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Windows Phone 8.1’s Battery Power Sense will bring fine-grain control over apps

The SDK leak for Windows Phone 8.1 keeps churning up little tidbits. Earlier today, the big news was the swipe-keyboard function, shown in a hands on video. This afternoon, a new morsel has shed some light onto the new Battery Power Sense.

Currently in Windows Phone 8, consumers have a Battery Saver section under settings. That looks to be renamed to Battery Power Sense, with Battery Saver falling under it in 8.1. It will offer deeper level functionality, including seeing specifically which apps draw the most juice from your battery.

That in and of itself is a supremely useful feature, but you will also be able to override Battery Saver for specific apps.  Battery Saver is a unique tool that shuts down non-essential apps from running in the background when the battery hits 20%. It’s a user option, and it can even be turned on manually and turn back off when plugged in—it’s pretty smart.

However, say you wanted Battery Saver on, but you need WhatsApp running to check for new incoming messages? In 8.1, you will be able to add that app – and others – to an exclusion list, bypassing Battery Saver. That fine grain control is what a lot of users are looking for, instead of the current all or nothing approach.

Windows Phone Central has independently confirmed that this feature is present in 8.1, though the final UI may look different upon release.

It’s the little things in 8.1 that will make the user experience go a long way. Read our full feature list of 8.1 right here for more details.

Thanks, Alessandro Spisso (https://twitter.com/ilGianfri@ilGianfri), for the screenshot!

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

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.

116 Comments
  • Nice!
  • Can anybody tell us which features WP 8.1 that Android don't?
  • Android doesn't let you control which app you don't want to launch by itself. I'd like to block certain apps from running in the background to keep memory clear for other tasks but there is little to no control over that natively. Android's memory management tries to get too smart when it comes to terminating apps, therefore, killing the tasks I need in order to run the tasks I don't really need. Killing the battery quickly is a side effect of this.
  • Hi Daniel, Mark - Can we confirm the authenticity of this news - http://blog.gsmarena.com/windows-phone-8-1-with-fingerprint-support-ui-c...
  • Very nice!
  • These small features combined make the OS awesome!
  • Exactly what i had in mind!! I always wanted to do that to whatsapp.. I am not usually the person who say this but this is one of the most neat features and its baked directly to the OS, awesome!
  • Wow this is super kewl. Wndows Phone 8.1 is gonna be one hell of an OS. :)
  • Awesome! It will be interesting to see the new Hardware goodies from Nokia. If the hardware takes another leap past the competition like the 920 was able to do against the iPhone and Galaxy phones of the time, windows phone might actually get some well deserved headlines.
  • Lets see the price will make the difference. Like Lumia 525. More phones should be released under midrange like 720 but with 1 Gb Ram.
  • I'm affraid that according to Daniel there won't be much of new hardware any time soon.. :-(
  • That's a good thing. I think all the different models Nokia brought out, was to test the waters and see which phones/specs/features/price range appeal most to consumers. Now that they pretty much have their answers, they can narrow down the models and concentrate on those. For example the 520 was a hit, 620 hit 920 hit...720 and 820 for were great phones but definitely didnt make the spotlight. This is also why we received the 525, 625 and 925 updates but not 725 or 825. This simply narrows down their ranges as well as cuts down their costs. Id much rather them concentrate on fewer models that have an obvious difference in price ranges, features and specs, than to roll out phone after phone...i personally believe that simply confuses ppl as to what the difference is and makes their decision harder.
  • I doubt your list of 'hits' is correct. In India at least, the hits stack up this way - 520>720>620>920>>625~925>>1020~1520
  • There won't be any new phones from Nokia after few months from now because after Microsoft buying nokia-deal is ready you'll probably get windows phones from Microsoft. Or bad ones from Samsung and HTC
  • Fud
  • Sweet
  • how many featuer will 8.1  has? like number wise.. 20 to 50? 
  • Its more then 100 confirmed
  • Around 25
  • 100.. If u count like nadella... OVER 250 if you count like tim cook.
  • Feaaatures! :):):)
  • Wow, that's really cool
  • Battery sense, that's all it needs to be called.
  • True! Stick to one word before Sense...
    Battery Sense
    Data Sense
    WiFi Sense
    App Sense (control app downloads, manager etc)
    Screen/Background Sense(control live or static bakcground/ start screen)
    One can dream... :)
  • It all makes Sense.
  • WiFi sense should be apart of data sense.
  • I think there's an app called battery sense already in the store. After SkyDrive - OneDrive issue MS wont dare do it again
  • There's an app on the Windows Phone store called Battery Sense already. That might have been an issue for MS.
  • This is pretty awesome, exactly what I've been wanting, more than just a pretty app telling me how much battery I have left! _______________________________ Off topic, can anyone confirm if those icons posted on WMPoweruser are genuine or fake renders? Cheers!
  • Wow love this, my friend using his Sony xperia was boasting of this cool feature, now i can too :)
  • Throw his phone he will definitely buy a wp after 2nd april
  • Cool idea, lets start breaking the androids and they shud get wps, hopefully :D
  • They will one day leave and join wp .. No need to break anything... Jealousy shud do the work... After 8.1 Microsoft needs to focus on new and unique features that wudnt be on other os... And releasing them in small packets evry 3 months... :)
  • All of these many little features, and those major features, makes WP8.1 a BIG update!
  • And like data sense carriers can block it.... Ps. Idk if that's true but would be rly stupid if it is.
  • Carriers don't need to block this. There is no reason for them. With Data sense it affects their bottom line, ie Charges related to excess data use.
  • This is becoming more like Android. How about the OS manages battery itself? Like iOS?
  • lol, you do understand that one of the top complaints about the iPhone, including the 5S, is the terrible battery life on them? The Verge mobile crew were even ranting about it recently. Regardless, your idea, is odd because Windows Phone does manage battery life. Those are the limits imposed by the SDK and background tasks. This is giving users an exclusion list to bypass it for critical apps. Honestly, you should do some more research before making technical recommendations. 
  • My partner just got 5s and the battery barely last a day. Her old 4s kicks it to the curb.
  • Honestly, I personally don't mind the 5S battery life, but maybe I'm not using it enough. I've seen some vehement criticisms about it from tech pundits. Maybe it's just because it's higher profile, more people use it.
  • Ok, now seriously, are you the phone fairy? Cuz it seems like you use a phone from each platform
  • I'm sorry Daniel but I won't be able to agree with you. My gf uses 5s and I'm sure that tool is really overlaps my 920 when it comes to battery life. We charge our phones in the morning and see that almost same usage density, my battery indicator shows 25% while her 5s stays at about 40s and 50s by the end of the day. Moreover she plays candy crush some time. Actually I am a little bit disappointed in terms of battery life. I hope this situation will become history with the release of WP 8.1. Really, is it certain that the preview developer version will be distributed after April 2nd? Some say that the update won't come until mid-July, or August? I will be appreciated if u reply, thanks.
  • How old is your 920. Remember batteries loose their charge. So you may be suffering from an inefficient batter. My 928 holds battery charge all day with heavy use and at least 2 days with moderate use. The only time my battery drains is when I play asphalt 8.
  • I bought it about 7,8 months ago I think it would be a shame if it has lost its charge in such a short time
  • It can lose up to 40% a year! Or you can ajust the phone settings to disable things you don't use and save battery life. Mine does 2 to 3 days of moderate use. Also calibrate your battery from time to time!
  • How am I supposed to do it? I mean battery calibration. Is there an app for it?
  • Go from 100% to 0% and then to 100% once every 10 times. Otherwise, avoid 100% and 0%   I can get well less that 1% discharge/hour in stand by
  • Thanks, I'm gonna give it a try.
  • Same, my L928 sits about 60-65% per day moderate use.
  • I should do research? You have an iPhone 5S, I suggest you give it a spin every once in a while. Windows Phone has a terrible habit of letting random apps drain battery running in the background. This doesn't happen on iOS because TECHNICALLY apps cannot run in the BG in a way where they would drain battery. The iPhone 5S battery is OK. It's not great because iOS 7 is still riddled with quite a lot of bugs. I've owned both L1020 and L925 and they were hugely inconsistent with battery life. One night I'd get a drain of 5% and the other it would be 20%. It's nice to admit faults of WP every once in a while.
  • The OS does manage battery. This allows the user the option of fine tuning that management to their individual needs.
  • Even android has a terrible battery life
  • By default it will.  Just turn on Battery Saver and it will act the same as it does now.  If you OPTIONALLY want to then exclude anything because you want specific functions to still work that normally would not when Battery Saver kicks in, you now can...
  • U will have to uninstall the apps that u don't require... That runs in the background and switch off 3g and 4g when nt required... By 820 lasts for more then 20 hrs.... On playing games, what's app, call, browsing on limited intervals
  • Very nice. Liking the improvements we are getting soon.
  • Don't get me wrong, I'm a self confessed MS / Nokia fan, but surely these functions are workarounds for inadequacies elsewhere. There are too many settings / tweaks etc - surely we just want it to work well out of the box without having to go thru a myriad of settings and controls? Imagine if you just bought a car and had to go thru' a mix of settings pages to tell it what to do when the battery is low. You just want the engine management system to do it all for you. (Probably a poor example, but I'm a bit tired ;-( )
  • But some people like some things the way they are  and som e want more customization i.e options  so if you want more custimization and control you have to have more settings.
  • True, but the point I was trying to make (probably rather poorly) was that its going too far now. Just make it work...
  • It does work, and will continue to work, out of the box. This just allows a user to tweak settings if they choose to.
  • The key word here is "choice", you don't have to tweak any setting if you don't want to, basic users wont even know those options are there, i have a girl, she doesn't even know where the settings are, she just uses the phone
  • +920
  • By default the system will work just as it does now.  You can just choose to exclude apps in case you need/want a feature to work when in Battery Saver mode.  Not sure why that isn't a good thing to have.
  • A very practical application of this new feature: there is a new app that will let you set a time schedule to turn your phone to silent or normal, but the app gets turned off when the battery goes below 20%. The point of the app is to let you forget about setting your phone to silent/normal on a schedule, but WP8 restrictions require you to monitor your battery to know if the app is still running. If you could tell WP to let the program run while low on battery, the app would be much more dependable. This sounds like a great new feature.
     
  • People will whine when they don't have any options and they'll whine when they do have options! I for one welcome these neat little additions which allow me to have a little more control over certain things IF I WANT.
  • Well the engine management system will do it all for you PLUS you'll be able to interfere and set it not to mess with your music system, or lights e.g. Options!
  • *cough* S4!, " ios7 settings.
    :P
  • Typical woman. You want it to read your mind and know exactly what you want and when. Geez.
  • Lolz +8.1
  • Very Very Nice  
  • Very useful.
  • That is very neat, not least because it will encourage app developers to be even more battery efficient. It's win-win! :)
  • Great!
  • Yes Daniel its little things that make the user experience go a long way....:)
  • I really loved getting Data Sense and I am eagerly awaiting these new Sense additions but is anyone else concerned about what HTC might think of their naming structure? We could end up with another Metro/SkyDrive situation in a few months.
  • Leaked it 4 days bfore.. Now u r confirming it.. Great guys :P Here --> http://goo.gl/buQa8Z
  • Leaked it...on Facebook. FML. What am I, a 50 year old wife? Who uses Facebook anymore?
  • Excuse me,slightly off topic.All of my friends use Facebook everyday(including me),does that mean we are 50 year old wives?
  • I'm almost 16 and I use FB regularly...
  • Personally I like that WPC verifies things before they post them instead of throwing up articles that could turn out to be untrue. Posting a rumor just to be first is not journalism.
  • Yes!  I've been wanting something like this to see exactly which task or app is causing a battery drain.   I just hope AT&T does not remove this feature.  Still unhappy about not having Data Sense. Although with the update to Data Sense coming in 8.1 (Operators can now control Data Sense limits remotely) maybe AT&T will allow it.  
  • Yeah Data Sense required some carrier integration to fully work.  Battery Sense is just managing your local power options, has nothing to do with the carriers so not sure why they would even care.
  • Really awesome. Hopefully there will be a Developer preview
  • On a similar topic - does anyone know if the cap on having 15 active background apps is going to change? I have a L920 and have the maximum amount of background apps running that I'm allowed, plus glance always on, Bluetooth, WiFi, data etc always on. Basically everything active that possibly can be - and my battery is fine!! Lasts a full day no problems, even with a moderately high use! Not to mention i have wireless charging etc if it it's a day I'm really on it... It just bugs me that even though my batt is fine, i can't have any more apps running!!
  • This. Im really getting tired of the "too many background tasks" notification everytime i open an app that isn't allowed to run in the background. It gets embarrassing when a friend opens an app and that message pops up; it isn't a strong testament to the ability of the OS - which is a shame, since I know it can handle so much.
  • This is exactly what I needed to continue working on my new app. Can't wait!
  • When is 8.1 out?
  • Is 8.1 update clear wp8 apps and all data of games ??
  • When Windows phone 8.1 software is released ?
  • Probably a developer preview in April.  General distribution about 3 - 1,000,000 monts after (depending on your carrier).
  • Thanks. Really i am waiting for this update.
  • Sweet ... One more reason to love my l620.. :-)
  • More battery life! Yay!!
  • I love it.  This kind of stuff just makes me more sad that old school Android junkies are never gonna get over their old stereotypes about WP being too uncustomizable.
  • Fanboys will be fanboys. Everyone else will judge WP8.1 on its merits and whether it suits their needs and wants.
  • Cool....:)
  • Every new leak makes me more excited about 8.1 and fall in love with my 925 even more then before! :)
  • Danny is about due for releasing the ultimate Windows Phone 8.1 revised complete feature set list version 4 soon.
  • With the anticipation for 8.1's cool new features, who would buy a WP device that only ships with 8.0?  Will 8.1 be automatically pushed to users from Microsoft OTA as soon as it's available, or will users have to wait for their carriers to distribute it, which could take a long time?
  • You could join the Prewiev for developers program and have it as soon as it gets from MS.
  • How about a percentage for battery on status bar?? That would be revolutionary!
  • Confirmed.
  • WOW !!! GREAT idea! i didnt even think about something like that, but yeah, it was quite annoying whatsapp + battery saver... fuc*ing cool feature! Yeeha
  • Don't care about the battery saver exclusion bit, I just hope this does a good job of providing information about which apps are using how much battery.  That is a SORELY NEEDED feature!
  • Swipe brings to WP what Android already has, and I look forward to finally getting it. Battery sense is not THE feature that will get someone to defect from the i or A 'verse, but will help making WP more competetive. Bravo for another useful (at least to me) built in feature WP!!
  • IOS might have the apps, but compared to Windows Phone 8.1 the OS itself hasn't got a shit to bring.  That's why WP is outselling iPhone some places and the world, and that's why Windows Phone will keep growing in the markets it's not so huge in right now.  IOS update 7 was a complete joke and feels more like an acid trip. I bet the next IOS update will focus more on information right away, less on dead rows of icons.  Will see how the percentage in the world looks in a couple of years. I stay with Microsoft. 
  • I have a WP device, Lumia 920, and I have used MS powered Smartphones since the Motorola MPX 200 but..... I live in the real World: WP is selling a lot because of mid/low devices; like it or not Apple sales keep growing and, because this is the only segment Apple is interested to be, in the upper and more lucrative segment.
  • I already love the OS, but 8.1 is taking it to new heights.  When I show people what my phone can do as it is now people are shocked.  With 8.1 it might be an easy switch to the platform.  BTW I have converter 3 people already this year to WP8.  All 1020 owners now.  Funny I hate on them now cause I still have the 920.  lol
  • Sweet! Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Llllllove it :)
    Just what I need to find out what killing my battery sometimes.
    This and quick settings is all I miss from Android. But not so much I've ever considered going back.
    WP 8.1 looking good :D
  • The awesome thing is that this feature will take the developer under pressure to develope more battery efficient apps
    Excellent
  • From what I see, Windows Phone 8.1 will leapfrog iOS when it gets released. WP devices leapfrogged iPhone's hardware last year and now it's time for software to do the same. We're yet to see what would come in iOS 8 so I'll stay humble.
  • Can i have windows phone 8.1 now??? Hahaha. I cant wait until April  
  • Fantastic feature
  • That's a wonderfully useful feature.i can't wait!
  • http://unleashthephones.com/2014/02/19/video-action-centre-windows-phone...'s more on WP 8.1
  • http://www.wpmania.com.br/2014/02/18/windows-phone-8-1-novos-icones-reve...