Is it OK to use your smartphone while charging? Let’s find out

Charging smartphones is extremely quick these days, thanks to the advancements in charging technologies. With some smartphones going from 0 to 100% in just a matter of minutes, we don’t have to wait long to enjoy our favorite shows, play our favorite games, or do anything to our heart’s content. But when it comes to whether we should use our smartphones while charging, some people might say, that’s not a big deal, while others might warn us against something as bad as a deadly blast or end up with a dead phone. 

So what’s the truth behind using smartphones while charging? Is it bad to use phones while charging? Today I will try to answer this question on How2shout. You might already be sure that the question can’t be answered in one word, and hence I am here with a whole story. By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of whether to use your smartphone while charging and the possible consequences.

So, without any further delay, let’s get started with whether it is OK to use your smartphone while charging.

The short answer

Smartphones are extremely smart these days, and they are equipped with an assortment of sensors to keep them safe, and for other activities. If using smartphones while charging is dangerous, manufacturers can easily implement a mechanism to power the phone off immediately after a charger is connected, just like most Bluetooth earphones and other wearables these days. Trust me, onboarding such a mechanism is dirt cheap, compared to how expensive these gadgets are. 

So, you can safely rule out the possibility of a blast, or having a dead phone in hand simply because you are using it while charging. But wait, this applies as long as you are considering the safety precautions that I will discuss later.

Diving deep into the topic

But if this was so straightforward, why do we hear people saying not to use the phones while charging, and why do they worry in the first place? No, these are not vague rumors. There will be consequences if you make it a habit of extensively using smartphones while charging. So, let me answer the question from a broader perspective.

A brief idea of how phones are charged

Let’s first find out how your smartphone battery gets charged when you connect it to the charger or a power bank, and how it changes when you are using it while charging.

Generally speaking, modern smartphones split the incoming power to charge the battery, keep the smartphone switched on, and help it carry out all the on-demand tasks. No, the battery isn’t used to keep your phone running while it is charging. 

The phone will draw the required power to keep the smartphone powered on and carry out the on-demand activities, and the remaining power will be used to charge the battery. When your smartphone is fully charged, the whole output from the charger is used to power your phone.

Slow charging will be the first issue

Based on how extensively you are using your smartphone while charging, even more power will be used to operate the phone, with very limited power available for charging, and the whole charging process will be slow. So, slower charging will be the first consequence that you will face, if you use your smartphone while charging. We will find the other potential problems shortly.

Tricke charge (but you can’t do a lot about it)

Something that I haven’t discussed yet is the matter related to the trickle charge. When a smartphone is ON and is charging, ideally the charger should fulfill the power requirements of your smartphone. But a very small amount of electricity from the battery still leaks into the circuit, due to manufacturing defects, and simply because electronics are not perfectly built.

This trickle charge causes battery decay, but that isn’t significant. The only way to keep trickle charge at bay is to power off the phone while charging. As that isn’t a practical solution to cater to everybody, this is not a solution, and hence we will have to deal with this problem and be a silent spectator of the extremely gradual decay of the battery.

Heat is the next culprit

But, if you are using your phone to do some heavy activities like playing games, downloading files, etc. while charging your phone, it leads to a problem. When the phone is being actively used, it releases some heat. At the same time, the temperature of the battery rises due to the chemical reactions going on within the battery while charging. 

These two cause the overall temperature of the battery to rise, and hence it impacts the battery’s lifespan. Yes, just like every other electronics, heat can also kill your battery slowly. However, if you are using the smartphone while charging once in a while, it is OK, but you shouldn’t make it a habit.

You won’t enjoy using your phone while it is charging

Smartphones today, as I mentioned at the beginning, are built with sensors to limit electricity flow if the temperature goes beyond a limit. These sensors can eventually make the process slower, and if things go wrong, the sensors suspect a thermal runaway, It might power off totally, and won’t charge unless the smartphone, and hence the battery cools down.

So, the takeaway here is, that you can use your smartphone while charging, as long as you are not carrying out power-intensive tasks. So, if you are replying to someone on WhatsApp, or reading news, it won’t have a significant impact on your smartphone, and the battery. But it is still recommended to not use the phone at all while charging.

Considering the adequate safeguards, if you still plan to use your phone extensively while charging, without worrying about slow charging, you won’t enjoy using it. Your phone gets warm while doing intensive tasks, and when it is charging, it becomes hot due to the combined heat from the ongoing task and charging. You end up with frame drops if you are gaming, stuttering, and other performance issues.

Use certified chargers and original batteries

Some users find cheap replacements for their smartphone batteries when they die out, or cheap chargers from the store if the charger out of the box stops functioning. You should never do that as that severely impacts your smartphone, or can even lead to explosions for obvious reasons.

Original batteries come with safeguards to control the amount of electricity while charging or limit the output in case the battery starts swelling or starts to overheat. These safeguards require additional expenses, and such essential corners are cut in cheap batteries which eventually make the batteries hazardous for use.

The same applies to cheap chargers, where the components used are not good enough for your smartphone’s or its battery’s health. That said if you are using a cheap charger and battery on your smartphone, that can be a deadly combination to kill your smartphone. It is never recommended to use such cheap replacements, and the chances of a mishap increase if you are using such cheap replacements, and are using your phone extensively while charging.

However, you can always use chargers that are designed for other smartphones, or certified chargers from the store. But you should check the ratings. In such a case, your smartphone might charge slowly, as most fast-charging technologies these days are proprietary, but if you are OK with longer charging times, you can use such chargers safely.

Hope you now have an idea of whether you should use your smartphone while charging. Do you still have any questions? Feel free to comment on the same below.