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17 tips to extend battery life on Windows 10 Mobile

We love our smartphones, but one issue that might come up is battery life. If you’re a heavy user, you want to find ways to be able to use the phone as long as you can before needing to recharge. We have included 17 tips to extend your Windows Phone 8 battery life, but many of these tips involve turning off services and features. You decide which services you’re willing to let go to save juice. You don’t need to follow all of them, but following some will help extend the battery life on your Windows Phone 8 device.

Head past the break to read our tips with screenshots and video.

1. Use battery saver

You can set your phone to automatically save power when the battery level is low. Head to settings > battery saver, and turn it on. It turns off some services while in standby to help preserve battery life, but you will still receive calls and texts.  Emails will have to be refreshed manually.

Even if your battery charge isn’t low, you can manually turn on battery saver by clicking the advanced button. You’ll have three options: when battery is low, now until next charge, or always (not recommended). You know it is active when a little heart appears over the battery icon on the status bar.

2. Turn off unnecessary sounds

Select only the sounds that you need. You can turn off certain sounds by going to settings, then ringtones + sounds. We like to turn off the sounds for key press, lock and unlock, and camera shutter. We like to keep notification sounds on. If you receive a lot of emails, you may also want to turn off the sound for new mails.

3. Set glance to peek (Lumia only)

Glance on Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 lets you take a look at clock and notifications when your phone switches to standby. You can choose to turn this off, but it’s a cool feature to have. Head to settings > glance, then select peek. This option lets you see the glance screen when you hover your hand over the phone. Don’t forget to set the start and end times.

4. Turn off double tap to wake up phone (Lumia only)

Double tap to wake up phone is another cool feature to have on Nokia Lumia devices, but you can turn this off to save battery life. If you’re happy with pressing the power button to wake up the phone, then there shouldn’t be any problem turning off this option.

5. Lower the auto screen brightness

By default, your screen brightness is set automatically on medium. You can change this. Go to settings > brightness. Switch off the automatically adjust option and switch the level to low. Turn back on the automatically adjust option for a lower auto screen brightness that can help conserve battery.

6. Prevent some apps running in the background

Some apps may run in the background unnecessarily. If you don’t want them running in the background, go to settings > swipe to applications, then tap background tasks. Tap the app you want to block, and tap block.

7. Turn on airplane mode

If you're listening to music or using your phone, but don't want to make or receive calls, you can switch airplane mode on. It turns off cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC sharing in one try, but you can individually turn them back on if you need to.

8. Turn on NFC or Bluetooth only when needed

If you don’t use NFC sharing or Bluetooth often, we recommend turning them off. Reactivate these features only when needed. Go to settings > tap+send or settings > Bluetooth to switch them off.

9. Set to check for new mail less frequently

If you have added email accounts that don’t need to be checked frequently, you can change how often your phone downloads new content from those accounts. Instead of 30 minutes, change it to hourly, every 2 hours, or even by manual request only. Go to settings > email+accounts, then click on a mailbox account. Change the frequency under “Download new content.”

10. Decrease screen time-out

You can set the screen to automatically switch off after a short time. Go to settings > lock screen, then scroll all the way down to where it says “Screen times out after.” The shortest time you can choose is 30 seconds.

11. Keep Wi-Fi on when screen switches off

It’s more efficient on the battery when Wi-Fi connection is used to connect to the Internet, rather than a mobile data connection. To keep the Wi-Fi connection on even when the phone screen switches off, go to settings > Wi-Fi > advanced, and tap the Keep Wi-Fi on when the screen times out check box.

12. Stop scanning for new Wi-Fi networks

If you have already added your Wi-Fi networks at home or office, it will be more battery efficient to stop the phone from scanning for new networks in the background. Go to settings > Wi-Fi > advanced, then uncheck “Notify me when new networks are found.”

13. Disconnect Xbox Live

If you don’t care about uploading games scores and achievements to Xbox Live, you can prevent your phone from connecting to the service. Go to settings > swipe to applications > games, then turn off “Connect with Xbox.” This is really helpful if you actually have more games listed under “other” compared to Xbox Live compatible games.

14. Disconnect Xbox Music

If you don’t use Xbox Music, you can disconnect from the service. Go to settings > swipe to applications > music+videos, then turn off “Connect with Xbox Music.” You can also turn off Xbox Music cloud collection from here. This doesn’t affect users who prefer to listen to music with other services like Pandora, Spotify, or Nokia MixRadio.

15. Close apps you are not using

If you know you’re done using an app, press the back button to exit instead of pressing the Windows Phone key. If you have the latest Windows Phone 8 update 3, you can also exit apps by pressing and holding the back button then clicking the X’s on the upper right corner of the apps you want to close.

16. Ensure that your phone SW and apps are up-to-date

Some updates bring bug fixes and optimizations that may be beneficial to your device’s battery life. Make sure you have the latest phone software by going to settings > phone update. For app updates, go to Store > Updates.

17. Use power cases or portable USB chargers

Another way to extend the battery life of your Windows Phone 8 device is to use accessories. There are portable USB chargers like the Nokia DC-18 and cases with built-in extra battery like the camera grip for the Nokia Lumia 1020.

So those are some tips to help you extend the battery life of your Windows Phone 8 device. You don’t have to follow all our tips, but following some of them may help.

If you feel like your battery is draining unusually fast, restart your device by pressing and holding the power and volume down keys simultaneously until the phone vibrates. Release and the phone will restart. If you feel it’s still draining fast, the battery may be wearing out and requires replacing. You may need to contact the manufacturer for support.

Do you have more battery-saving tips for Windows Phone 8 that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments! 

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

190 Comments
  • That helped big time...thanks:)
  • Biggest saving i have found is turn vibrate off. See thread in Lumia920 forum
  • http://forums.wpcentral.com/nokia-lumia-920/251853-want-double-battery-l...
  • Fortunately for me I keep chargers around, but in all honestly the battery life is so outstanding on my 1520 I could go a whole day and not need a charger till I get home.
  • Definitely agree with that. Batt life on 1520 rocks!
  • I have gotten 2 days and 3 hours before it turned off. If i keep it on Battery saver the entire time i can probably get more.
      The difference in battery life over the 1020,920 and 900 is Night and Day. The Snapdragon 800 is amazing at preserving battery when the phone is idle. Qualcomm definately didn't lie about that one.  
  • +800
  • Yes, battery life on my 1520 is phenomenal! I'd say a good 30-40% longer than my 920.
  • I like the 1520, but I have to say, my 920's battery has improved immensely with the amber update. I can leave it unplugged for the night now.
  • Lucky. The battery life on my Lumia 920 is utter trash. I've already done everything on this list months ago, and still hasn't worked. I don't use my phone as heavily as some others might either. I don't know what the heck is wrong. Maybe I should take in and get it checked up.
  • Definitely take it to a store and have them look at it. My 920's battery is phenomenal, and I'm a light-moderate user. I keep double-tap-to-wake turned on, glance on peek, wifi always on, NFC always on, and I can still get from 6:50am to about 10:00pm without a charge. During the day I browse reddit via Readit, send texts, watch videos, play a few games, and I still have great battery life, so something must be up with your device. Also, consider restarting your phone occasionally to shut down "closed" apps for good. 
  • Ad 15) I thought apps were dormant when minimized except if not specified otherwise in the settings?!
  • don't they still take up some RAM?
  • Unused RAM is wasted RAM.We`re talking battery life here.
  • This ^^.Its pushed to the backstack,doesn`t draw battery at the time.
  • the apps that are not in foreground are always in dormant state, except for those apps that use GPS. The apps can also prevent the intervention of the lock screen, but if you leave the app (for example if you press the start bottom) the app goes to dormant state. In this state an app don't use CPU, every tasks are stopped, doesn't use any connection, doesn't use GPU, it is only loaded in RAM but the power consumption of the RAM don't depend by occupation, if the RAM is empty or full the power consumption is always the same. Instead if you haven't the app in RAM there is more power consumption because the CPU must do more work (the compilation must be finished, and the app must be loaded in RAM), but if the app is gust in RAM this work is not necessary and there's less CPU usage. So leave the apps in the tasks switcher!
  • This is true, but some apps can still abuse background tasks if you leave them open. The majority of apps and games will simply be tombstones, but some (like music or video apps), are still allowed to do background stuff even if they're disabled in the settings, so long as the app is open. As such, just to be safe, closing an app (so that it doesn't appear in the multitasking menu) can help avoid it sucking juice. But for the vast majority of apps, as you said, they'll merely be suspended, and not using resources.
  • Sorry but this is completly wrong!
    No apps can runt tasks in background!
    The only apps that can are those apps that use continuous tracking of the GPS location, that run in the background if you permit it (by leaving the app enabled in background task).
    The other apps can use only background agent that can run at least every 30 minutes and for a maximum of 25 seconds but the background agent are not connected to the apps but are a little small separated app that do some little stuff instead of the main app, and that run indipendently if the main apps is in the task switcher or not.
    Also the background audio agent and the background file trasfer (i believe that you refer to this)are indipendent from main apps and their execution don't depend on the presence of the main app task switcher.
  • Removing apps from the task switcher doesn't disable any background tasks. You have to disable the background task in settings if you want to do that. Closing tombstoned foreground apps will only waste power when you end up switching back to that app and it has to load more than it would have if you had left it tombstoned.
  • Yeah, that tip is bulls**t. WPCentral need to get its sh*t together. ;)
  • Excellent tips! Keep up the good work WP Central.
  • Don't play Asphalt 8
  • Lol
  • Hahahaha
  • Also, don't use Waze. My charger can't even keep up with the power thirst that app has. On the positive side the phone makes a great hand warmer after using Waze as long as you don't mind first degree burns. :)
  • Lol true
  • And don't play MS Minesweeper too... Turn off your data and location when not in use.
  • Also Total Conquest!!
  • This aint a joke, Total Conquest will jizz your battery before you can say Bob's your uncle. I've got my 920 plugged into a 1A charger and the battery still drains while playing TC
  • LMFAO
  • One question - Is playing games (like asphalt 8) while charger plugged on bad for battery life?
  • Good question. Because of the charging process and the game heating up the phone, the battery gets hot. As higher the temperatur of a battery the shorter the life time. But your not playing it 10 hours. But if the battery is charged already and you play it still connected it is better for the battery. Think about the other option you have. Charing the phone, unplugging and playing, charing again after short time.... and so on. This will result in a lot more charging cycles and thats what makes the difference.  In generell: wait with your heavy load tasks until your on usb. But actually.... use it as you like.   
  • That's very helpful. Thank you :D
  • In my phone, under music + videos settings, there is only 'suggestions' available.
  • They are referring to Xbox music which is not available in India.
  • But I live in India & these options are available on my phone.
  • Even I live in India with my account region set to US. Too bad MS doesn't have Xbox Music here coz I like its features. Once tried the trial for a month before I was left with no option to use it anymore.
  • Stop scanning for new networks.  Durrr.  Why do I still have this?  That's a small thing that makes tons of sense considering I could just scan for WiFi when out an about and I can just ask if a loation has free WiFi.
     
  • Yeah, never occurred to me either. Like I literally /always/ dismiss the notification, because I typically use my data connection (I don't use enough data each month, and I don't trust most public WiFi). And when I do connect to a network not already set up, I still end up accessing the menu via the settings anyways. Sigh, silly, silly me. Not a big concern, though, because I've always gotten great battery life on my phone.
  • One of the biggest battery savers for me is to change the highest connection speed from LTE to 4G.  4G is still plenty fast and doesn't kill the battery as quickly.
     
  • LTE is 4G I know, in your country HSDPA is 4G not 3.5G like all others.
  • Yes, I know what you mean.  But it is listed as 4G in the phone, otherwise I would have just called it HSDPA+.
  • How do you switch this?
  • Doing some home renovations? Almost time for the grout! :P
  • Can you see me, I'm about to install grout into tile in 2 bathrooms
  • Where do you get the settings for music and video? How come my Lumia 1520 and Lumia 920 both don't have the settings shown in the screenshots? Mine simply has a suggestion to Microsoft button. No Xbox music collection etc.
  • My 620 also has only the suggestions button. It's probably region specific
  • I gather we're all not connected to Xbox Music.
  • 18) Use 3G only when needed.
  • totally agree. and surprised it was not in the 17. wpc, why not edit the article and make it 18 to include this. one of the biggest drains in my experience
  • Thanks for this!    Some of the tips on the background apps, games and music, I wasn't aware of, so found it really helpful. What was even better is the explanation as to why you suggested each point. Much better than the usual, turn off 4G, turn off this, that and the other...
  • If this article was being true to spirit it would say "turn Glance to 'off'". You just barely mention one can turn it off, and don't even say that would net you way more savings. It's purported as a cool feature to have, but then a bunch of other cool features are fair game for slaughter. For me personally I don't see the point of keeping it on.
  • the point is you dont need to turn the phone on to see time and notifications
  • If, (unlike double-tap to wake thing) you use overall less power keeping Glance Peek on (and watching for hover) than you would occasionally turning the phone on and back off to check the time, then I stand corrected. My meaning was that if Peek drains more power than Off then Off would make sense in an article about saving battery. If it doesn't, well good. Separately from the power thing, I personally found it uncomfortable trying to hover over the phone each time and felt speedier just waking it up.
  • The "spirit" is to give tips in order to save battery, not tell people what to do with their phones. It's kinda interesting, internet is so democratic that every one thinks that their way of doing things should be mimicked by everyone else.
  • Just like a Progressive telling everyone that this is a democracy, but that you have to vote the way the Progressive wants you to vote.
  • Glance on peek is one of the best features when it comes to battery saving, especially with the new Black update! You save lots of power by not having to turn the screen on every time you want to see what time it is or check your notifications....
  • I believe it makes the sensor turned on forever instead of the screen.
  • I believe it makes sense that the sensor turned on forever instead of the screen turned a few times.
  • they should add an option to activate glance by short press on the camera button or something like that.. that way it wouldn't drain battery with the sensors or the touchscreen.. just a simple button..
  • I'm just glad to see someone else is going through the trials of tiling their own floors like I am right now. Dang it's hard work.
  • I haven't seen an article this informative in a little while. I actually didn't know that you could adjust the "relative" brightness while still using the auto setting. Thanks guys.
  • Me neither, although on my 925 it is hard to tell the difference between low auto and high auto.
  • I'd recommend turning off mobile network data if you don't need it for long periods e.g. at home or work on WiFi all the time. I also like to set the mobile network data "highest connection speed" as low as possible... E (Edge) in my case, probably "2G" for others. That's more than fine for general background data traffic
  • Thanks for the WiFi network one!! Hate that! Never got around to finding where to shut it off.....
    Great help!
  • Keep phone in pocket :) More human interaction...
  • Turn off data if you are not using it. Turn off location services if you don't need it.
  • Thanks for tip....
  • I do most of these and I find normal battery life to be quite good. The fundamental problem, however is with gaming or heavy app usage. I don't know what the hell it is with Windows Phone that prolonged use of an app that eventually results in excessive and unexpected battery drain. I find that if an app is making your phone run hot, it's only a matter of time before you find rapid battery drain even when the phone is idle. This is probably my single biggest frustration with Windows Phone. I was originally inclined to believe it was the hardware, but it seems to be widespread across all Windows Phone devices which implies the OS. I've been in too many situations where I was out, with no means to charge the phone, and found the phone dead or almost dead. And this was after heading out a couple of hours earlier with a fully charged phone or close enough that it should never be a problem. Even during gaming, the amount of load the same game places on the phone seems to vary. In some instances it runs considerably, and alarmingly hotter than others. So the best solution to extending battery life on your phone is to not play games, but especially avoid games that make your phone run hot.
  • Agreed, phone tents to get into a spiral draining loop, and the only thing to stop it is a restart. Doesn't happen as often as it used to but it still happens and it makes the phone unreliable.
  • Airplane mode on then off usually fixes this for me
  • Background tasks,battery drain will be fixed with WP8.1.It`s a mess with WP8,they`re aware of it.
  • Awesome list. Especially for new users.
    It's also good to keep the app list tight. Don't keep apps that you don't use or really need.
  • All this things are from the 'Duuuuh' list. But lets admit - most of the time the reson why people don't turn off they bluetooth or airplane mode or NFC etc etc is because it's not as quick as in Android OS. To do all this on/off stuff you have to know where in Settings it's located and then drill down. In android - pull-down status menu is super, and I repeat SUPER awesome thing. I wish WP would implement status menu too. 
  • They are in 8.1
    But you're right
  • I wasn't aware of that, can't wait. My biggest peeve after switching to WP a year ago.
  • I would have to agree. I downloaded an app that gives you the option to pin it but still it is OK...
  • Or less need to. I don't miss micromanaging the phone to eek out an extra few minutes. I get that some people a) like that or b) need other features so they deal with it, but for me, the phone is an appliance/device. Not a portable desktop computer, per se. Seems like both iOS and WP, in general (IN GENERAL, not every case), manage things like NFC/BT/WiFi/etc better than Android.
  • Glance not available for 625 ?
  • Well... if you don't have it on your L625, you shouldn't be to sorry. It's nothing to have really... I still doesn't understand why Nokia made this choice that is totally pointless, drains your battery and even making your display light up in your pocket... I question the prority that Nokia did when they made the glance function before the possibility to choose your own SMS-tone really... but hey...maybe it is just me...
  • I didn't know for nbr 5) I thought that auto mode will overrule the setting, thanks for the tip :)
  • Edit: Posted reply on wrong post :-)
  • I dont think the brightness tip is right. Automatic brightness overrides the low, medium, and high settings.
  • I have to agree... if the tip is right, it would be very poor interface design. I also don't understand why you would use the volume down plus power trick to reboot, which I believe does not issue a controlled shutdown and is intended for use in lockup. Much better to just hold power and slide the screen down, which goes through the full shutdown process. Strange tips.
  • The tip is actually right.  It is very poor interface design - very counter-intuitive.  But that's the way they did it.
  • What if I told you there is an automatic low, automatic medium, and an automatic high
  • It is definitely right. Try it in a dark room and you'll notice that the phone will stay at a high, medium or lower general brightness but still automatically adjust when you have the feature activated.
  • Some phones do this and some don't.
  • You should definitely set auto OFF, and leave it on medium (I find Low is too low in daylight). Auto means it's using the light sensor and constantly adjusting itself
  • This works differently on different phones.  On the 1020, auto on + low allows the display to become much dimmer in the dark than auto off + low.  Stupid, but that's how it works.