Modern smartphones, tablets and laptops with lithium-ion batteries take a lot of charging. But when's best? Is overnight too much? Does keeping it topped up damage the battery?

We've tried to dispel myths and clarify how your phone, tablet and laptop batteries work so you can get the longest life out of them day to day and in the long run.

The myth about overcharging your phone is a common one. The amount of charge going into your device shouldn't be an issue as most are smart enough to stop taking a charge once full, just topping up as needed to stay at 100 per cent.

The problems occur when the battery overheats, which can cause damage. To avoid this it's best to remove any case on your phone when charging over night. It’s also best to leave the phone on a flat, hard surface so the heat can dissipate easily.

So it's perfectly safe to charge your phone overnight, just make sure it doesn't suffer from overheating.

Battery memory is a pretty old concept that applied more to Ni-Cad batteries of old, rather than modern lithium-ion packs. So where you previously thought letting a battery fully dissipate before charging was best you now need to do the opposite.

A lithium-ion battery is best kept between 50 per cent and 80 per cent charged so as to use the charged ions and keep battery life prolonged. So charging in short bursts throughout the day is probably the best way to keep your phone going in both the short and long term.

While you can use any charger for a lot of phones, like Android devices, it's best to use the official one.

Chargers from the big brand names have been checked, checked and rechecked to perfection. Once you start using third party chargers you're entering risky territory where you may end up damaging your battery without realising it.

Where charging from nothing to full may have been good in the past we've got to reiterate it's now the opposite. Your lithium-ion battery has a limited number of charge cycles so it's best not to use them up.

Rather than letting your laptop, phone or tablet completely die and then charge it from scratch you're better off to keep the battery topped up with lots of small charges, rather than a full cycle. If you do use full charge cycles you'll find the battery suddenly stops taking as much charge and loses it faster and faster as it breaks down.

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