Save the planet and your money! Demand better phone charging features

Save the planet and your money! Demand better phone charging features

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Malia Aurigemma started this petition to Apple and

Approximately 75% of American smartphone users are misinformed about how to best take care of their smartphone battery, costing users several months of battery life per device and smartphone performance issues. This results in you, the consumer, having to replace your phone more often, and that costs you money!  More importantly, the shorter lifespan of smartphones results in a massive and perpetual stream of electronic waste that harms our environment.  Smartphone producers understand the problem but have done little to fix it — smartphone companies must be held accountable and required to provide enhanced battery charging features that help users extend the usable battery lifespan of their devices.

Smartphones and most other portable, rechargeable devices use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Approximately half of Americans think you should completely drain your device’s Li-ion battery before recharging. This is actually a bad practice which puts a lot of strain on the battery and accelerates capacity fade!  The best way to maintain a Li-ion battery is to keep it charged to about half full (20%-80%), and avoid keeping your battery fully charged for long periods of time.  

While some strides have been made to improve consumer access to smart charging features, much more needs to be done to educate and empower consumers to maximize their device lifespan. For example, Optimized Battery Charging is available for iOS 13 and newer. This feature tracks when you typically start using your phone in the morning to determine the appropriate time to reach a full charge. However, this feature lacks more effective options to maximize battery life, as explained in the next paragraph. Furthermore, Android-based smartphones generally have even fewer options to better maximize their battery life. 

Smartphone companies need to be more upfront about how to maximize the usable lifespan of their devices, and implement user-friendly features to empower consumers to do so. Features like Optimized Battery Charging are only effective if enabled, and smartphone users deserve more charging options that simplify battery maintenance. Other industries do more to address this problem.  For example, many electric vehicles have a “limited charging” feature, which enables their owners to select a maximum charging level based on their anticipated need. For daily driving, perhaps only a 60% charge is needed. For a long trip, 90% or 100% charge could be specified by the owner. The same kind of feature should be made widely available for smartphone owners. 

We have a rare and exciting opportunity to make progress against the growing global environmental impact caused by the expansion of e-waste while simultaneously decreasing the direct financial burden placed on consumers. Join us in signing this petition to require smartphone designers and manufacturers to provide access to and awareness of more effective battery management capabilities in their devices.  Taking this action will have a quantifiable and substantial positive impact on both the environment and consumers.

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