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You need to charge your devices even if you rarely use them

Nintendo recently warned Switch owners that not charging their consoles regularly (at least every six months or so in this case) could affect battery life. It’s an easy problem to avoid – if somehow you’re not using it enough to drain the battery, make sure to charge your Switch or Switch Lite about twice a year – but it’s not just the case with Nintendo’s hardware .

Any device with a rechargeable battery needs to be juiced regularly to avoid a host of problems, including the ones that you only use occasionally. Some batteries will no longer hold a charge if left dead for too long and others may experience chemical reactions that can lead to … explosive results.

The devices that you rarely use and that you are unlikely to replace are most at risk. Keep in mind that when the urge arises, you̵

7;ll still be pulling out that old PlayStation portable handheld, the portable battery that you only use on summer camping trips or the battery for that DSLR that you bought in college that you own have held on since then.

The recommended charging interval varies between devices and battery types. However, loading your unused hardware every three to six months seems like the general recommendation. Try to keep your old gear with about a 50 percent charge before putting it away if possible. It is not necessary to use the battery to the maximum if it is only put back in a drawer, as this can also affect the overall capacity. (And this drawer should ideally be in a cool, dry place.)

That said, don’t rush right away to plug in the equipment that you haven’t used in months or years. Some of these batteries may be unsafe. Check your old hardware for swelling, cracks, corrosion, or leaking battery acid – especially if it was left untouched in a closet or a warm garage.

If you notice any signs of dangerous deterioration, properly dispose of the dead battery. This is particularly important for classic tech collectors who have devices with rechargeable batteries in their supply.

What about smartphones, tablets and laptops?

While technology you only use occasionally is the greatest risk of long-term deterioration, the batteries in the iPhones, Android devices, and laptops that you use every day are also undercharged, albeit in different ways.

Modern smartphones, tablets and laptops generally retain their full battery potential for up to 500 cycles (discharging the battery to zero and then fully charging it) before the battery life is shortened. However, partial charges do not count towards this full cycle count. For this reason, if you can avoid it, do not fully discharge your smartphone or laptop battery. The good news? You can keep these devices connected securely without damaging the battery than you already did just by using them.

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