Types of Smartphone batteries

A battery can be defined as a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cells with external connections for powering electrical devices. Smartphones are the devices of interest here. There are different types of Smartphone batteries in use today.

Read: How Smartphone batteries work

Do you know the different types of smartphone batteries in use today? Well read on to find out more.


All batteries are classifies into two forms: one of which is a primary form and the other a secondary form.

A PRIMARY BATTERY is a single use, non-rechargeable battery. This means that the electrochemical reactions in the battery are irreversible. So as soon as it runs out of electrons, it becomes useless. Good examples of these are carbon, alkaline or lithium disposable batteries. They are used in flashlights, remote controls, toys etc.

Note: A primary battery will explode if any attempts to recharge it are made.

A SECONDARY BATTERY is rechargeable and can be used multiple times. This is because as explained in the previous article, the electrochemical reactions in the battery are reversible. This is made possible by plugging in a charger and some smart chemistry that reverses the discharge. The reversibility of a secondary battery’s electrochemical reactions returns electrons back to their original position. Secondary batteries however have a lifespan and do not live forever. Eventually, multiple recharges will deplete its chemical constituents and it will die.

Note: A secondary battery will explode if it is recharged incorrectly.

Cell types

There are several types of batteries based on the type of electrolyte that is used in their cell.

First of them all is the WET CELL. Wet cells are named as such because they use a LIQUID ELECTROLYTE. This makes them unsuitable for use in portable devices that are carried about. They have mostly been phased out and replaced by gel. That being said, the Lead acid battery used for cars is still loved by the automotive industry and is a good example of a wet cell.

Wet cells these days have found new homes in the Chemistry laboratories of schools.

Next up, we have DRY CELLS. Dry cells use a paste as a form of electrolyte. The use of paste allows the battery to used in any orientation (e.g. up, down, sideways etc.) without fear of electrolytes flowing. Thus they are great choice for use in portable devices. Our smartphone batteries are a good example of dry cells.

Finally we have MOLTEN SALT. These cells use molten or heated salt as an electrolyte. They can only be operated at high temperatures and have to be insulated to prevent heat loss.

Smartphone batteries form and cell type

Having seen the above, we can clearly state that smartphone batteries are secondary batteries with dry cells. This is why they are rechargeable, portable and can be used in any direction or orientation.

Types of Smartphone batteries

There are two very common families of batteries: The Nickel family and the Lithium family.

The Nickel family is composed of Nickel Cadmium (NiCD) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. This technology is old and outdated at this point. These batteries are not very powerful and suffer from “memory effect”. They are rechargeable however and can still be found in use in cameras.

The Lithium family has two representatives here: the Lithium ion (Li-ion) and the Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) batteries. These are more popular, powerful and durable than Nickel batteries. They also have a longer life span and do not suffer from memory effect. Li-Po batteries are the newer of the two options and are more popularly used on smartphones today.

Removable and non-removable batteries

Smartphone batteries can also be removable or non-removable.

Removable batteries are user replaceable. This means that the owner or user could simply pop the phone open, take out the old battery and insert a new one. This was easily done on older cell phones and smartphones.

As smartphones matured, things changed and new trends soon came in. These were mostly due in part to consumers wanting sleeker, slimmer and more stylish devices. These could not be done with a big hole for a battery on the back of the device. Another reason is also waterproofing. A phone cannot be waterproof with a big hatch for a battery which also exposes the internals. So batteries have become non-removable. If you do really need to take out your battery, then a visit to a service center will certainly be in order.

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