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Nine Simple Truths About Your Windows Phone Battery


I started my series of battery drain tests after reading countless theories and rumors about why our batteries lose juice. Don’t think I have solved every mystery, but I did separate truth from fiction in several areas. My BDOD (Battery Drain Obsessive Disorder) started back with my  Palm II. I still remember the panic that would come over me when I lifted the antenna on my Palm VII, knowing that my battery was draining like shotgunning a can of beer, while it searched over a very slow CDMA network for an answer to my query. The fact is that as soon as you take your phone off of a charging device it will being to lose power. Nothing can change that (until they perfect that solar charging cell built into your device display). To combat my BDOD, for every new device I purchased, I would also include; 1 or 2 spare batteries, an external spare battery charger and three AC chargers for; home, office and travel bag. And of course a car charger. It helped when there was some backward compatibility, but that didn’t happen often enough.

Website will give you helpful tips to save battery like the list below;

  • Set your screen brightness to “low”
  • Set your screen timeout to 30 seconds
  • Turn off Location services when not in use
  • Turn off unnecessary Background Tasks and Push notifications
  • Turn off Bluetooth and WiFi radios when not in use
  • Disable Find My Phone, Phone Update and Feedback
  • Set email to manually update
  • Remove apps that you don’t use
  • Turn on Battery Saver Options 1 & 2
  • Enough already………….

You might as well power your device down and call it a day. Your battery is going to drain but don’t let BDOD overcome you. Enjoy your device to the fullest and if you have to charge your phone a little more often, so be it. If you are concerned about your total disregard for phone energy efficiency and its effect on your carbon footprint here is a suggestion. Replace one 100w incandescent light bulb in your house with a CFL equivalent (23-30w-75% savings), or even better an LED (16-20w-80% savings), and you will be able to double your phone’s charging cycles and still save energy. See how easy that was.

You phone’s display is the #1 battery bandit, followed by your data connection (especially AT&T MicroCells and LTE equip phones) Your processer is probably #3, but I will let the experts fight that out. All of the inconveniences, err…helpful suggestions above may possibly gain you 20% over the course of the day. It it all worth it? All that for a 30-40 minute booster charge. Not for me.

Here is Jim’s list of suggestions to enjoy your phone while fighting back BDOD;

  • Get a charging only USB cable for work. You can plug your phone into any USB port; pc, monitor, etc., and be juicing up without compromising security, privacy, etc.
  • Get a micro USB charger for your car
  • Use the charger that came with your phone. The mA rating is designed to work best with your device.
  • Pick up a couple USB Portable charging units. They are cheaper than spare batteries and will work on your next device, and the one after that. The 1500-1800mAh models with built in AC plugs are nice, but the 3,000-5,000mAh models are worth every penny. Never be without power again. I keep 3 of them charged 24/7, plus a solar charger in the back window of my car. A good Scout is always prepared.
  • Set your screen brightness to “high” and then set it to “automatic”. This will allow your phone to cycle from low to high depending on ambient light. (Sorry Rogers L900 users. I feel your pain. Keep it on medium for now. Shouldn’t be long).
  • Set your screen timeout to 3 minutes, or longer. Let that Start screen shine for others to see and save some wear and tear on your Power button.
  • Leave Location services on, unless you really have something to hide. In that case, get outta here.
  • Turn on all the Background Tasks and Push Notifications that will make your life easier and more enjoyable
  • If you use Bluetooth or WiFi 40-50% of the day, just leave the dang thing on. Not sure about Bluetooth, but WiFi uses almost no extra energy, even with persistent WiFi running.
  • Turn on Find My Phone, Phone Update and Feedback. These are services to help you and Microsoft. Use them.
  • Set email to “push”, or at the time frequency that works best for you. Automatically receiving email is a feature. Don’t disable it for a few percent of battery power.
  • Install as many apps as you like. Only the app you are currently running uses any juice.
  • Turn on Battery Saver #1 (when your battery drops to critical levels) but reserve Battery Saver #2 for special circumstances, like; natural and man-made disasters, camping in the wilderness, etc.

Cut yourself free from BDOD. Enjoy your phone and stop worrying about that battery icon. As a matter of fact, my phone is plugged into a DigiPower Power Plus right now.


Here are the Nine Simple Truths about Windows Phone battery drain along with the associated link to each article.

First truth: If you want to save battery (or don’t want to use any more), turn on that push email. And if you have mail checking set to 1 hour, change it. At least for now till someone can verify if there is really a problem. NOTE: This has been confirmed with Hotmail & Live “push” email. Yet to be confirmed for Gmail and Exchange accounts.

Second Truth: Turning both Feedback and Phone Update ON have virtually no effect on battery performance, and presumably transfer very little data (as they don’t impact the battery at all). But, turning these services OFF without following up with a soft reset (Power off/on cycle) will result in excess battery drain. Who would have thunk.

Third Truth: Enabling Battery Saver (both options) can save up to half the battery power your phone normally consumes when sleeping, and a smaller percentage when awake. But you do lose most of the functionality of your phone, like email updates and external Background Task/Push Tile updates. Marketplace App updates and internal background Tasks (those that don’t need Internet access) will continue to work.

Fourth Truth: Background Tasks do drain a little of your battery; with 8 active Background Tasks, typically about 0.5% per hour or 8% drain over the course of a 16 hour day.

Fifth Truth: Having multiple email accounts (I have 5) syncing via “as items arrive” or a timed interval will use some battery through the course of the day. But no more than about 6% per day on average. Note: if you receive hundreds of emails a day, your mileage may vary.

Sixth Truth:  The stand-alone Facebook app will not drain you battery just by pinning it to your Start screen, even with push notifications (it does not use a Background Task) turned on. Caveat: If you have 1,000 Facebook friends and receive 100s of notifications per day, then yes, this would probably have an impact on your battery life. But what else would you expect.

Seventh Truth: While it is “possible” that using an Edge connection vs. LTE can conserve battery power, it may require additional steps like rebooting your phone each time you suspect that you are accessing a different tower. Without performing this extra step, using Edge could actually consume significantly more battery power. Proceed with caution young grasshoppers.

Eighth Truth: Persistent WiFi does not only use virtually zero power while running in the background. Combined with a data connection, especially power guzzling LTE, it can actually save you battery power. Let me state that again, more slowly this time. “Persistent……WiFi………..saves…….you……..battery……..power”.

Ninth Truth: Keeping  IE Tabs or Tombstoned apps open in the background appear to have zero effect on your battery. So forget about that Back button and just keep opening whatever you want. Microsoft has you covered.