Is It Bad To Charge Your Phone While Using It?

A widely asked question smartphone users have is about using a device while it’s charging. How does this impact the device and the user?

When charging a phone, you can perform light tasks for short periods of time, but you should avoid intensive tasks like gaming as it can lead to overheating. Always use the original charger, cable and battery to avoid the battery swelling and to protect yourself. 

Let’s look at common problems and risks associated with using a phone while charging. 

See also:
Is it bad to leave your phone on all the time?
Does The SD Card Drain Battery?

Known cons of using your phone while charging

Phone & battery overheating

When using a phone while charging, the battery can overheat. Temperature will rise if you are constantly using your phone while plugged in for long durations. This can cause electronic components in the phone to heat up.

If you are using heavy apps or have a lot of apps open and working in the background, that will lead to more power being utilized and the device will produce more heat.

Overheating can happen while using both genuine or third-party chargers to charge your smartphone. 

Battery growing in size / swelling

Unless the battery is very old and has surpassed its 300-500 charge-discharge cycles, its chances of growing in size and swelling are very minor while charging the phone due to overheating.

Generally speaking, the risk of battery swelling increases if you don’t use the manufacturer-provided original charger as third-party chargers often have unsuitable power ratings. 

Using a higher-rating unapproved charger may cause the chemicals in the battery to expand with time and lead to swelling.  

Burning your battery cycles

Lithium-ion batteries in smartphones typically have a limited life i.e. 300-500 charging cycles. Using your phone while charging can cause charging and discharging the battery especially if the charging is for longer periods than needed while it’s already fully charged.

This results in burning the total number of battery charging cycles more rapidly, which in turn leads to battery degradation and shortening of the battery life. 

Fluctuating amount of charge impacts battery health

Fluctuating amounts of charge can badly impact the smartphone’s charging port and even harm the battery while charging.

Experts state that this is especially true for cheaper and off-brand chargers that don’t continuously charge the battery with the accurate voltage, which leads to fluctuation in the amount of charge supplied. 

To meet the charging standards that your device is specified to have, you should once again use its original certified charger. 

It takes the device a longer time to charge

Usage of the phone while charging results in drawing power from the charger. The electrical current supplied to the battery will lower and it will not charge at the same speed.

As a result, the rate of charging will become slower. Overheating can also be the cause of slow charging while using the phone as waste heat is formed in the battery. 

Battery may explode

If you use your phone normally while charging with a manufacturer-certified charger and USB cable, it’s highly unlikely that the battery might explode.

Chances of explosion can exist, however, if there is a defect in the battery from the manufacturer’s side or you frequently charge the phone in a sealed place, e.g. in a hot car or under the pillow, which doesn’t allow for the dissipation of heat generated by the battery. 

Can you listen to music on your smartphone while charging?

You can play music through the phone’s speakers or the earphones for brief periods without any risks while charging the phone.

You must use the original charger and good-quality earphones provided by the mobile company for this purpose. If you use earphones while charging the phone with a cheap or unsuitable charger, the risks of getting harmed by an electric shock are not null.

For modern devices (e.g. 3-4 years old), listening to music won’t put any stress on the battery or harm the phone. 

However, for prolonged listening durations, it’s safest to keep an eye on the phone and battery temperature. You should stop listening if the temperature becomes too high (greater than 45 ℃) and let the device cool down.

You can listen to tracks that are stored on your microSD card or internal storage. Listening to streamed music over an internet connection requires more power, however.

Can you play games while charging your phone?

Playing games on a phone while charging for prolonged periods can be dangerous. This doesn’t mean you can’t test out games or play light games as long as you use the original charger and USB cable.

The following are some reasons why many experts advise avoiding playing heavy and intensive games like PUBG and Asphalt 8 while the phone is plugged in:

Overheating and stress

Overheating of the phone’s components and putting needless stress on them. The phone’s components may suffer in the long run even though you may not notice it immediately.

Many people set the phone’s screen brightness to the maximum while playing videos and this also accounts for overheating the phone.

Extremely slow rate of charging

Chances are the rate of charging will become extremely slow since limited power will be available to charge the phone battery – as most of the supply is consumed by the game on your phone. 

Shortened of battery life

Playing intensive games while charging will raise battery temperature, which over time may reduce battery life and even lead to damage. 

Broken/loosened USB port

Moving the device as required during gameplay in demanding games can hinder the charging process and potentially loosen or break the device’s USB port. 

Can you play videos while charging your phone?

You can play videos e.g. on YouTube while the phone is plugged in. There’s no harm in it as long as you do it for short periods. 

The advice against playing games with the phone plugged in also applies to playing videos, particularly in very high resolution such as 4K. 

Again, be cautious about the phone getting hot and stop immediately if it does. You can allow the phone to cool down by turning off the screen, and resume after some time.

Just like audio, if using earphones to watch the videos make sure that they are genuine or of good quality along with the charger and USB cable. 

Incidents have occurred in the past of people being injured or killed by electric shock flowing from the charging phone to the earphone which could strike the ears and brain.

Can you make calls while charging your phone?

You should be fine making and receiving some calls while the phone is charging if you are using company approved charger, USB cable, and battery. 

It’s important that while making and receiving calls you stay clear of water, as water greatly increases electrocution risks when electricity is present.

Nevertheless, like everything else, making a call for a prolonged duration may put a strain on the battery and phone components due to overheating. 

If you are a person who makes and receives a lot of calls throughout the day, then using a Bluetooth headset gives you the convenience of taking a call without staying too close to the device while it’s charging. 

Can you browse while charging your phone?

Yes, you can browse and surf the internet on one or more browsers while charging the device. Light browsing while charging is safe and won’t normally harm your phone.  

If you have multiple browsers running or several tabs in a browser open, you can close them after you’re done browsing. This will prevent too many apps from operating in the background and help avoid overheating. 

At what temperature should you turn off phone?

Whether you use an Android device or an iPhone, these are designed to work best at a defined temperature range. Concerning iPhones and many Android devices, this range is usually from 0°C to 35°C (32°F to 95°F).

If the temperature becomes too cold such as around -10°C or too hot such as approaching 45°C or higher, then you should turn off the phone immediately. At such temperatures, the battery does not perform normally, resulting in shorter battery life.

The normal temperature of the phone may also be the same as the room temperature when the device is idle. It can be a few degrees (up to 10°C) higher if you are charging the phone or doing tasks such as gaming.

How to check battery temperature without any app?

If you need to check the battery temperature without installing any app on your Android phone, here are the two ways through which this can be done.

Check the temperature in battery settings

Some manufacturers like Xiaomi show battery temperature in the battery settings of the phone. Note that it’s also possible that the temperature isn’t displayed.

To see your phone’s temperature, try this:

  • Open Settings panel.
  • Tap on Battery & Performance.
  • Open the Battery section.
  • Here you should see battery temperature.

Check temperature through a hidden menu

If the above method does not work, you can view the phone’s battery information through the hidden test menu. This method works on many smartphones from different companies.

  • Open the phone app and then the dial pad.
  • Dial *#*#4636#*#*.
  • If available a screen will appear that allows you to choose from a few options. Select Battery Information.
  • Opening this will provide the battery temperature along with other useful information like battery health. 

Can you use phone while quick charging?

You may have a phone that supports quick charging, or you use a fast charger that has a different current and voltage rating than provided originally by your manufacturer. 

In such a situation, it’s preferable to perform light tasks on the phone and avoid heavy tasks for longer periods while plugged in.

This is because the chances of the phone and battery overheating are higher in such situation. If you do heavy tasks like gaming, the phone’s SoC (System on a chip) tends to heat up more.

If the SoC heats to a certain extent, it may be throttled down to cool and the phone may become laggy while charging. After it cools down the performance will become normal again.

This goes to show that because many phones come today with a quick charging feature, it’s ideal to let the phone finish charging before using it for more intensive tasks.