Maximizing Battery Life in Windows 10 Mobile

Undoubtedly, the Achilles’ heel of the smartphone has to be its battery life. Everything else that constitutes a smartphone has been pretty much progressing, be it the chips or the screen technology, but somehow we're still stuck with charging our phones every day. As a matter of fact, one can easily argue that battery life has been sacrificed in favour of performance seeing the early generation of phones could easily last 3 days or more without needing charge.

Today, with a smartphone, coming close to that is nothing short of a feat if not frugal. The best response to this weak spot has been in the form of portable battery packs (power banks), and while they can be life savers, the whole idea of carrying one around all the time doesn't sit well with everyone. That’s notwithstanding the fact that you can easily forget to charge it or even worse leave it behind home by mistake. So the way I see it the best solution to all this has to spring from the problem itself - the smartphone and the way we use it.

Smartphones are smart for one thing - they try to make the best decisions for you. This inadvertently means that they may, without proper "supervision", squander a whole lot of time and energy doing tasks you don't actually require, at least not urgently. This is something I've witnessed first-hand using my phone that's running Windows 10 Mobile. For that reason, and also due to the small capacity battery it uses (a measly 1500mAh), I've had to devise some ways to squeeze that extra hour from it.
batterysave
Saving Battery Life in W10M
Some of this may seem too frugal to beat the whole idea of a smartphone being smart, in which case you are welcomed to just use what doesn't compromise so much on your whole smartphone experience.


Battery Saving Tips


1. Set Battery Saver to automatically turn on automatically when a certain threshold is reached. To do that, go to:
Settings >> System >> Battery Saver >> Battery Saver Settings

I usually keep mine at 30% but a value between 20% - 30% will suffice.

Battery Saver Settings in W10M

2. Limit which apps can run in the background. Most windows apps don't have a straightforward exit so these should tame such types. To do that, you may want to first check which apps are using the battery the most by going to:

Settings >> System >> Battery Saver >> Battery Use

Once you find which apps are the most power hungry, you can now disable them from running in the background by going to:

Settings >> System >> Battery Saver >> Battery Use >> Change background app settings

You may want to skip over apps that you need to run in the background like Music apps, Messengers and apps that need to sync/update in the background.

3. If you don't want to disable an app from running in the background completely, you can always use the back button to clear them once you're done using them. Just long press the back button then swipe down all the apps you're not using.

clear background apps
Clearing Background Apps

4. Windows 10 Mobile has this incredible feature where it can sync your messages between all your devices. If you don't have other devices or just don't need to sync messages you can disable that feature by going to:

Messaging >> Tap on the three dots at the bottom >> Open settings >> Turn off Sync "Sync messages between devices"

5. If you use Outlook mail to check your emails, you can easily increase your battery life by reducing how often it has to sync any of your mailboxes. If you need push emails just skip over this. To change the sync interval go to:

Outlook Mail >> Tap on the three dots at the bottom >> Manage Accounts >> Select an Email Account >> Change mailbox sync settings >> Download new content

There are six sync intervals: as items arrive (push), based on my usage, every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, hourly and daily. Typically I don't receive a lot of mail so I usually leave mine at daily. A good compromise however seems like the hourly option.

Additional Tip: Don't quite get the steps (1-5)? Here's a video tutorial with the steps.

6. Wi-Fi can really have a big impact on your battery life so my rule of thumb is to turn it on manually when I need it. Turning it off using the toggle in the Action Centre is pointless because it turns on automatically after an hour or so. I believe this is for Wi-Fi Sense which connects to suggested open hotspots and networks shared by one's contacts. To disable this go to:

Settings >> Network & Wireless >> WiFi

You'll first have to turn off WiFi if it's on, then below where there's Turn WiFi back on select Manually.

7. Other than WiFi, there are some other radios and they too can be quite power hungry. These include Bluetooth, Mobile/Cellular Data, Mobile Hotspot, Location (GPS) and NFC. If you're not using any of them it's always best to keep them turned off. You can easily do that using the toggles in the Action Centre but for NFC you'll have to turn it off by going to:

Settings >> Devices

Keep in mind though that NFC is not available in all devices.

8. The other power hungry component has to be the device display. The displays vary in size/technology depending on the device but regardless, the brightness is something one should be keen with. Windows 10 Mobile has four display settings: Low, Medium, High and Automatic.

Low uses the least juice but it's not ideal for everyday use, especially in the outdoors. High on the other hand can be too high when indoors not to mention it sucks the most juice. Medium therefore seems like a good compromise between those two however in my experience it doesn't do well in outdoors either. So we're left with Automatic and that's the one I recommend.

Automatic adjusts the brightness depending on the ambient light in your environment and therefore can save you a lot of time and battery life if it works as its supposed. Sometimes it doesn't get it right on my device but it's worth testing it on your device and see how it fairs.

9. Still on display, there are some devices that use AMOLED screens e.g. Lumia 950, 950XL, 1520.  For such devices using a dark theme and dark wallpapers can save you some battery life. How does that work? Well, unlike the LCD displays that you find on most smartphones and TVs, AMOLED displays don't use backlights. Instead, they emit their own light which means for dark colours like blacks they don't have to emit as much light, hence saving some power. To switch to the dark theme go to:

Settings >> Personalisation >> Colours >> Set Mode to "Dark"

You can also extend the dark theme in apps that allow for that.

10. Some Lumia phones have what is called Glance Screen and it’s quite neat. The Glance screen lets you see some notifications like time and weather without having to turn on your phone. Of course this comes at a price and that's battery life. Ideally, it shouldn't consume much power but if yours happens to as some have reported, you can set glance to time out after 30 seconds or 15 minutes instead of it staying on throughout. If you have no use for it you should consider disabling it altogether. To do all this go to:

Settings >> Extras >> Glance Screen

In the Mode section choose your interval or choose Off  to disable it.

Additional Tip: Don't quite get the steps (6-10)? Here's a video tutorial with the steps.

Hopefully by taking some of these measures you can maximize your battery life however don't expect the margins to be very high though you never know. If you’ve problems following any of the steps in your device, please refer to the two videos I’ve linked to. If you’ve any question or comment regarding this post, just leave them in the comments section and I’ll get to you as soon as I can.


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