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Cortana now tells your other Windows devices when your battery is low or missed a text

One new feature that we knew was coming is evidently now available in Windows 10 Mobile build 14291 and 14295 (Redstone; Insider Fast Ring), which was released earlier today for PCs and Mobile. Microsoft's Cortana now has the ability (or, at least, option) to tell your other connected devices when that particular one's battery is running low.

Besides low battery alerts, Cortana is also getting the ability to notify you of a missed text or even app notification.

The option is located in Cortana's settings and is especially useful for Windows 10 Mobile, but it can also be used for tablets and laptops. The idea being that when your phone's battery is running low Cortana will notify you elsewhere e.g. your PC, laptop, and likely Xbox One when it gets the digital assistant this year.

The feature evidently came out in build 14291, but went unnoticed by some of us.

Some users are noting that the feature is not yet working. Unfortunately for us, all our batteries are full, so we cannot test either. We could be witnessing the early dev work for the feature, which could be switched on in later builds (assuming it's not available now).

The phone feature was spotted by Cassim Ketfi and later Florian B. confirmed the feature is also on the desktop build of 14295 as well.

To check if you have the feature:

  1. Open Cortana
  2. Use the Menu button (☰) and choose Notebook
  3. Select Settings
  4. Enable Send phone notifications

On current 10586.164 builds of Windows 10 and Mobile, there is a Send phone notifications option. However, it is only for missed calls. In the 14295 build Microsoft has added "when your battery is low" and "text or app notifications" in addition to the missed calls feature. You can see the before and after below for a comparison.

Once these features go live the connection between Cortana and your devices will certainly be more helpful. That is one of the goals of the Redstone branch, which will make the experience between Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 PC more continuous.

What else does Microsoft have planned? We expect to find out more next week at Build. Stay tuned!

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

92 Comments
  • Again, using Cortana for such features is bad by design. Most of the world can't even use Cortana. Why would you put these features behind Cortana?
  • Where would you put them? Edge? Valid point that much of the world doesn't have Cortana yet, but how do you expect some of this stuff to work? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Just by a normal sync - like syncing setting and such.
  • You can't control syncing as well as using a cloud ai to be the center for all these interactions. As a result you get instant and accurate information on both devices. A sync could fail, it could happen at a later time. A notification cleared in one spot has to sync to the other. Syncing has to happen way more often between devices using up memory. If you have the cloud computer doing all that for you, it saves battery big time. There's a lot of different things that make using cortana a good thing. The power of the cloud also makes sure that anything that is process intensive is taken care of lightning fast computer arrays rather than having the external devices do the processing. This allows for more features to be added in the future that may require powerful phones to manage which leaves some phones out. If you do it in the cloud it doesn't matter.
  • I'm not buying any of it. Emails, calenders, chat clients, even cloud storage can sync across devices and has been doing it for years without some computer AI. There's nothing process intensive about pushing characters to devices alerting you that something has happened on another device. AI/Cortana doesn't need to read the battery level on my phone to alert other devices when the battery is low. The phone just needs to send an alert when it is low; I doubt that's some complicated task the phone couldn't handle itself.
  • Yeah, maybe sending one notification to another device is easy. But what about the other stuff your phones has to communicate. Such as Email, texts (not yet on pc), phone calls, flights, etc.
  • Email, calendar, chat clients, etc. all use a server on the backend to push out data to clients. All of your examples are doing the same thing that Cortana will be doing. Yes, the client still needs to be involved with the communication, especially when it comes to battery updates on the phone; however, the power of a server keeping track and asking your phone its current status alleviates processor and battery usage on the phone.  
  • "Email, calendar, chat clients, etc. all use a server on the backend to push out data to clients."- Basically a push service. Cortana is not that. It's an assistant, but, in this case, a wall to allow a push service to work. No Cortana, no phone notifications. These simple things should just work with the Microsoft devices you're logged into without a wall. "the power of a server keeping track and asking your phone its current status alleviates processor and battery usage on the phone."- This couldn't be further from truth. That can't happen for free or make it cheaper on the phone. A server requesting status on a device will actually use MORE battery by waking (if sleep) and using the processor while using data. There is absolutely no reason for a server to keep track of battery stats of a phone in the context of this feature. The phone should push a message to other devices ONLY when the battery is low, not when a server sees that it is. Sorry, but I'm still not buying it.
  • When a battery low state is detected this creates a trigger which Cortana is aware of. It then sends the info across devices. But the battery savings would be more in the line of new features that could possibly be battery intensive if the cloud wasn't doing the cpu cycles. The notification system is a convenience where if Cortana manages it, you could in theory wipe a notification on your Desktop and it will then remove it from your phone if a setting to allow it is in place. You want to alleviate the complexity a developer has to implement in order to keep notifications synced across devices. A lot of apps I use across devices don't actually keep my notifications in sync. If I remove it on my desktop, it's still on my phone.
    But look at Gmail for example. They use their AI to create better mailboxes for people which helps people with efficiency. The cloud is the future. It will allow everyone to have more customized experiences. You can bring in more features that are less dependent on device hardware power. Think about streaming games. These let you play games on less powerful hardware because something more powerful is taking care of the complex calculations. So try to convert a complex physics math similulator from x64 w32 based code to UWP to run even on ARM devices. Sure it can be done. But how much battery would those complex calculations use up. Instead you create a new UWP app that has a new UI designed but keeps the complex code in the cloud. The latency to calculate the operation has lowered even though you're using the internet. Now does Cortana need to be involved for this to happen? Yes, Cortana is being integrated into everything because this is what will make their cloud much smarter. And the smarter it is the better it can get at giving each user their own experiences. The better it can get at understanding natural language. Right now you have to say things to Cortana that are pretty specific. One day it may be intelligent enough to get what you want no matter how you say it.
  • not available in french market
  • As part of the expanded battery tray on the taskbar so I know the exact % and not just get a "battery low" alert unexpectedly
  • Not sure about battery, but messages would be... In messaging.
  • So say someone sends you an MMS. Would you prefer that it syncs the file directly to your computer or for an AI to stream it for you when you want to watch it? And what if it could check if you setup a metered connection and transcode on the fly with a better compressed codec or lower bitrate. It could even technically upscale the image using powerful algorithms that normal computers just can't do that quickly.
  • I'd like to be able to have a history of my SMS in the messaging app on my PC. It doesn't seem like Cortana can make that happen.
  • Umm...that's already there. My PC messaging app has my SMS history
  • As DonnaxNL said, you could just send them independently of Cortana.
  • I'd also expect it to work whether the cloud is there or not, provided the devices can find each other via Bluetooth or the local network.
  • It is on by default no? And India, Chine use it so thats like 2/7th of the world right there xD
  • If they have it to where it is a question during the setup of Cortana (or just the phone setup) then I can see it as useful for everyone that has other Windows 10 devices.  That is once Cortana is expanded to other parts of the world.
  • I'm gonna take a leap here and assume you're one of those people who turn off Cortana for "privacy reasons". I hope I'm wrong though and you're an expert in UI/UX design.
  • I think they are using Cortana because it (she?) is cross platform, and has deep connections to OS still, so these features in android and iOS would still work with windows pc. +640/Win10
  • That is definitely a part of it. You need to have a "piece" of the OS that can come out and work across iOS and Android. Cortana is that sub-system to do it.
  • Fair enough, but that doesn't mean they couldn't just sync over notifications to other Windows devices as long as you were logged in with the same account. This is clearly part of Continuum phase 2, where they focus on cross device functionality. They cannot cram everything from that phase into Cortana anyway. They need to find natural places for it all and then have Cortana be something that hovers above it all and makes sense of it. For instance, they have the Action Center, which is a natural place to show notifications. Show them there. And then have a block in Cortana show that there are a number of notifications to take action on. Perhaps even suggest some actions to take. As for other devices, this would then naturally extend to those as well. But notifications should first and foremost go to the Notification Center (sorry I don't like that they call it action center). And messages should go to messaging, phone calls to the phone app, aso. Oh, and allow everyone or perhaps only insiders, to use Cortana no matter where we live. Just don't make it the default and write clear warnings that it won't work in my native tongue. Many others have said this before and I think it makes sense.
  • i fully agree this is terrible how they put everything under cortane... what a bs
  • This isn't some real AI named Cortana, when it comes down to it, it is just code. Code that could be put anywhere it doesn't necessarily have to only be through Cortana. Cortana may initiate the function but she could be an I/O device, like a mouse, activating that feature. If you think about it, Cortana doesn't control our notifications in the action center so technically this is just another notification thing that the action center is actually doing. Cortana is just the interface in between that makes using it more fluid across devices also considering she and everything she knows about you and does for you is stored in her notebook on the cloud so doing it that way allows them to connect the action center notifications across all devices. Not bad really... If someone has Windows 10 but aren't using Cortana and she is available, they are making a bad decision. For those that don't have her yet. I understand that does suck but she is coming and probably sooner rather than later, she will be in all regions so it's only a matter of time also considering that this isn't even officially ready yet... Let's give them a little more credit for leading some cutting edge stuff :)
  • This isn't some real AI named Cortana, when it comes down to it, it is just code. Code that could be put anywhere it doesn't necessarily have to only be through Cortana. Cortana may initiate the function but she could be an I/O device, like a mouse, activating that feature. If you think about it, Cortana doesn't control our notifications in the action center so technically this is just another notification thing that the action center is actually doing. Cortana is just the interface in between that makes using it more fluid across devices also considering she and everything she knows about you and does for you is stored in her notebook on the cloud so doing it that way allows them to connect the action center notifications across all devices. Not bad really... If someone has Windows 10 but aren't using Cortana and she is available, they are making a bad decision. For those that don't have her yet. I understand that does suck but she is coming and probably sooner rather than later, she will be in all regions so it's only a matter of time also considering that this isn't even officially ready yet... Let's give them a little more credit for leading some cutting edge stuff :)
  • This isn't some real AI named Cortana, when it comes down to it, it is just code. Code that could be put anywhere it doesn't necessarily have to only be through Cortana. Cortana may initiate the function but she could be an I/O device, like a mouse, activating that feature. If you think about it, Cortana doesn't control our notifications in the action center so technically this is just another notification thing that the action center is actually doing. Cortana is just the interface in between that makes using it more fluid across devices also considering she and everything she knows about you and does for you is stored in her notebook on the cloud so doing it that way allows them to connect the action center notifications across all devices. Not bad really... If someone has Windows 10 but aren't using Cortana and she is available, they are making a bad decision. For those that don't have her yet. I understand that does suck but she is coming and probably sooner rather than later, she will be in all regions so it's only a matter of time also considering that this isn't even officially ready yet... Let's give them a little more credit for leading some cutting edge stuff :)
  • Why infringe on progress?
  • With every device we have, having a different OS version now.. What's the point. MS get the OS sorted before added pointless bits
  • How is this bad? It sounds like a useful feature. Posted from my Moto X Pure Edition via the Windows Central App for Android
  • But then how can they roll it out to Android phones if it doesnt use Cortana?
  • I think the bigger issue is why most of the world doesn't yet have access to Cortana. These features should be linked with Cortana as it makes the most sense imo but Cortana should be available in a lot more places than it is. Posted via the Windows Central App for Symbian
  • Love it... InoSanchezJr @my ******* Lumia 1520 w10insider
  • useful to me
  • Awesome!!!
  • Amazing Features.... Love it very useful..... I love Windows 10 + Cortana integration
  • Will it work with the Band 2? Still not getting Skype text messages on the Band. So annoying the dysfunction...
  • " when unnoticed" must be " went unnoticed", I take it.
  • Shh
  • Great, another feature we'll be lucky to have by 2050.
  • Missed call notifications already work, so this doesn't seem like it would be too far off.
  • I already got missed call notifications from the start. That doesn't seem to be new indeed. Missed text I wouldn't know, who's texting when you have WhatsApp???
  • everyone in the US
  • SMS is so limited that I feel sorry for "everyone in the US" that are still enslaved by their carriers.
  • No it doesn't... Maybe in Uas region... For me is Cortana only big myth...
  • I agree. The os needs to be sorted before adding functions that most can't use.
  • They can do more than one thing at a time you know... This is why they have different branches. Posted from Windows Central for XL
  • Go whine about unfinished code now. Posted from Windows Central for XL
  • Doesn't seem like a good trade off for the build for one feature that an app can do. Posted from my boss ass 950
  • Phone and text is fine, I like the way missed calls work now but app notifications? It's a deal breaker, now I have to turn off calls since it's all bundled, all I need is all app notifications bouncing aroung between my desktop, laptop, Surface Pro, home and personal Windows 10 phones
  • Yeah, there really should be three separated options for calls, text and app notifications. Just like there should be two separate options on desktop for colors: One for displaying it on the window borders and headlines, and one for the taskbar, start menu, action center and flyouts. So yeah, let's see if any of these come true. Or the systemwide dark theme on desktop, without tweaking the registry :D Just as a single option.
    Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10, on HP 250 G1 notebook
  • Can one ask Cortana if his/her phone is eligible for the W10M update? I think instead of the Upgrade Advisor program, Cortana would be a better option. Lol.
  • Why not making Cortana the only way to get any updates, including support for Cortana.
  • wrong, she doesnt tell me anything cos i live in the netherlands and she thinks i cant speak/understand english and she thinks i dont want here cos she is not optimized for my stupid region.... like i care about the region bullshit. so much things have nothing to do with the region that she could be useful for in a way.
  • Totally agree, I've been using Cortana for a long time already in the Netherlands, but really stupid I have to tell my PC and Phone that the region is US... Why??? Also, would be nice to have it in Dutch too... Cortana doesn't understand many Dutch names and also has no clue how to read incoming texts! Luckily I almost never get any text messages.
  • Sweet.... can't wait for T-Mobile to either push the Windows 10 for 640 or announce that the flagship Alcatel is in a store near you. Waiting to try these new features.... Rockin the 640
  • The Alcarel is in a TMo store near you. Not that TMo would ever bother to advertise the face, mind you. (And TMo wonders why the sales figures for Windows phones are lower than they expect...)
  • * Alcatel (Can we get edit in the app anytime soon?)
  • Yes, the Alcatel Fierce XL is in the store but they are supposedly coming out with a new Alcatel Super Phone that T-mobile will also be carrying. I think it would be a good upgrade to the 640 plus since the Fierce XL has already seen a update, updates shouldn't be a problem for some time. Rockin the 640
  • Windows phone sales are low not because of advertising, but the slow development of the OS.
  • At least they will finish it this year to have a good OS next year. Sent from Lumia 550, HTC Desire 816 or Dell Inspiron 5122
  • Just take the insider release preview build, then upgrade, then exit insider program after putting your phone on production. No point waiting for carriers. +640/Win10
  • Sounds tempting but since it is my main daily driver..... I'm good. I'm pretty patient when it comes to stuff like this. I am though also rockin a 635 with no sim that is part of the insider release preview but looks like the builds have came to a screeching halt for this device. Rockin the 640
  • So they didn't announce this as a new feature in this build. Do you think they leave these as sort of Easter eggs for us to find? Or they lackadaisically give us an incomplete change log? What are your thoughts?
  • Out of all the builds of W10/M, how many have had an actual change log? I think I'm going to stop writing them at work, claiming must be best practice since Microsoft fails to provide them so often.
  • The notifications started automatically on my desktop and laptops from my W10 phone.
  • So frustrating to have to wait at least another 4 months to know how many more Cortana language packs will be supported if last years Joe Belfiores statements are true.  Nice to read more cortana features, but they're simply out of reach for me and many more, to a point Cortana seems but a myth. We're already into the Redstone build. Lets see... 36 months waiting... and still patientily waiting.
  • Probably dump most users. If you ain't got Cortana by now they will probably say get a new phone to get it.
  • New phone is not the solution. The solution is there needs to be a language pack for Cortana.
  • Useless until can be used by all counties/language
  • Agreed
  • Call notifications should be handled by the Phone app, text notifications by the Messaging app. No need for Cortana.
  • Cortana is the real deal, a true P.A
  • I wish the notebook had a black background too. It would be more consistent with the dark theme.
  • I love these built in features and appreciate the notifications for missed events. Keep them coming MS.
  • Would be more useful to remove the dupe messages the build before last created or even allow messages to be restored correctly. Rather than functions most can't use.
  • This sounds like a feature MS will keep hidden, then Apple will announce as a major innovation at a future OS launch event...
  • Please release Cortana in India
  • There is also a remind me option when you have an incoming call and can't answer it
  • The crying never ends on this site.  Nice feature btw.
  • Exactly what I was thinking. If Microsoft creates an app for other platforms first, it's the end of the world, "they suck", etc. But when they add exclusive features to Windows then it's "why bother? most people won't be able to use that" lol
  • Can it tell if my Iron Man suit has low power? After switching from Jarvis to Friday, im thinking about switching to Cortana.
  • Why Cortana??? Lot of users can't use Cortana... First step of MS should be allow Cortana to all language settings even in English... I'm Slovak, my PC has Slovakian settings but why Cortana can't communicate by English with me.
  • EXACTLY (I'm Polish and I can't use cortana too :( )
  • Lol when my battery is low I would not enable cortana
  • Can any one tell me is L625 eligible for the update .164 preview developer.And also for official windows 10 update in India
  • I would prefer if the phone detected that it was not on the charger by 10PM that it just keep beeping. Sometimes I get up in the morning and realize i forgot to put the phone on the charger the night before. No Cortana or syncing needed.
  • Since my work Win10 pc doesn't have functioning Cortana or Edge, since they are incompatible with roaming profiles, I guess I'll have to use my phone itself to monitor its charge level.
  • I just wish they made Cortana works in more countries first and then add more functions
  • Cortana no soon cortayna Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Cortana is not saying any missed alerts.. john
  • Yawn. All these are useless to me since Cortana is still not available in my country.