCd and NiMH batteries that makes them seem to lose their full capacity after incorrectly charging little and often instead of letting them discharge fully. However, symptoms similar to true memory effect can also be problematic for many types of batteries, and all battery types can fall victim to problems that make it seem as though they are not holding a full charge and are running out of power too quickly.

The Lithium Ion batteries used in many smartphones  and laptops are designed to last for around 3-5 years and towards the end of their natural lifespan you will find that your device’s battery performance will start to drop. Luckily, there are some practices you can get used to performing in order to preserve your battery’s full use for as long as you can.

One of the main causes of perceived battery memory effect in small devices and laptops is incorrect charging routines, which can cause batteries to discharge quickly and reduce their lifespan. The first thing to do to prevent memory effect is to ensure you’re using a high quality charger, the best will often be the branded charger that came with your device. If you choose to buy another, make sure it is well made and has good reviews- cheap chargers can overcharge a battery resulting in voltage depression which makes it seem as though the battery is draining quickly and not holding a full charge.

Periodically clean the contacts on the charger and smartphone or other device with a Q tip and small amount of alcohol while both are turned off and unplugged from the mains. This will remove any grime and rust to ensure that power is transferred to the battery effectively and efficiently.

One of the main things that you should be doing to prevent memory effect with your devices is charging them little and often. This is in contrast to the usual instructions for stopping memory effect, but modern devices use Li Ion batteries which are affectedly in a different way to NiCd and NiMH batteries.

Top up the battery when you can to keep it higher than 50% and do shallow discharges (letting your battery percentage drop by 30 or 40% but never until the battery is drained of power completely). Much of the advice you hear tells to always discharge your device fully to 0% and then charge fully, but this should only be done a few times a month to ensure the health of your battery, definitely not all the time.

As stated above overcharging a battery can result in voltage depression and generally reduce its performance and lifespan. So try to remember to unplug your smartphone or device once it has reached full power and don’t leave it on the charger for long periods when it is fully charged, such as overnight.

The only exception to this is laptops which generally won’t be harmed by being kept plugged in while they’re being used. However, do remember to unplug them occasionally to let the battery drain and store them at around 50% charged when not in use for long periods of time. For laptops, the bigger issue in preventing battery memory is not allowing the battery to heat up and the use of a laptop stand or cooling mat will help this.

Finally, for smaller devices and smartphones, overheating can also be a big issue as this can reduce the working life of the battery. Prevent your device’s battery from getting too hot by not letting it sit in hot cars, direct sunlight or in your pocket on hot days. Dark coloured devices will become hotter in the sun much quicker than lighter or white devices, but these will still take in heat from the air and become very warm so use caution and always try to keep your device ventilated and in the shade.