Wondering what is battery calibration and how to calibrate a smartphone battery? Don’t worry, we covered this in a separate article. You can indeed go through the entire process mindlessly and get the job done. However, it wouldn’t hurt to understand why you are doing it, how often you should do it, and how it benefits you and your smartphone. Hint: it has to do with checking your smartphone battery health most often. To be precise, the term can refer to batteries of any device or equipment with a portable battery. With that in mind, let’s get into what is battery calibration and why it concerns you at all.
What is Battery calibration?
To calibrate something means to correlate it with the readings of something else, usually a standard scale. Battery calibration is the process of calibrating the battery in order to help the system accurately measure the battery percentage and related information. The below image is a representation of what happens to the accuracy of measurements when you calibrate a battery –
We have two values to consider while talking about battery calibration –
1. Chemical state of the battery
There’s no way to reliably gauge electrochemical storage in your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any device that uses a portable battery. It constantly changes between charges and is prone to decay over time. To get an as accurate reading as possible, science uses the so-called coulomb counting. It means fully charging the battery, then fully discharging it, and measuring the difference.
The two anchor points – the “fully charged” and “fully discharged” values help the built-in battery management system create an estimate of the battery juice left and the time remaining. Why is it useful, even though it gets more inaccurate with time? Constantly measuring these two values requires equipment and is impractical.
2. Software power control
Software battery percentage can work with or independently of the battery management system. It displays the percentage of the USABLE battery left on the screen of your device in percentages, not the TOTAL one. The manufacturers made it that way deliberately because there is no better alternative except constant calibration.
Its purpose is to warn the users to save their work to prevent data loss or grab the charger before the device shuts down. Even if it does shut down, the battery management system always has enough charge left to protect the battery from damage. Case in point, you can set the “low battery warning” at any percentage between 1% and 15%, it’s for your benefit only.
Explanation of “full charge” and “full discharge”
We’ll summarize a battery calibration definition of updating “fully charged” and “fully discharged” flags given by Battery University. To maintain the battery accuracy, it needs to be calibrated by setting three flags. The first is a “fully charged” flag, the second “fully discharged”, and the third a “fully charged” flag again. The linear lines between these 3 anchors are used to make measurements for battery recalibration. As you can see, contrary to popular belief, you should always start the process with a fully charged battery.
The problem with the explanation above
If you read our explanation, you would’ve spotted the inconsistency right away. How can I know where the anchor points are if the reading on my screen is inaccurate? That’s exactly it – your phone might turn off at supposedly 0% while the on-screen percentage should be at 10%, plus an electrochemical reserve. Likewise, you might unplug the charger at 100% while the on-screen charge should be at 90%. That’s just it – the people at Battery University are referring to the electrochemical charge, and are reading values using specialized equipment, not a smart device screen.
When should I calibrate the battery and how often?
Obviously, if a battery is brand new, the anchor points are far off from the real state. This is because it lacks data it can reference. Now you know why the manufacturer’s user guide has strict charging instructions before booting devices with portable batteries for the first time.
After the first calibration, you can do it periodically – once a month or two months. We know this can be tedious, and many people only discover the process when they ask themselves, “why is my battery draining so fast? For the people who aren’t too concerned, adhere to the smartphone battery charging tips, and try to do it at least 2 or 3 times a year.