Here's what you should know before powering down your phone

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When did you last turn off your iPhone? It was probably a long time ago. Thirty-one percent of adult cell phone owners say they "never" turn off their phone; 45% say they do so "rarely," according to a Pew survey from 2014.

But... should you? Would your iPhone work better and have better battery life if you turned it off occasionally?

In an effort to find out if we were mistreating our iPhones by never, ever restarting them, we reached out to AppleCare Support, where we got two conflicting answers from two different staffers.

Then we reached out to Apple's media helpline, which directed us to a page on Apple's website detailing how to maximize iPhone battery performance. That page didn't have anything on it about restarting or turning off your iPhone, so we asked for more clarification. Apple eventually sent us to Wirecutter senior editor Dan Frakes, from whom we finally got the answer.

So do you need to turn your iPhone off or restart it periodically to keep it healthy?

Nope. You never have to. Ever.

"There's nothing going on, the way your phone normally works, that turning it off is going to help," Frakes said in a phone call. In fact, restarting your iPhone might even use more battery life than leaving it on for that amount of time, Frakes said.

Evolution of the iPhone:

Evolution of the iPhone
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Evolution of the iPhone
Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up an Apple iPhone at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, Jan. 9, 2007. Apple Inc., on a tear with its popular iPod players and Macintosh computers, is expected to report strong quarterly results Wednesday. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Jeff Gamet, from the Internet magazine The Mac Observer, looks at the new Apple iPhone at MacWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2007. Apple Inc. is a tight ship when it comes to corporate secrets, regularly suing journalists and employees who leak data about upcoming products. Although few people outside of Apple's headquarters knew product specifications for the iPhone before its announcement, the device was widely anticipated. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
An advertisement for the upcoming iPhone is displayed in the Apple store in SoHo, Friday, June 22, 2007 in New York. The long anticipated gadget hits the market on June 29th. (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh)
A television journalist holds the Apple iPhone, the only one given to a journalist in Los Angeles before it went on sale, as he interviews people waiting to buy the iPhone outside the Apple store at The Grove in Los Angeles, Friday, June 29, 2007. After six months of hype, thousands of people Friday will get their hands on the iPhone, the new cell phone that Apple Inc. is banking on to become its third core business next to its moneymaking iPod players and Macintosh computers. Customers were camped out at Apple and AT&T stores across the nation. The gadget, which combines the functions of a cell phone, iPod media player and wireless Web browser, will go on sale in the United States at 6 p.m. in each time zone. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)
A customer holds a demonstration Apple iPhone during the release of the Apple product and the opening of a new Apple Store at Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa, Okla., on Friday, June 29, 2007. More than 500 people waited in line. (AP Photo/David Crenshaw)
Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announces the new Apple iPhone 3G during the keynote speech at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Monday, June 9, 2008. Jobs announced innovations to the Mac OS X Leopard operating system and an enhanced iPhone. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
An older Apple iPhone is shown next to an advertisement for the new iPhone 3G at an AT&T store in Palo Alto, Calif., Tuesday, July 8, 2008. To sustain the momentum of the original iPhone's success and keep fickle consumers and Wall Street happy, Apple Inc. needs a dramatic second act with the next generation of iPhones, which roll out Friday with faster Internet access and lower retail prices. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
A shop worker holds the new Apple iPhone 3GS in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, June 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs smiles as he uses the new iPhone 4 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Monday, June 7, 2010, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Apple iPhone at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Monday, June 7, 2010 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2011 file photo, Chris Cioban, manager of the Verizon store in Beachwood, Ohio, holds up an Apple iPhone 4G. Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest cellphone company, announced Tuesday, June 12, 2012, that is dropping nearly all of its phone plans in favor of pricing schemes that encourage consumers to connect their non-phone devices, like tablets and PCs, to Verizon's network. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)
Apple CEO Tim Cook during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
People queue outside the Apple Store as the iPhone 5 mobile phones went on sale in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Friday Sept. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, new plastic iPhones 5C are displayed during a media event held in Beijing, China. Last year, eager buyers in Beijing waited overnight in freezing weather to buy the iPhone 4S. Pressure to get it — and the profit to be made by reselling scarce phones — prompted some to pelt the store with eggs when Apple, worried about the size of the crowd, postponed opening. Just 18 months later, many Chinese gadget lovers responded with a shrug this week when Apple Inc. unveiled two new versions of the iPhone 5. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A customer examines a new iPhone 5s at the Nebraska Furniture Mart in Omaha, Neb., on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, the day the new iPhone 5c and 5s models go on sale. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the new Apple Watch and iPhone 6 on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Cupertino, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Two new iPhone 6 are photographed at the Apple store in the city centre of Munich, Germany, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. A large crowd had gathered in front of the Apple store ahead of the offical launch of Apple's new iPhone. (AP Photo, dpa,Peter Kneffel)
FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2014 file photo, a customer looks at the screen size on the new iPhone 6 Plus while waiting in line to upgrade his iPhone at a Verizon Wireless store in Flowood, Miss. A newly-discovered glitch in Apple's software can cause iPhones to mysteriously shut down when they receive a certain text message. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus during an Apple media event in San Francisco, California on September 9, 2015. Apple unveiled its iPad Pro, saying the large-screen tablet has the power and capabilities to replace a laptop computer. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

"I've never restarted regularly," he said. "I don't think it's going to make a difference."

"I've never restarted regularly," Frakes said. "I don't think it's going to make a difference."

Kyle Wiens — CEO of iFixit, a company that provides guides to fix your electronics at home and sells the tools to do so — echoed Frakes' comments in a phone call. He added that your battery only lasts around 400 charge cycles, meaning you can drain your iPhone's battery down to 0% and back up to 100% around 400 times before it starts to degrade. Using your battery until it's down to 50% and then juicing it back up to 100% would count as half of a charge cycle.

The degradation of batteries over continued use is something Apple acknowledges. "All rechargeable batteries have a limited number of charge cycles and may eventually need to be serviced," Apple writes on its page about lithium ion batteries. "If you find yourself charging your device more frequently, it might be time for a new battery."

There are a lot of real, effective ways to extend your iPhone's battery life.

The Wirecutter, in conjunction with the New York Times, did a huge series of tests to see how to effectively extend smartphones' battery lives. Some of the tips the team recommended include reducing screen brightness, turning off Mail's "fetch" feature and installing an ad blocker if you use your phone's web browser a lot.

Turning your iPhone off or restarting it is not on the list of things you can do to get better battery life. Even if it would make a difference, it wouldn't be nearly as effective as these other strategies, Frakes said.

The only way to truly ensure you have a powerful battery is to get a new iPhone or replace your battery, Wiens said. Weins — who is the CEO of a company that sells tools and parts to replace smartphone batteries — says that it's simple to replace your iPhone's battery at home. If you've never done it before, it should take 20 minutes to replace an iPhone 6 battery, Wiens said.

When would you actually need to restart your phone?

Only when your apps freeze or won't close and nothing else you do is working. It's like force-quitting all your apps at once, Frakes said: "It doesn't really matter unless you're having a problem."

So let this be the final word: Keep your damn phone on.

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