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Windows 10 Mobile battery saving tips

The higher-end Windows 10 Mobile devices, including the Lumia 950 XL and the HP Elite x3 have pretty solid battery life, especially the latter, but it's also pretty easy to drain them if you're careless.

Whether you're using something on the high end, mid range, or low end, here are our best tips for saving battery life on Windows 10 Mobile.

Disable certain features

The Windows 10 Mobile Action Center comes packed with quick controls that allow you to improve your battery life, and it's as easy as a swipe and tap.

By swiping down from the top of the Action Center, then tapping "Expand," you'll be able to see a full section of controls for gaining command of your battery.

Some of the top things to disable to save battery include:

  • Location.
  • Bluetooth.
  • Mobile Data.
  • WiFi.

Naturally, you might not want to disable some of these, but if you're in a situation where you want to save as much juice as possible, turning off any of these will suffice.

Beyond the default options in the Action Center, if you go into "All Settings," there are even more things you can toggle off to save power.

Disable more via the settings menu

If you swipe down to open the Action Center, then select "All Settings," you gain access to Windows 10 Mobile's searchable control panel, allowing you to disable even more things to extend your battery life.

  • Search for "NFC," and consider disabling it.
  • Search for "Brightness," and tweak the settings to meet your needs. Naturally, a lower brightness will yield battery gains.
  • Some devices have a tap-to-wake feature, you can disable that by searching "Double tap."
  • Lumia phones have an always-on glance screen, which can be disabled by searching for "glance."

Disabling any or all of these features will help lower power consumption further.

Master the Battery Saver

If you swipe down to open the Action Center, there's a feature called "Battery Saver" which operates similarly to Windows 10 PCs. Turning that on will automatically lock the brightness at a lower power, and disable background activity for all compatible apps across the OS.

Note: Some apps designed for Windows Phone 8 or older may ignore Windows 10's Battery Saver feature, and may still drain your battery unless you disable their notifications or background tasks in-app. One example of this is Kik, which was designed for, ahem, Windows Phone 7.

If you long press the Battery Saver from the Action Center, you can view "Battery usage by app" with a quick tap. In here, you can browse through which apps have recently used power, and, if they're particularly rampant on draining battery, you can disable them at will.

Miscellaneous tips

There are also lots of other little things you can do to save battery to achieve maximum juice efficiency.

  • Make sure you're closing apps after using them by holding the back button, then tapping the "X" on any open apps.
  • Keep your phone on mute if you don't need the sounds on notifications.
  • Lower the frequency of incoming mail via the "Manage Accounts" menu by tapping the three dots in your Outlook Mail inbox.
  • Try to stick to modern apps built for Windows 10. If the app's store page listing says that it's compatible with Windows Phone 8.x devices or higher, then it might hurt your battery more than a true Windows 10 app.
  • Apps like Facebook can really gobble up power. If, unlike me, you're particularly popular, consider disabling each social media app's background capabilities and check them manually to save battery life.

Your tips?

There's probably various other little tips and tricks to help rescue battery life from the evil clutches of time degradation. If you know anymore, slap them in the comments below, and we'll stick them in here in a future update.

Jez Corden
Jez Corden

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

42 Comments
  • Never liked articles that suggest to "disable features". Features are the essence of smartphones.
  • I understand this but I don't agree. Right now, there are only a few Windows phones that seem to have pretty good battery life so any and all tips help.
  • And wetness is the essence of beauty
  • Loved the glorious days of WP8-8.1, and my Lumia 1520.. I remember when I first got that phone. I still had my 920, and the 1520 looked like a mini tablet sitting in my passenger seat on the way home. Bright ass red, and everyone always asked me a bout it. Even WP, and that beautiful start screen, got peoples attention.... Siggggh, those days are gone (or on halt, hopefully)... I dream of the day someone will ask me about my device again, and be able to say that it's a Surface product WITH TERRIFIC BATTERY LIFE! SMDH
  • I agree on features but at least they should tell people to uninstall fitbit garbage app. All the lumias I saw had a 50% battery drain from that app so it's bugged as hell and should be removed from store. And actually they should fix the OS too since in win8 it had a cpu cycle count that stopped devs from draining battery in background processes by killing them (the processes!)
  • Wait. Is that why my phone keeps dying?. Lol. I installed that app several weeks ago, and haven't had good battery life since. Can't believe I didn't connect the two. Never thought about it.
  • Yup. My mother and a friend. Both bought new battery. Then I disabled background in battery options for thst app and they returned the battery :-)
  • Ok. I will see.
  • Thank you for the heads up, will try this!
  • Closing all the suspended apps every time can actually consume more battery, as the OS will need more power to restart them every time instead of just resuming them. Plus, keeping stuff in the RAM doesn't change its power usage at all - all free RAM is just "wasted" RAM.
    So yes, it's a good idea to close apps that keep using power (ie. Maps), but closing apps like WhatsApp every time will end up reducing the battery time.
  • That's a solid point but unfortunately some apps don't work as well when coming back from the background so you have no choice but to close and reopen them.
  • Yes, if it's an app you use frequently, then leave it running. Otherwise it wouldn't hurt to close it.
  • Lol. That's like the old myth that you will consume more gas if you don't leave your car running... Doesn't always work that way, and if you charted usage on a graph you would see a slope that would either most likely balance your theory out over time, or disprove it all together. My point is that this can only be determined by math to come up with factual percentages of loss, or gain, over time.... Speculation
  • That's inaccurate, and this point is not just speculation. You can read the official documentation of the app lifecycle in the UWP framework here. Manually closing an app is indeed useful when you have applications that keep working in the background, so applications that explicitly require an extended execution session or that use other APIs to be able to do some more processing after the user navigates away from them. In the other cases, the OS will suspend them, and after the suspension threshold expires, all the threads in the app are actually blocked and the app stops using any power whatsoever. What's more, you don't even need to close those apps to free up memory, as the OS will automatically move tombstoned apps (suspended) into the terminated state if it determines there isn't enough available RAM when needed. Instead, starting an app from scratch is usually an action that takes up quite a bit of power - an application will initialize its resources, load data from the disk (cache, local files etc...) and initialize its UI and backend every time it is executed. You wouldn't want apps like whatsapp (I know whatsapp is still a silverlight app, but the same idea applies) to do that every single time you open them to read a message, that's why it's actually a bad idea to manually close every open app as soon as you minimize it. Trust me, every app has a ton of code in its initialization workflow, and usually just a few things in its OnSuspending event handler (especially since the OS has strict limitations there in terms of available time to release the deferral).
  • I can't agree on this either, even if you close an app its background processes will continue running. Removing an app will only free memory of the suspended foreground logics while background processes continue running unless they are stopped by the OS or by the battery saver (user option)... Or they crash due to a bug :-)
  • Yeah, but nothing you wrote explains how closing manually used more power than letting them stay suspended.
  • Let's simplify, because doing something costs more than doing nothing ;-) that's what suspended apps do.
  • "Make sure you're closing apps after using them by holding the back button, then tapping the "X" on any open apps." This is one of the dumbest things about WP10.  When I hit the back arrow to leave a program I don't want to see it hanging out there.  I don't want to have to to hit an "X".  I just want it to close.  Like in the previous iterations.  This is one of many things I love about the versions prior to the WP/M 10.
  • Or you could know a bit about programming...
  • Only need to close Edge because it's a garbage resource hog. Closing other apps simply consumes more resources when you need to open them again. Closing apps as a general suggestion is indeed ridiculous.
  • WP7 and WP8 never had these issues.  The system did a masterful job of managing open programs and closing them down to help maintain good batterly life.  W10M, just like Windows 10 itself, completely sucks at this,  And I partially blame all the users who INSISTED Microsoft give them the option to have more apps active.  Thanks.
  • Where did you get your rose colored glasses? I might want a pair too. WP8 was pretty bad at battery management. The Maps app was the biggest offender. It would kill my battery within 20-30 minutes. I used my 920 to GPS me to DC, and despite it being plugged in the phone still died right as I arrived. My 950XL actually gains battery when plugged in and using GPS. Yes, some things were nice about WP8, but I never want to go back to it.
  • Well, that's not exactly true.. WP7-7.5 never had these issues... Now, WP8-8.1 did when they first came out, then got better with updates. They also had serious heat issues as well.
  • Here, here... WP7/WP8 were the best and still is! 
  • Periodically, I also recommend doing a fresh install of the latest build.  I was about to ditch my 950XL due to glitches, sluggishness and crashes before I did a fresh install.  After the install, it was silky smooth and battery life much improved. Also, like the article suggested, check to see which apps are killing your battery.  Some apps, like the Fitbit app, are continually being worked on and updated.  They experiment with different features that sometimes are battery drainers.
  • Agreed. I was having issues with my 950XL and Insider Preview updates, and they all went away after the restore. We shouldn't have to do this, but at least it works.
  • This in fact touches on the most important issue with Windows Phones going back some time now.  The developers have been focussed on things that are great to have, but over time and updates, the OS becomes sluggish, buggy and hard to manage.  They should have long ago determined a way to get the same results out of their OS as what you find on a fresh install, continuously.  If you can understand the problem, and you can duplicate a solution (resintall) then you can determine what the cause of the issue is and deal with it.  They have not.  I wonder how much market share that cost them over the years?
  • This⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆
  • "If, unlike me, you're particularly popular..." LOL. As Windows Phone users we all probably aren't! Although each of my five kids has one and they do say their phones turn heads in school. Seriously doubt they'll have an effect on the future of W10M though. :-(
  • Also check your battery. Now mine operates losing to auto turn off the device from 13% within a minute. I am pretty sure I have dead cells. No battery-saving option will help that.
  • Two things that I found in the past couple of weeks to be causing my aging Lumia 950 to lose battery in about 2-3 hours.  1 - I think the battery was just old, so I replaced it with one I found on Amazon for less than $20.  That helped a bit.  The other thing that seemed to be really taking a toll on the battery was my company's mobile device management solution that my phone was connected to.  I decided to remove my device from that and suddenly, I'm back up to a half day to even a full day of battery life on a single charge.
  • my tip is buying Android or iOs. My iOS/Android device has better battery no matter how i use the location/bluetooth/nfc. MS messed with their own product, I never have to think about "battery tip" back in the day of W8.1, every update bring us a worse version of OS.    
  • Thanks Jez, finally some positive usefull tips from an actual win 10 mobile user. i knew about most of these but you enlightned me on a few more. have a great day Jez. AL
  • <3
  • who cares
  • Obviously you do since you took the time to post and presumably to read the article, othersie STFU and MYOB.
  • Screen resolution is a huge  battery hug...Only if L950 could be reduced to 1920 x 1080...
  • Disable everything, turn the screen brightness down, don't make any phones call...Better yet, just don't unlock it. You might get an hour out of it with latest builds.
  • During working hours, I don't need to have my phone check e-mails on background. I would have my Mail app open in my PC. All I would need from my phone then is the messaging app such as WhatsApp. With that knowledge, I set WhatsApp to 'always allowed in background' in battery saver. Then, during the working hours, I would turn on battery saver. WIth that set to on, my battery would start the working hour at around 85% and end at 55%. Pretty impressive. Without it, I would have to recharge at the 6th hour of my working hour (battery warning below 10%).
  • just image you are lost in the jungle, and here you are advised to turn off the location feature, yet its the feature that would be the most important!
  • 2 I can add from personal experience: plan your app usage. Using apps naturally drains the battery, but if you know your daily routine you can plan app usage and be more efficient beforehand by knowing what you need from the app and when to close it again. For example when you need to look something up in Edge stick to that task and skip on any other distraction searches. Most important, when not using your phone for an extended period and expecting not be contacted frequently, turn off your phone, this is by far the biggest battery saver. My experience is that windows phone start up pretty quickly, so waiting for booting up isn't a big issue for me.
  • Turn off WiFi if you're taking lots of photos, because you don't want to waste your battery power uploading all those photos to OneDrive.