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Top 10 ways to maximize your phone battery life on a Windows 10 Mobile device

Visit any airport in the world and you’ll see them: USB-seeking power port zombies shuffling halls and waiting areas aimlessly looking for the next battery charge to bring them and their handheld devices to life.

While it’s a sad state of affairs, it’s the reality that accompanies owning an electronic mobile device these days, be it an e-reader, tablet, Ultrabook, 2-in-1 or smartphone, An electronic charging cable-like leash is never far from reach.

However, the smartphone has been a particularly troublesome offender due to its hub-like influence in our lives. While a laptop might be ideal for long-form work or communication and tablets typically serve a more specialized workload, it’s the smartphone’s ability to house a data connection continuously (be it WiFi hopping or paid data plans) combined with its easily ingestible form factor that has most people draining its battery more often.

Until battery tech catches up to the demands that are being imposed on smartphones, users will just have to creatively circumvent the limitations with some handy do-it-yourself (DIY) tips and tricks. Fortunately for Windows 10 Mobile users, All About Windows Phone has just those battery saving tips and tricks at the ready.

With ten seemingly simple user tips, Windows 10 Mobile owners can manually adjust sections of their devices battery output to save as much of that sweet battery-gold for everyday consumption.

In a worst case scenario, over the course of a full 16-hour dawn-to-dusk day, that’s over 43% of your Windows 10 Mobile device’s battery gone – JUST FROM USING GLANCE SCREEN. That’s not counting all the other stuff that the OS needs to do. No wonder people are having battery issues with their Lumia 950 and 950 XL devices.

And it shouldn’t be, given that the screens are AMOLED, and only lit pixels need power. So there’s clearly more going on here than meets the eye. In the meantime, head for Settings/Extras/Glance screen and set this to (for example) ’30 seconds’.

Tip 2: If your SMS sync usage is in double digits, turn it off

Back when the Windows team attempted the mess that was Skype and Messaging integration, Windows 10 Mobile users were being attacked by large swaths of battery sucking processes. Something about how the combination of the two services in conjunction with a constant syncing engine to PCs seemed to be analogous to a vampire at a blood bank when it came to battery drain for many users. Fortunately, Microsoft is pulling back on combining standard SMS with Skype functionality (for now), but the constant syncing Windows 10 Mobile attempts for both PCs and other mobile devices may still have some users paying the battery toll.

Fortunately, Microsoft is pulling back on combining standard SMS with Skype functionality (for now), but the constant syncing Windows 10 Mobile attempts for both PCs and other mobile devices may still have some users paying the battery toll.

I’m not saying turn this off immediately, but consider living without SMS sync if you start experiencing battery issues. You can check if Messaging is a culprit in ‘Settings/System/Batter Saver’ and tapping on ‘Battery use’ – Messaging should be a few percent at most. If it’s in double digits, then the sync is probably the issue. You can turn it off in Messaging by tapping on ‘…’ and then ‘Settings’ and turning off ‘Sync messages between devices’.

(While you’re in that dialog, you might want to turn off the auto-retrieval of MMS too – this has been a vector for malware on Android, since the sender can effectively get your phone to show/interpret any binary faux-image they like. So turn this off in case Windows 10 ever becomes a target?)

Tip 3: Use the back button to put out fires

Steven Litchfield, author of the Top 10 ways to increase battery life under Windows 10 Mobile, notes that typically when a phone feels hot to the touch, a rogue application is running amok in the processing department of the operating system. The original Windows Phone team planned for incidents such these, by implementing its famous tombstoning of apps in the background approach. However, when tombstoning fails to catch all background processes:

With a Windows 10 Mobile upgrade comes a more refined app settings menu. The new menu enables users to adjust toggles for individually running apps. Taking the time to go into this menu and assign what apps do and when they are potentially running in the background is a necessity.

While iOS has recently been touting its new low power battery mode, Windows phone users have been able to damn up battery usage with Battery Saver (BS) for some time now. Adjusting this setting slams the brakes on apps running in the background and services that are syncing in intervals automatically. Services such as email, OneDrive, Facebook, and Instagram are constantly fetching packets of info, but when BS is set a particular limit, almost all services are switched to manual updates while conserving battery life.

Tip 6: Windows 10 Mobile Dark Theme is the best (duh)

Not only does it stand to help identify the operating system out a crowd of colorful Skittles-like operating systems, but the Windows 10 Mobile Dark Theme serves as a built-in battery saver on AMOLED devices. Sure, the option for choosing between Light and Dark Themes is ideal for the end user, but placing the operating system under an AMOLED screen for devices such as the Lumia 1520, 950, or 950 XL makes the default Dark Theme the only choice for battery sippers. Due to the technology behind lit pixels in AMOLED screens, using the Dark Theme not only saves battery but reduces the potential for burn-in.

Tip 7: Wrangle all of those default settings in

Ever wonder when you’ll be able to use ‘Tap to Pay’ o your Windows 10 Mobile device? Well, until Microsoft adds a fully functional wallet or mobile payment option it’s probably best to switch that off, and that goes for all of the other settings on by default that users rarely or infrequently, if ever, use.

It sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at the number of people who leave NFC turned on when they only use it once a year. Likewise Bluetooth, which often gets left turned on after trying something and then never turned off. Ditto – horror of horrors – Internet sharing, which has caught me out a few times when I noticed my phone was quite hot and almost out of battery, after running a hotspot for hours after my lunchtime tethering.

Happily, most things are quick to spot and toggle on Windows 10 Mobile. Swipe down Action Center from the top of the screen and then swipe down again (or tap ‘Expand’) to see the full panel of toggles. Pay particular attention to ‘Mobile hotspot’, ‘VPN’ and ‘Bluetooth’. Plus you’ll find NFC under ‘All Settings/Devices/NFC.’

Microsoft’s new Edge browser development is like a cute baby deer being born…in a Fine China shop. The Edge browser on PC, for many, is beautiful to look at for short periods of time but eventually crashes and breaks things more often than some are willing to forgive it for. On the mobile side of things, the story is similar but to a lesser degree.

Even with its limited feature set, though, the Edge browser on mobile can still cause havoc on a user’s battery life due to some weird tabbing bugs lurking in the app.

Whenever I’m getting low on battery, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence whispers in my ear “Hello darkness my old friend…” However, the Windows team’s implementation of Automatic Brightness settings can help keep those words at bay for a bit longer.

Tip 10: Email can still be a mess

Beyond text messages and social media notifications, email ranks highly among apps and services constantly pinging and searching and eventually draining the battery on smartphones. As a last tip, Litchfield recommends turning down the frequency in which email accounts are searching for and syncing information.

Litchfield also offers some other last resort tips for saving battery that we recommend Windows 10 Mobile users head over to All About Windows Phone to read about. With the latest Windows 10 Mobile Insider build, the Windows team has begun truly addressing the battery disparity within the operating system but until then hopefully these tips and tricks will suffice.

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