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Microsoft thinks they can make your smartphone battery power last all week

If Microsoft has its way, smartphone battery life could last up to a week at some point in the near future. That's the claim from a team member at Microsoft Research who stated this week that longer battery life can be obtained by making some software and design tweaks to current smartphones.

Speaking at the MIT Technology Review's Digital Summit in San Francisco this week, Microsoft researcher Ranveer Chandra pointed out that it has taken 15 years for the density of batteries to double. He says there are other ways to extend battery life right now rather than wait for advances in that technology.

One method that Microsoft has experimented with is putting in two smaller lithium-ion batteries inside a smartphone, rather than one larger battery. The idea is that one of the smaller power packs could be used to generate a larger current when there is an application that needs the extra power, like a game. The other battery could run at a lower current for when the smartphone is in idle mode.

Chandra says that prototypes that have been built with this dual battery design have seen battery life last as much as 50 percent longer compared to the single battery method.

Another method that's being tried out is called E-Loupe. Chandra says this involves installing software on a smartphone that can find apps that are using a lot of battery power, even when they are not being used, and either shut them down or slow their activity.

There's certainly a lot that could be done to increase battery use in smartphones and other mobile devices, and hopefully some of these methods, such as the ones that are being developed by Microsoft, will find their way into the consumer market sooner rather than later. And, of course, there are things like the screen and radios that take up the majority of the juice in day-to-day use — those are still going to need some doing.

What kind of battery life are you getting from your Windows Phone?

Source: MIT Technology Review

277 Comments
  • It's not running 8.1 beta. :'(
  • ;(
  • :'(
  • MS gotta be kidding me... 7 days??? Never possible in my phone. I'm sure because i know how i use it, no matter what they do...
    Although i liked the idea of putting two Li-ion batteries....
  • Make it happen MS
  • Kind of don't understand why can't phone manufacturers dual boot their phones with a striped down OS that makes and receives calls only.
  • Because that's an awful lot of work for not much gain. Just turn data off, that's one of the hugest data hogs. I can get 3+ days out of my 928 with data off.
  • I get 2 days on my L920 with my data off and left it in my drawer without even using it. Wonder why it's different even we have the same spec and battery size ._.
  • And location
  • Like S5 super power saving mode?
  • No point carrying a bulky smartphone around if you only want to do calls - and perhaps messages.
    you can buy a cheap feature phone for that.  Otherwise you're lugging around a huge touchscreen, camera, etc, etc just to make calls.  utter waste.
  • I get about 4-6 hours depending on usage.
  • I used to get almost two days of usage on a single charge with my Lumia 1520 on WP8, but now with 8.1 I get half of it...
    Moreover, I installed 8.1 on my wife's Lumia 820 which used to get almost a whole day of usage, and now her battery is empty after 6 or 7 hours without almost touching her device!!! This is almost unbearable, it's almost not a mobile device anymore! Microsoft, get your $hit straight and please fix this in the official release!
  • I'm so sick of people posting things like this. This a Developer Preview if you don't know what you're doing or you expect it to work perfectly then why are you using it? Things are not final and there is going to be improvements in the final release. There isn't even any firmware released for it! You shouldn't install it if you expect a fully-functional, perfect experience. This is designed to be used to port your apps over to be ready on release day, not for consumers to use.  The Preview is for Developers not Consumers so why should you expect any better? Nothing is optimised beacuse there is no device specific firmware. Geez...
  • Agree'd. I wouldn't have installed the DP on a family member or loved ones device, unless you like hearing them complain.
  • Use the Nokia recovery tool and put them back on 8.0 I did that on my icon to see if my battery would still get hot as hell on my Icon.
  • Thanks for putting that in perspective bro. I've never heard of the firmware thing though. When does that come into play?
  • Y'know when Nokia released Nokia Amber (?) and the camera algorithms improved on the 1020, stuff like that. Nokia Cyan will be rolling out with WP 8.1 which will optimise specific devices for the OS and bring improvements, unlike now.
  • Not to mention that they don't bother to do any battery optimization themselves. If every app is allowed to run in the background, you're going to get crap battery life. 
  • I'm guessing this is a big reason why results vary so much. I turn everything off that I can except messaging apps.
  • THANK YOU!!! That was one of the first things I did after installing 8.1 and at this point I see little difference in battery usage between 8.1 and 8.0.
  • +9000
  • I will look all your messiah-waiting faces, when the official 8.1 is out, with all the OS-bugs-dont-matter-as-the-magic-happens-inside-firmware expectations, and it will turn out immediately, that the so-waited miracle battery life isnt there. The current situation will not be improved even with that damn FIRMWARE woodo magic, I have high bets on that. Its a nasty way to purge those not-even-2-years-old 8.0-generation phones in favor of buying new things, consumer society for the masses.
  • MS simply cannot afford to travel down the 'Apple' route in the fashion as you describe... Every tech site would rip  them a new one.    
  • Funny, but my Icon seems to get over a day's worth of battery now, when it couldn't get through a day with 8.0. This is after the last update and after making sure background processes that are completely unneeded are turned off. The only time I have issues now appears to be from a random issue involving my WiFi connection that causes the phone to go into some kind of handshaking loop and burn the battery down fast. Turning WiFi off and back on, or restarting the phone fixes it. The WiFi will be part of the firmware updates coming from what was Nokia,  
  • Developer Preview or not, this battery drain on 8.1 is a major issue.
  • Not unless it's in the finished release it's not. 
  • yeah unless it drains less battery life like in my case, when it lasts more than 2 days average.
    example... did people have their wifi always on in 8.0 (after amber update or whatever) or they turned on the option off and used it like windows phone 7/8? (you know it turns wifi off when screen is turned off) well then you can't expect much if you are always connected to wifi and they just turn it off. I use it always on in windows phone 8.1 (never used it in 8.0) and still I can get 2 days average battery life.
    also, did people change the mail configuration and how it syncs? because 8.1 could change it to always check for emails, so more accounts you have more battery life wasted.
    do they stopped every useless background task?
    yeah 8.1 needs firmware update to be better, but IN MY CASE, it's better than 8.1. and battery life has improved a little.
    But if people install a preview update waiting it to be perfect and with no issues and they don't try to find the way to optimize their battery life, is it 8.1 fault? no.
  • Well said and 100% agreed!
  • I second @heat33330's remarks; there are way too many people moaning about the 8.1 "preview". It's a work in progress, people, not the finished article.  We're getting to try something out way before the official release so of course it has its bugs and quirks and if you're not happy with that you should absolutely avoid such updates.  There's no doubt my 1520's battery life is not what it was, but that was always the risk of installing the preview and given everything else it has given me, I can comfortably live with it for now.  All these "sort it the f*** out MS!" and "get your act together" posts are ignorant and unhelpful because they're based on a curious delusion; that something obviously unfinished should be finished for you.  Behave yourselves, ffs.
  • This.
  • You know what un-rests. Me ,, 8.1 (prev) , dumped the cool features that made WP stand out grin the crowd , they have removed fb chat integration , There Me tile is just useless ... N the worst thing is that WP users are letting it happen by not raising their voices .... Soon the finished product will be out , n these changes will be final ...
  • While I agree that existing devices are missing the proper firmware the OS version is the final one and devices running it are already sold in European markets.
  • What makes you think I don't know what I'm doing? I happen to be a WP developer, and I've been using WP since WP7. Have some respect, will you? I didn't expect anything special, but another thing I wasn't expecting is that my battery would drain twice as fast after the update - so what if it's a preview? What do you think would be so different in the final release battery-wise? I think it won't improve, at least not back to the WP8.0 level.
  • +920
    The truth. Also, you have to take care of your background tasks and accounts syncing setups after updating. I have almost the same battery life as before (except I use my phone a lot more now).
  • On my 1520, with 8.1, I get an average of a day and a half, with heavy usage, usually 2 days. My gf's 1020 gets a full day with 8.1.
  • Same here, Jonnie, on my 1520. 1 1/2 - 2 days and its still not on battery saver when I charge it either! Quite impressed with battery life so far....
  • Same here, can't say enough about how well the 1520's battery holds up.
  • When did you install? The first few days the battery life on my 521 and Icon was terrible, for some reason. Now it's back to lasting at least a couple of days. There seems to have been a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff going on in the beginning. Only explanation I have at least. Of course, it also depends on which apps you have going in the background.
  • Most people play with the phone more after the update so possible you had used it more the first couple days
  • I think you're right that that's part of it too, but not the whole truth. Either way, with normal use now I get over a day's use easily on both of them. That's not great, but perfectly livable. I have chargers everywhere anyway. :)
  • Back up your apps and settings, do a soft reset and then restore it. It worked for me.
  • huh, why would one need to restore after a SOFT reset?  
  • I have a 1520 and my battery last about 8-10 hours and I am running the 8.1 DP, maybe you should go to the forums and see if some people there have an words of advice for you. After install did you do a factory reset, have you checked to make sure everything isn't running in the background... Just a couple ideas that may help. Good luck
  • I get 2 days of intermittent use, or one full day of heavy usage on my 1520 running 8.1 preview.
  • Hi please check your battery sense to know what is draining the battery quickly. I am still getting two days on my Lumia 1520 on developer preview 8.1. No Cortana running on phone though.
  • Disconnect facebook from your Microsoft account. The facebook app now handles the connect. Will double your life.
  • I don't use Facebook, but my wife does - disconnect it might help a little, thanks :)
  • @efektos Do a hard reset on your 820, i had the same issue, but last week i did a hard reset and I assumed it would go back to win 8 but it didnt, it went to win 8.1 and the battery lasts all day now. Its just worth it.   Sycerith
  • Me too...920, just not enough :)
  • That's terrible. I get ~12 hours with medium to heavy usage on my Icon, with 15 background tasks running and 4 email accounts.
  • Very little difference going from 8.0 to 8.1 on Lumia 928, granted one needs to weed out hungry Apps on both platform versions.
  • Same here...
  • Same here on my Lumia 925
  • Icon on DP, getting about 2 days after last update. Auto correct on WP sucks major ass.
  • Then turn it off!... Oh yea you don't Know how..... LoL go to your settings>keyboard and tap on your keyboard you would like to change, then untick "correct misspelled words"
  • I dunno what you're doing with your phone but I get a full day of steady usage and it'll only just be getting near 10% by the time I'm going to bed
  • That's terrible battery life unless you're speaking about playing games on your phone..
  • I was getting the same crappy battery life with WP 8.1 until I resetted my phone. After that, battery life is even better than what I had with WP 8.0.
  • I am getting about 10 hours on my Lumia 1020 with normal use. I originally was getting about half that when I first installed 8.1 preview. It wasn't until I noticed that by default all apps run in the background. Really hope that MS fixes this when the official update starts rolling out. Why it couldn't figure out that apps not running in the background on 8 shouldn't run on 8.1 seems crazy. In fact why they all were on by default is even worse.
  • I now get like the same battery life as I did before. My battery life is better then my gf's iPhone 5. It use to be worse. I went in and changed the apps usage and it helped a lot because they were all turned on. After phone updates from MS it is now pretty good. Though in all phones its still a problem. Check to see if you have all wp8.1 updates and make it so apps aren't using battery when not in use through battery saver
  • Holy shit
  • Crappy but what's new? Idle battery life is better with 8.1 but a lot of apps seem to drain the battery faster.
  • I agree. Battery life since 8.1 is not good when running apps. Good on idle.
  • My work phone running 8.1 on a 1h drive it drops 3% without using it. On my personal phone running 8.0 setup same way for testing still has 100%
  • I've written it many times here, but I'l say it again: it really seems like 8.1 has an issue with the display/keyboard touch and how much power it draws. I can watch Hulu Plus or Netflix or listen to music and it just draws a few percent of power. On idle, it only uses 1-2% an hour. But being in a text (SMS) conversation, of all things, just drains the battery at big rate, like 15% or more. It's pretty crazy, considering that shouldn't hardly tax the CPU at all. Same with browsing or anything that requires interaction. So I'm holding out hope that firmware can fix this. Or update to the OS. I don't know if I'm right, but it seems to point to the touch-interaction being the key for battery drain in my case at least.
  • On a similar subject my 925 lasts about 1 1/2 days ..... unless .... it gets wifi tangled. I have a double set up at home with two routers - three separate wifi´s ( two at 2.4 one at 5 ). The 925 uses both frequencies. Obviously walking around the house, garden, garage etc , I expect it to find the strongest signal and switch. But I suspect it hangs on to a weak signal - then the battery goes in say 10 hours or quicker. If this is the case then this can happen around open hotspots in say town. Anyone else see this - can you get round it ? Brian
  • This appears the be the crux of a lot of sudden battery drains. Since turning off unneeded backround apps and getting the last update, my Icon easily lasts over a day when idle except for when it gets stuck in a WiFi handshaking loop. I suspect it's because it will default to 5GHz first, and some spots in my house are weak on 5GHz. I finally separted my networks by naming the 5GHz slightly different than the 2GHz. Since doing that, and only connecting to the 2GHz, I haven't seen any incidents of this, nor the poorer reception and occassional lose of network at times. I'm hoping the Cyan update will address the WiFi issue with better drivers.
  • Noticed this too... An hour of solid whatsapp messaging drains my battery faster then playing asphalt for an hour.... Crazy!
  • Pudge)
  • Hahaha On Lithium-ion batteries market. Nice dream thou
  • Seems longer....
  • Maybe It took a few pills
  • Hahaha
  • Gotta worry after 4 hours though
  • Seems like that's what she said
  • I get 4 hours on WiFi in Lumia 525. It's a great device barring battery life.
  • Finally. Its about time these stone age batteries get replaced by new kinds.
  • This sounds awesome, and I can totally believe it seeing how my 1520.3 lasts 3 days already!
  • Agreed.  
  • Are you running 8.1?
  • Yes
  • This would also make a good music player if the SD slot supported more than 32GB.  Could you test it with a 64 or 128GB card?
  • I want the 1520 so bad or I might settle for a Lumia 1320. Still debating coming from a Lumia 520 anything is an upgrade.
  • I have the same question.
  • If you can afford the extra cash. I'd say it is well worth it. I've been an android user (using only flagship devices). And out of curiousity tried  WP. I freaking love my Lumia 1520. I can't recommend it enough if you are into big phones.  Beautiful full hd display, solid camera and overall really well built device. Amazing battery duration I just simply could not get on any Android I owned... Can't say anything about 1320, tho. I haven't even see it with my own eyes : (
  • I get 1.5 Days out of my 1520 with light gaming and all day work activitys (email, web, couple apps)
  • Two days with normal use and one day with heavy use on my 1520.The Dev Preview was a battery eater when I had it installed.
  • I get about a 5-8 hours usage on my Lumia 520 with WP 8 my other Lumia 520 with WP 8.1 gets about 2-4 hours Hopefully Windows does a drastic fix on battery fix and life on future updates or Nokia Cyan updates.
  • Cyan update will surely increase the battery life..Battery's draining faster in 8.1..No other OS can beat WP8.1 to it for now..
  • @Microsoft...don't talk about it, just be about it. Nuggahs love talking about what they can do. I believe I can fly but then reality hits me.
  • You can brother when MS OFFICE touch comes to WP after iOS and Droid..And also when WIN 9 is released...
  • Office has been included with Windows Phone since release. That's Windows Phone 7, released in late 2010. It still has office now. I'm surprised it took Microsoft so long to port it from WP to IOS and Android since most of the work on making it fit the form factor was already done for the version included with WP.
  • 1520 1 1/2 days with heavy usage :-)
  • Yup same .. People really need to check what apps are running and shut some down if they are only getting 4-6 hours of life
  • I get 1 to 2 days with light to heavy use on my 1520
  • Yup same here 1-1.5 days depending on usage. In love with my 1520! Still with WP8. Don't wanna risk having 8.1, I'll wait it out for official OTA update
  • That's because the 1520 has 3400 mah battery! Big even for Android phones!
  • If they can really do it then they can shut the fuck up and take my money.
  • This what errbody needs
  • I am lucky to get 6 hours on my 1020 running 8.1. That is after trying to condition my Battery through deep cycling until completely dead and full charging repeatedly. Any tips?
  • Yes, Nokia Camera will gobble up the battery in no time. The only tip would be to get the grip that comes with more battery.
  • Check what apps are running in the background because that is piss poor battery life .. My 1020 used to go a full day easily unless I was playing some heavy games for an hour or so. My current 1520 has been great at about 1.5 days.
  • I get slightly more than 24 hours on my Lumia 1020 with normal usage
  • It's not good to deep cycle repeatedly -- it can shorten battery life long term. Once a month, max, is what I've heard recommended.
  • Okay MS now make it and put it in production as soon as possible. Many innovations are just mentioned but Samsung or apple ends up selling the products first.
  • This. Eventually they will not be the first. Much talk MS research, no action.
  • Exactly. Don't talk about it. Present it and say "It goes on sale tomorrow".
  • My 1520 lays at least 15 hours with heavy usage. ThanQ Nokia for this smartphone
  • If I don't use my phone much I get 2 days battery life on my Lumia 1320. If I play games, use whatsapp a lot then the battery lasts for a day. The 1320 has a single huge battery. I'm sure if the suggested methods were implemented the Lumia 1320 would run for more than a week. :P
  • You're on a news site that digs up info about what's going on. It's not as if Microsoft took out a full page ad or ran commercials. I like hearing what's being researched and worked on, even if it's not ready.
  • It was a wrong move in moving away from AA batteries in first place :P
  • My 1520 lasts easily a day and a half with lots of email, surfing, apps, and a little gaming. If they could double that.....wow! It would be like the old flip phones.
  • That'd be like Nokia 3310 back to the good old days but even better! Imagine that...
  • Off topic. I have a 1520 ATT US Does anyone know what the three metal contacts are for on the back of the phone? They are directly above rear speaker.
  • Wireless charging accessory since att gutted it in favor of pma
  • What accessory?
  • If its really cold outside, do NOT stick your tongue to those contacts.
  • LOL
  • Wireless charging case
  • My device Lumia 625 running 8.1 dev preview.. Lasts 1 day on WiFi...
  • I had bad battery life before 8.1 and it only got worse after
  • Try turning off apps that you don't need running in the background. Also put screen at low but auto. That should help.
  • My Lumia 520 give 12 to 14 hours with moderate usage
  • About 3.5 - 4 hours with heavy use on lumia 620 with win 8.1.
  • Oh and wp 8.1 after the battery update definitely solved the terribly poor battery life for me
  • Hardly gets 16 hours, Lumia 920 WP8.1
  • Since i updated to 8.1, on my HTC 8s battery lasts about 2.5 days. On windows phone 8 it was nearly 4 days.
  • Dude 2.5 days? Do you use your phone anytime? And 2.5 days is a very long time for a battery to last..
  • Yup! With minimalistic use I get 2-2.5 days. Means no WiFi, no listening music, no playing games etc. Just texting and answering phone calls :)
  • Why the hell do you even have a smartphone?
  • I use my phone for text and calls that's it.Not everyone uses their phones for apps, music and gaming.I have a Xbox and a iPod for that.
  • HAHAHAHA! Bless em! That made me chuckle. 
  • Before installing 8.1, I would go through an entire day and still have juice left to spare. After installing 8.1, I can expect at best 6 hrs of charge. At least I am not the only one with this issue.
  • You're right..
  • If I don't play games, battery lasts about 10-12 hours of moderate usage on my 1020 running WP8.1. With light usage, about 12-15 hours. With games that require constant network connection, like Wordament or Snap Attack, battery can go from full to empty in 2-3 hours.
    For example, I am using the phone right now and played about 15 minutes of Greed City earlier today. My phone has been off charge for a little over four hours and the battery is currently at 87%.
  • I'd be happy with all day, but all week would be a plus too
  • The first method does not produce good enough results. The second method would get better battery life at the cost of user experience. We need better batteries.
  • The first method could produce good results of the compositions of the two batteries are different, Eg NiMh batteries deliver good current but don't have good standby time. Lithium batteries have good standby time but are fair for delivering current.
  • My Lumia 1520, the battery will last all day(about 18 hours) with moderate use. Even on 8.1.
  • I get about 12-15 on 1020
  • You can't really compare the 1520 with other windows phones, it has an insanely huge battery compared to others
  • My phone lasts 6 hours on 3G.. Lumia 520
  • Seriously, if MSFT makes a smartphone in the near future that lasts a week, market share becomes skyhigh. I'll bet my L920 on it.
    One thing I don't understand. I see so many articles on tech sites that state that battery development is continiously making huge progress. Why don't we see this technology in our modern smartphones right now?
  • Why don't they use lithium sulfur instead of lithium ion?...
  • Good point. It's the cost and environmental damage issues, I think. Will have to read up on the theory again ;)
  • Lithium sulfur is way cheaper than ion, more environmental friendly, and costs less. And while ion can have 170mAh/grams, a sulfur is able to have ~1200mAh/grams. And it's safer as well (can't rly burn)...so...i just don't get it why they don't use it...(well maybe its too new. It was ' developed' in 2013 as I know)
  • instead of Li-S, use Li-air which has much more energy density. It will be the best battery out there, but they need to find the cause of energy deficiency first to get it commercial. Source: wiki Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • 1020 8 hours tops with work usage, weekend (48 - 72+ hours) with minimal usage
  • 4 hours ! Lumia 925! Worse battery life and phone gets too hot! :/
  • I'm going through a day off heavy heavy usage, with the 1520 on dp 8.1, I'm talking from 6.30 am to 12.30 with ay least 30% emailing, most days. I did do a complete wipe and install though. It was time consuming but worth it. Screen brightness is on medium.
  • My Lumia 720 battery is not that good as b4 during wp8. Off course it wont be coz we have got a lot of features and have downloaded many apps from b4 who's live tiles are also continuously working + the notification centre and WiFi on many times. I say the battery has been exceslwnt according to my usage and apps downloaded
  • If I left it without use. It would go from. 2-3 days
  • and with use it can go 7-10 hours , Lumia 820
  • Runing lumia 925 with 8.1..100% at 615 am..73% and it 11:20 am..great battery life and I use my phone alot for work...
  • 12-16 hours with my Ativ S and 8.1 depending on usage. The last updates for 8.1 and disabling unnecessary background apps helped a lot.
  • Thinking is such a waste of time...
  • lol
  • I was lucky to get 10 hours on my 820 when I installed the 8.1 preview, but that last update has made a massive difference. With data on and listening to music for 3-4 hours at work, I get 15-18 hours regularly now.
  • Do it Microsoft!!
  • Incredible thinking
  • My L925 lasts 20 hours in normal usage with 8.1 dev preview (3G, whatsapp always on, and 2 email sync) , little bit longer than WP 8.0. 
  • After the recent update of 8.1 preview, still its same- last for 1 day. Having 720.
  • If I don't use it too much I get about a day of battery life on my 920. If I regularly check WPCentral and browse the web it lasts me about 3/4 of a day. If I game or watch videos then my battery life isn't that great.