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New features, new expectations. The addition of simple connectivity toggles and Wi-Fi scanning tools makes Windows Phone 8.1 an attractive option, but also one with a heavy impact on the battery.
By taking advantage of all of these new features, your device battery is unlikely to last a full day, especially if you’re using an older or low end device such as the Nokia Lumia 920 or 520.
The following tips will help you maximise your device battery life following an upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1.
Screen Brightness Options
The first place to start is with your device’s display options. You have two options here, either to automatically adjust brightness or to set the preferred brightness level manually.
Open Settings > brightness and set Automatically adjust to On for the phone to set brightness based on your environment (this is detected using the device’s light sensor). If this isn’t to your liking you can switch Automatically adjust to Off and choose from one of the permanent options, low, medium or high. Naturally the brighter the display, the greater the impact on your battery charge.
In addition, you can change the background colour to save battery life. Open Settings > start+theme and select your preferred option in the Background menu. You’ll see only two options, light and dark, and the selection you make will depend on what type of display your phone has.
If your Windows Phone device has an AMOLED display, setting the background to dark will help to save battery. For LCD devices, choose the light background to reduce the load on the battery.
To find out which display type your phone has, check your documentation.
With the upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1, the options available for connectivity are improved considerably, thanks to some toggle buttons available in the Action Center.
As such, you can easily disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi by tapping the relevant buttons. You should also open the manage screen under Wi-Fi to disable the two options Automatically connect to Wi-Fi hotspots provided by my mobile operator and Send information about Wi-Fi connections to help discover nearby Wi-Fi, which help to reduce battery use without affecting your Windows Phone experience too much.
You should also disable NFC, available in Settings > NFC, as well as consider whether you can live without location services, which can be switched off in Settings > Location. Note that disabling this option will reduce the effectiveness of certain apps.
Close Apps You’re Not Using
Windows Phone 8.1 comes with a modified method of closing apps.
Hold the back button and scroll through the list of open apps, tapping the X in the top right corner to close.
With fewer apps running, your phone’s battery will last longer. This is particularly important for apps that require a greater number of resources, such as games and videos.
You should also remember to close apps when you have finished using them. This is usually done by tapping the back button until you return to the Start screen, although some apps (mostly games) have an exit option in the menu.
Another improvement to an existing feature, Glance (available only on Nokia devices such as the Nokia Lumia 1020) has been upgraded in Windows Phone 8.1 to display notifications as well as the time.
Glance is essentially a lock screen feature, one that displays information in a selection of colours suitable for use in low light and is intended for use at night.
The Glance screen options can be adjusted to save battery, with peek offering the minimal impact. You might also set the feature to off if you don’t want to use it.
Use Battery Saver
Finally, forget about disabling Battery Saver and actually use it!
I’ve spoken to a lot of Windows Phone users who have disabled this option, but Battery Saver really is worth using. When active, texts and calls are still received although apps will not receive and display notifications and emails will not be automatically checked.
Battery Saver – an improvement upon the Windows Phone 8 version – can be configured in Settings > Battery Saver, where you should ensure the feature is set to On and where three levels of power saving are available. When battery is low is the default option, although you can also choose Now until next charge and Always.
It’s also worth spending time on the Usage tab to see which apps have recently been causing a drain on your battery. Such apps should be closed, or even uninstalled completely (app list > long tap > uninstall).
Conclusion: Manage Your Settings, Increase Battery Life
Getting the most out of your Windows Phone battery means being aware of which settings do what and which connectivity options are currently enabled or disabled.
While this was true in Windows Phone 8, the improved collection of options and settings in Windows Phone 8.1 makes it even simpler to stay in control. Throw in the Battery Saver and you have everything you need to ensure your phone doesn’t hit 0% battery before lunch.
Do you have any Windows Phone 8.1 power saving tips? Tell us about them in the comments!
Image Credits: K?rlis Dambr?ns Via Flickr