Why Is My Phone Battery Draining While Charging?

Last Updated: July 17, 2023By
Smartphone charging on wooden desk

Smartphone batteries, the heart of our devices, often pose puzzling situations. One such conundrum is when the battery seems to drain instead of charging. This paradoxical issue is not only confusing but also frustrating, especially in our digitally dominated world where the smartphone acts as an essential tool for our daily activities.

Grasping the reasons behind this peculiar issue is vital, not only to ensure seamless phone usage but also to maintain the longevity of your device.

Understanding Smartphone Batteries

To begin our journey, we first need to understand the mechanics behind the crucial component in question – the smartphone battery. Modern smartphones are predominantly powered by lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries.

These rechargeable batteries consist of multiple cells, each containing three main components: a cathode, an anode, and an electrolyte.

The battery generates power through a process known as lithium-ion movement. When your phone is in use, lithium ions move from the positive cathode, through the electrolyte, to the negative anode.

This movement of ions creates the energy that powers your phone. Conversely, when charging, the ions move from the anode back to the cathode.

Charging Cycles and Battery Life

A key concept in understanding smartphone batteries is the “charging cycle.” A charging cycle refers to the process of charging a battery from 0% to 100% and then discharging it back to 0%.

Over time, the battery’s ability to hold a charge diminishes due to wear from these cycles.

It’s crucial to note that charging from 50% to 100% and then using up that 50% does not constitute a full charging cycle. Instead, it’s considered half a cycle. Therefore, it is not necessarily bad to charge your phone before it completely discharges.

Type of Batteries Used in Smartphones

As previously mentioned, the most common types of batteries found in smartphones are lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are popular due to their high energy density, meaning they can store a large amount of energy while remaining small in size. They also have a low self-discharge rate, which allows your phone to retain its charge while not in use.

Lithium-polymer batteries, on the other hand, are thinner and lighter than their lithium-ion counterparts. They also possess a lower chance of leakage. However, these batteries typically have a shorter lifespan and are more expensive to manufacture.

Unfolding the Reasons for Phone Battery Drain While Charging

Understanding the causes behind your phone’s battery drain while charging is the first step towards addressing the problem.

Using the Phone While Charging

This is a common reason for your phone battery to drain while charging. If you’re using the phone during the charging process, particularly for power-demanding activities like gaming, streaming, or using high-performance apps, your power usage can exceed the power supplied by the charger, leading to a decrease in battery level.

Battery Aging and Degradation

Every battery naturally degrades over time and with use. Each charging cycle slightly diminishes the battery’s capacity, and over time, this can lead to a significant decrease in performance.

An older or heavily used battery might not hold a charge as efficiently as it once did, leading to possible drainage during charging.

Poor Quality or Inappropriate Charger

Chargers come in varying qualities and power outputs. Using a charger that delivers lower power output than what your phone requires, or a poor-quality charger, can result in inefficient charging.

Consequently, your phone’s power usage could outpace the charging speed, causing the battery level to drop.

Apps and Processes Running in the Background

Even when you’re not actively using your phone, many apps and processes run in the background.

These applications can consume significant power. If the power demand of these background activities surpasses the charging input, your battery could deplete even while charging.

Phone Software Issues

At times, the issue could be software-related rather than hardware. Software glitches, potentially stemming from an operating system update, can cause a surge in power usage and inefficient charging, leading to a decrease in battery level during charging.

Environmental Factors: Exposure to Heat/Cold

Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can affect your smartphone battery’s performance. Such conditions can cause your battery to behave erratically, including potential drainage while charging.

Battery Calibration Issues

The software in your phone that measures the battery level may sometimes fall out of sync with the actual battery capacity – a phenomenon known as a calibration issue. This could cause your phone to display a decrease in battery level while charging, even if the actual capacity isn’t decreasing.

How to Prevent Your Phone Battery from Draining While Charging

Now that we understand the common reasons behind battery drain while charging, we can look at several steps you can take to prevent this issue.

Recommendations for Phone Use During Charging

Limit the use of your phone while it’s charging to avoid power consumption that outpaces the power input. Try to avoid activities that require high power, like gaming or streaming, until after your phone has fully charged.

Importance of Using the Right Charger

Always use a charger and cable that’s compatible with your phone. These should ideally be the ones provided by the manufacturer, as they are designed to provide the optimal power output for your specific device.

Avoid using low-quality or non-branded chargers, as they might not charge your phone efficiently and could potentially even damage your battery over time.

Methods to Manage Apps and Background Processes

Close any unnecessary apps running in the background while your phone is charging. Also, consider using battery-saving modes available on most smartphones, which can limit background activity and hence reduce power consumption.

Regularly updating your apps can also help, as updates often include efficiency improvements.

Keeping Phone Software Up-to-Date

Keep your phone’s software up-to-date. Software updates often include bug fixes and improvements that can optimize power usage.

If you suspect a software glitch is causing battery drain while charging, try restarting your phone or performing a factory reset after backing up your data.

Ensuring Optimal Environmental Conditions for Charging

Avoid exposing your phone to extreme temperatures while charging. High temperatures can cause your battery to overheat, increasing power consumption, while very cold conditions can reduce the efficiency of the battery.

Try to charge your device in a cool, dry environment.

Tips for Battery Calibration

If you suspect a battery calibration issue, you might need to recalibrate your phone’s battery. This process involves draining the battery completely, then charging it to 100% without interruption.

Note that this should only be done occasionally, as fully discharging and recharging the battery can contribute to battery wear over time.


It’s normal to encounter a variety of challenges with your smartphone over time, and battery drain while charging is a particularly common one. From using the phone while charging, to battery degradation, poor quality chargers, and software glitches, the reasons for this problem are numerous.

However, by understanding the root causes and implementing the preventive measures we’ve discussed, you can minimize the chances of facing this issue.

Nevertheless, not all problems can be resolved at home. In some cases, seeking professional help is the best course of action. Battery-related issues can sometimes be symptoms of more complex underlying problems, requiring expert intervention for proper diagnosis and solution.

In the ever-evolving world of technology, understanding and managing your smartphone’s health is crucial. By following the guidelines in this article, you can not only solve the current issue of battery drain while charging but also contribute to the long-term performance and longevity of your phone.

With careful usage and timely maintenance, you can ensure that your smartphone remains a reliable and efficient tool for communication, work, and entertainment.