Tip Tuesday: Extending your phone’s battery life

Tip Tuesday: Extending your phone’s battery life

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One unintended consequence of all the great new features of Windows Phone 7.5 is that I’m using my phone a lot more. And that means I’m burning through my battery a bit faster than I once did. Luckily, there’s a new feature of Mango that can help: Battery Saver.

On Start, flick left, then tap Settings>System>Battery Saver. When turned on, Battery Saver automatically shuts off a few key background activities to help you squeeze more power from the battery. You can also see roughly how much juice you have left. For the full skinny on Battery Saver, and a longer list of power-saving ideas, check out this handy tip sheet on the Windows Phone website.

You can see whether Battery Saver is turned on in Settings.Battery Saver helps conserve power by switching off a few key background services. It also tells you roughly how much power you have left.

21 Comments
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  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @garymoncrieff

    Don't get me wrong,  I'm not saying that they're bad, as much as I'm saying they tend towards power user.  Perhaps they're just ahead of their time in fact.  We'll see how GPS awareness shakes out in general with iOS5's Siri (it is entirely possible there will be a backlash against that stuff as people become more aware of being "tracked")

    At one level it makes total sense, this is a "smart phone" it should be smart about everything damnit, including battery usage.  And what've you've described is certainly the smartest battery usage schema I've seen.

    But I'm also an intrinsicly lazy person when it comes to my phone (which is odd, because I tinker with my computer to no end, but I digress). I just want it to work, the first time the rules made me mad I'd probably just turn them off rather than try to fix them.  But this is just MHO, perhaps I'm the minority in this arena.

  • @tsrblke some valid points yes, but the features of such a system would go largely to reduce that scenario for instance, the GPS aware location I suggested could very well be used for this situation. And fine tune it using priorities.

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @garymoncrieff

    I like the idea, but I have to confess, I'd never use it.  Why? Because it's kinda like setting my house heat down when I'm gone, if something throws off my schedule, I end up having to futz with the settings.  (I do keep my house heat down, but that's only because the benefit is much larger, and the fix is much simpler, I just put on a sweater.)  If I took the day off work, I'd have to remember to rest my phone's battery life saver all the time, then I'd have to change it back.  To me, it's not that bad just to plug in my phone each night (FWIW, I get about 28 hours of moderate use on my focus.)

  • I had posted an idea on my blog how to improve battery life further some months ago. One of Microsoft's Engineers submitted it to the battery team. Have a read here www.garymoncrieff.co.uk/.../improve-battery-life-with-wp-idea

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @I_Mean

    The problem really is the science just isn't there yet.  We want our phones to be pocket computers, but battery tech just hasn't caught up yet.  Even the best smartphones battery life is tepid at best.

  • I_Mean
    24 Posts

    Wouldn't it be great if the OEMs get the great battery with enough hours in the phone instead of telling users to use in this way and that way so save battery like apple telling people to use iphone 4 in a particular way to get good reception. At first place, the effort should be made to have the battery with enough and reasonable power.

  • Fatawan
    4 Posts

    @ScubaDog Your situation is ideal for Wi-fi Calling like I have on my Tmobile droid phone--comes from Kineto Wireless. Tmobile is only provider to offer it so far, and its only droid phones *sigh*. You can make/receive calls and send/rcv texts with zero signal all via wi-fi, no matter where you are in the world, for free. I have hit up everyone I can think of to get this implemented in T-Mobile's Windows phones ASAP, but to no avail. Michael? Any chance you can light a fire under someone at MSFT, Nokia, and T-Mobile to get this going? :)

  • Hawk
    61 Posts

    Wow...very cool but it's not an option my phone...oh wait, it's 'cause I STILL DON'T HAVE MANGO!  Exactly how long does it take to test a phone?  It's just a phone for heavens sakes!  Can someone at MS light a fire under AT&T and Samsungs ass about the Focus rev1.4?  I guarantee you that November 1st will roll around and still no Mango for us Focus rev1.4 owners!

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @ScubaDog2011, WinphonePhan

    Part of the trick to this question is how the phone handles wifi.  A short time after the screen goes dark (10 seconds or so) it drops your wifi conneciton (presumably to save battery power) so you'll get longer battery life out of wifi, merely because it's not always running (whereas the 3G stays on all the time).  The flip to this of course is that when I'm on wifi only (like right now, 200mb dataplans and academic conferences don't mix) my email only checks after I turn the phone back out of lock (and it reconnects to wifi).

    The only exception seems to be "attwifi" (i.e. WSPR stuff), which stays connected all the time.

  • @WinPhonePhan, based only on what my Focus behavior has been, it would seem to depend.  The biggest impactor seems to signal strength.  I can tell you that while my phone is sitting on my desk at work the device goes into batter-saver mode within four hours.  This is because my building was built using metal studs, not wood, and it's nearly like a Faraday Cage.  This means the device will use every bit of power it can just get and maintain a signal.  I noticed if I turn off the 3G and rely completely on Wifi (e.g., at home) I experience a similar drain if I go outside where my signal is a lot weaker (though I've got a 40ft antenna I'm about to connec to my primary router to rectify this, LOL).  So far, it looks like, if both are available at full strength, the Wifi performance is a bit better, probably because the bandwidth/throughput is faster, hence you'll need to draw on it for shorter periods than you would on 3G.  Again, this is just what I'm experiencing.

  • What uses more battery, Wifi or 3G?

  • Conny
    60 Posts

    @Michael, had my battery saver turned on since I cut in line to get Mango..

    That said, stop hiding in your office and hang out with Brian and Matt on Fridays.

    We miss you!!

  • @Entegy: Not sure what the team's plans are around this. But I know they're very aware of the interest--especially since it's jumped to the top of the Suggestion Box list.

    windowsphone.uservoice.com

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @Micheal Stroh,

    2 replies in 1 day, I think I can now use 2 hands to count the number of MS responses I've gotten (I feel sooooo special)

    I thought as much, or I figured emulator.  The lack of a wireless signal strength bar should have given me some clues.  I suppose with 3G/Cell/Wifi and pretty much else turned off you'd get massive battery life. I've found I only have to recharge my battery about once a year if I keep my phone off entirely ;).

  • Entegy
    42 Posts

    Speaking of screenshots, is that sort of feature coming to us normal folk? It'd be nice to have for sure to share more than just pictures taken with the camera. http://damnyouautocorrect.com is a perfect example of this.

  • @tsrblke, jvanderburgh0: Hahahaha. OK, I wasn't paying close enough attention. Sorry but no, this is not the Methuselah model Windows Phone. It's a test phone I use for screenshots that sits in my drawer most of the time, gently drawing down the battery. Hence the eye-popping stats. Your mileage may vary.

  • Entegy
    42 Posts

    Michael, please tell me what magical phone you have. I want that sort of battery life!

    But yeah, battery saver is a neat little feature to keep the phone when the battery's running on steam.

  • wow! I wish my my phone lasted 6 hours on 3% battery! and you haven't charged it in seven days? What kind of magical battery do you have in that thing?

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    Stroh, miracle worker.  How did you get your phone to last 7 days between charges, and 6 hours with 3% left? I'm lucky to get 2 hours with 20% left!

  • Hong
    2 Posts

    For my HTC HD7s, turning Bluetooth reduces the battery life by 50% to 70%.   I assume this is due to a hardware design flaw, not inherent to WP7.

  • Wow! Nice! Didn't notice this addition in Mango! This will get me out of some jams.