Battery technology nowadays generally means that a phone will last a couple of years before longevity issues start to set in. However, a known trick to extend battery health is to stop charging around 80% capacity, and that’s something Google has quietly been doing on Pixel phones in some situations.

In late 2020, Google introduced a new feature for Pixel phones known as “Adaptive Charging,” which has the ability to alter the charging speed of your Pixel device to improve battery health. The feature works using your phone’s alarm to ensure you’ll wake up with a 100% charge, but the phone won’t reach that point faster than it needs to. Slower charging speeds help ease strain on batteries.

Now, it seems Google has quietly rolled out a similar, but not directly related feature for Pixel phones. Detailed on a support page, this new behavior sets Pixel devices to charge only to 80% before capping the battery charge. The feature has been rolled out to Pixel 3 and newer devices and seems to have been made available around April of this year, according to user reports discovered by XDA. It seems to work both on Android 11 and Android 12.

The temporary feature automatically turns off when the phone no longer meets the conditions listed above. You know the feature is no longer active when the phone starts to charge to 100%.

When this feature is on, a notification that says “Optimizing for battery health” appears on the “Always On Display” and in the Settings app under “Battery.”

There are only two scenarios Google lists for triggering the 80% battery charge limit on Pixels. The first is charging under a scenario where the battery is also quickly draining. A good example of this might be intensive gameplay. The other place where this limit might be imposed is if you are leaving your phone plugged in for a considerable length of time. Specifically, it triggers after the phone has been charging for at least four days.

There’s no user-facing toggle to keep this 80% behavior in place all of the time, unfortunately, but these two measures should help in some niche scenarios to extend battery health on Pixel devices. When the limit is being imposed, Google shows a constant notification on the always-on display and in the settings under “Battery.”

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Ben Schoon

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