Playing While Charging Phone: Damages Battery?

Here’s everything about playing while charging: Damages your phone’s battery? 

Using your phone while it’s charging shouldn’t harm the battery, but you should still be cautious since other parts of the device could get damaged.

One important thing to note is that there’s a higher risk of heat buildup when you use your phone as it charges. If you’re curious about how using your phone during charging impacts the battery, you’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading!

Playing While Charging Phone: Damages Battery? (Do This)

Why Doesn’t Playing While Charging Directly Damage the Battery? (3 Reasons)

Girl is playing a mobile game pn phone at home.

By and large, it is perfectly safe for your phone and its battery to game while you charge the phone. Actually, that’s underselling it. 

In most circumstances, playing while the phone is plugged in is better for the battery than otherwise. Now, it’s perfectly safe to play games while the phone is not plugged in, but if you really want to maximize your battery’s lifespan, it will help to know how leaving it plugged in can be a good thing.

#1 Smart Charging

Mobile phone charging.

Intelligent Charging The crux of the matter lies in smart charging. We’ll delve into other aspects of battery health shortly, and you’ll understand why this is the key to preserving battery longevity.

Your phone boasts some clever design features, which isn’t just a nod to the skilled engineers. It refers to the fact that your phone’s charging and battery systems can make decisions based on their programming. In simpler terms, when you plug your phone into a charger, it draws power from the charger instead of the battery.

Older, non-smart systems couldn’t do this. In those instances, the phone and battery both drew power from the charger, which meant the battery was constantly in use even while charging. Smart systems, on the other hand, let the battery rest as the charger supplies the necessary power.

However, there’s a downside to smart charging. The phone prioritizes its current operations, so most of the energy from the charger bypasses the battery and goes straight to your game or other phone functions.

Consequently, the battery charges slower while you play games, receiving only the leftover power for charging. Despite this, the setup is safe for the battery and can even extend its lifespan when combined with battery strain and recharge cycles.

#2 Battery Cycles

Female hand connecting charger to smart phone at home.

Battery Cycles Battery cycles are often misunderstood when it comes to battery life. Lithium batteries are designed for a certain number of recharge cycles.

As the battery reaches that number, it ages and loses some of its capacity. However, a standard cellphone battery is rated to retain at least 80% of its capacity up to that number (typically between 300 and 500).

So, how do recharge cycles work? When you use your phone (unplugged), you drain the battery. If you drain it completely, you need to recharge it fully, which counts as one recharge cycle. Suppose you only drain the battery to 80% before recharging.

In that case, it amounts to a fifth of a cycle, and you’d need to repeat that usage and recharge pattern five times for a full recharge cycle. Playing a game on your phone contributes to battery drainage. Each time you recharge the battery, it ages.

However, when you play while the phone is plugged in (as explained earlier), the battery doesn’t drain. Thus, you’re preventing recharge cycles and ultimately extending the battery life by using the most power-hungry applications while plugged in.

#3 Battery Strain

Young woman with phone and power bank at home

Reducing Battery Strain Besides minimizing recharge cycles, using your phone while it’s plugged in also alleviates battery strain. Rapid battery drainage during use can put extra stress on the battery. Repeatedly doing so may significantly shorten the battery’s lifespan.

This is where plugging in your phone proves beneficial. When your phone is plugged in, the battery doesn’t experience any additional strain, no matter which games you play. This approach further contributes to prolonging your battery’s life.

Are There Any Risks to Charge Your Phone While Playing?

Charging phone battery from built-in usb socket.

We’ve explored the various factors that make charging while playing seemingly beneficial for your phone, but there’s more to discuss in terms of potential risks, such as damaging the charging port.

Apart from passthrough charging and cycle counts, we need to consider the impact of heat. Heat can be harmful to batteries, charging ports, and gaming on a phone does produce heat. It’s crucial to be mindful of the safe temperature limits.

By understanding these aspects, you can decide whether heat management, smart charging, or the potential risk of damaging the charging port are the most important factors in how you use your phone (which we’ll compare in detail towards the end of this conversation).


Woman laughing to the sky in happiness holding phone outdoor.

This is a major concern. Phones generate a lot of heat, and when that heat is left unchecked, it can cause problems. When you play a game, you push the hardware a little harder than normal (some games push it a lot harder than normal), and the phone produces more heat than is typical.

At the same time, when a battery is charged, it generates heat as a product of that reaction. So, you’re generating extra heat from two sources when you game while the phone is charging.

Overheating is a significant concern for phones, especially when gaming and charging simultaneously. Both activities produce heat, and if left unchecked, it can cause problems. Apple advises not to charge your phone when the ambient temperature is above 95℉ (35℃), and the same goes for Android devices.

To check if your phone is too hot, touch the battery area. If it feels warm, don’t worry yet. The battery is designed to handle heat during charging. You should only be concerned if the air around the phone feels warmer than your hand.

To keep things cool, use the original manufacturer charger rather than a third-party one, and avoid placing your phone on insulating surfaces like blankets or pillows.

Use a flat, cool surface, and if needed, turn on a fan or open a window for a cross breeze. Your goal is to keep the air around the battery cool, as the phone is already designed to handle battery cooling. Don’t put your phone in the freezer, though.

So, Which Matters More For Your Phone? Heat or Battery Strain?

Young woman in pajamas with phone in bed at night

Let’s try to settle this completely. There are two opposing issues. On the one hand, charging the phone while you play games reduces battery strain and cycle counts. 

In these ways, the action extends the battery’s lifespan. On the other hand, the risk of heat is increased, and high heat can completely destroy a battery. How can one assess this trade-off?

Generally speaking, heat won’t matter. The device is designed to manage heat. If it ever gets too hot, the device shuts itself down. 

So, in the vast majority of cases, it’s better to play while the phone is plugged in (although playing on battery power is still fine).

If your phone becomes so hot that it’s uncomfortable to hold, the temperature might be approaching a level that could potentially damage the battery, so it’s wise to let the phone rest for a while. If your phone consistently reaches such high temperatures, it’s a good idea to get in touch with tech support for your specific make and model.

Phones shouldn’t generally run that hot, so some troubleshooting may be necessary. Keep in mind that, unlike most computers, phones don’t have fans for active cooling – they rely on passive cooling methods.

Prevent Charging Port Damage: Tips for Safeguarding Your Device While Plugged In

A frequent concern among device users is the possibility of damaging the charging port while using their gadgets when plugged in. This worry often arises due to the constant movement and pressure applied to the port when the device is in use during charging. Over time, these small stresses can accumulate and potentially cause wear and tear, leading to a loose or malfunctioning port.

To avoid this issue, it’s essential to handle your device gently while it’s charging and minimize any unnecessary movement or strain on the charging cable and port. We see customers in our shop frequently with loose charging ports from using their devices while plugged in.

We often recommend using one of two different charging cables to help reduce the stress on the port. We like the magnetic cables or the 90-degree angle cables. By being mindful of your actions, you can extend the lifespan of your device’s charging port and ensure hassle-free charging experiences.

Does Frequent Charging Damage Your Phone Battery?

Okay. By now you already know playing on your phone while charging is perfectly fine with some precautions. What about frequent charging, though?

For the most part, frequent charging is not an issue for modern phones with lithium-based batteries. Charging behavior does impact your battery’s lifespan, but the exact ways depend on how you use the phone and what kind of battery you have. 

You can research best practices for your specific battery. Learn all about how frequent charging affects your phone battery here.

How Does Constant Charging Affect Your Phone Battery?

For a bit more about gaming on your phone while charging. What about constant charging, though? For the most part, constantly charging a phone does not damage the battery. 

Most manufacturers suggest that you can charge the phone however you like, and it will be just fine. In fact, constant charging can extend your battery’s life in many cases. The only real concern is avoiding charging in high temperatures.

Learn all about how constantly charging your phone affect its battery here.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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