This is the first in a series of posts titled Nokia Know How, which is aimed at giving anyone with a Nokia device some hints and tips to get the most out of their phones. Particularly helpful to new users, it should also teach even seasoned smartphone owners a thing or two.
For anyone who makes the move from using a regular mobile/cell phone to a smartphone will likely find one aspect a backward step. Battery life. Regardless of the make or model, if you can make a smartphone battery last 48 hours without any charge ups, you are doing very well. Keeping your smartphone on standby and refusing to use it in order to preserve battery defeats the purpose of having the device in the first place.
The Nokia Lumia range of Windows Phone generally have pretty good battery life compared to some models, but even so, a Lumia can drain pretty darn quickly if you don’t make a few tweaks to some settings. So, in this, the first instalment of Nokia Know How guides we’re going to help you get the most from your Nokia Lumia’s battery.
Get Familiar With Settings
Firstly, to save time now and in the future, you may want to pin Settings to your start screen. You’ll find Settings in the list of apps found by swiping the screen to the left. To pin apps to the start screen hold your finger on the word/icon, in this case “Settings” for a second or two (from here on this action will be known as a “Long Press”) until a drop down menu appears offering additional options. In the picture below you can see “Pin to start” and “Add to kid’s corner”. Press “Pin so start”, and swipe back to your home screen. At the bottom of your Live Tiles you should find the Settings Tile. Press this to access all your settings.
Switching Off Background Tasks
There are some activities which your Nokia Lumia does in the background, without you even knowing it. Things like checking for emails, checking for app updates and Facebook notifications. While these things are all very helpful they can also be very draining on your battery. Switching off apps running in the background is pretty easy, and very effective in preserving your power.
To check which apps are running in the background, and select which ones to turn off (what the phone calls “Block” the apps) go to Settings. At the top of the screen in large letters you should see the word “System” and next to it in darker writing, the start of the word “Applications”. If you swipe the screen to the left the word Applications will be at the top, and a new list of setting will appear.
At the top of this list will be Background Tasks. Press that and you should see a list which looks something like the image below:
This is a list of “Tasks” which can run in the background, and under the task will be either the word “Allowed” or “Blocked”. The more “Allowed” tasks, the more power being used. To “Block” these apps/tasks working in the background press any which you’d like to stop. Don’t worry, despite the term “Block” you can still use the app as normal, just it won’t search for updates when you are not using it.
One thing to remember, as apps get updated, or used, they may find their way back to “Allowed” status. You may want to check every so often which apps are running in the background.
3G and Wi-Fi Settings
A huge drain on any smartphone battery is a 3G radio which can’t find a signal. I learned this fact from Steve Litchfield (look him up, seriously knowledgably). Another waste of battery is keeping Wi-Fi switched on when you are using a mobile data connection. For these reasons I always make sure I switch off Wi-Fi when I leave the house, and always switch 3G back down to 2G, and turn off Mobile Data when I get home (or onto any Wi-Fi connection). Both these settings can be accessed separately through the Settings Tile. From here scroll down to Wi-Fi, and switch it on or off as needed, and a bit further down the list is “Mobile Network”. From here you can set Data Connection to On/Off. Set Roaming (connecting to other mobile providers, for example when abroad) and “Highest Connection Speed”. This last one is how to switch between 2G 3G and 4G (if available on your device).
One way to save time with this is getting an app like Network Switcher which I use. It is a free app. There are others as well, and let you create a Live Tile which puts these settings, plus Bluetooth and Airplane Mode options in one convenient app.
Signing into all your email accounts on your Lumia smartphone is a really good way to make sure you never miss an important message. As you likely know, in order to download apps you need to sign into a Microsoft account. Well did you know that usually this is set by default to receive email as they arrive. What this means is that your phone is always checking the Outlook servers for new messages. You can change settings for your email account to sync every 15 minutes, 30 minutes, hourly or daily. The less often you sync the more power you save. Go to Settings, 3rd item down should be “email+accounts” and from there you can change the sync settings on each of your accounts. This is also the case with any other email accounts you have signed into on you Lumia.
On any modern smartphone the central, most important part of the device is the screen. And Nokia have put some really advanced technologies into their Lumia smartphone screens. Super Sensitive, meaning you can use the touch screen while wearing gloves. Brightness levels are extremely high when set at full, meaning that viewing the screen in bright sunlight is no problem. Unfortunately all these great features can cause unwanted drain on your battery. Once again, using the Settings, scroll down till you get to “Brightness”. Here you can change screen settings to what ever suits you. I set mine to Auto, this means the screen adjusts to different brightness levels so the screen is always viewable.
Another setting to look at in order to save battery with your screen is “Display+Touch”. From here you can swipe the screen left and right to find different settings. Under the Display heading you can turn “Sunlight Readability” to Off. Under the “Touch” heading you can change Touch Sensitivity between High and Normal. If you want to be able to use your screen with gloves on keep it set to High. If you don’t need this feature turn it to Normal. You may see a check box below this saying “Double tap to wake up phone”. It is a good feature to have, but does drain your battery a little. To get maximum battery make sure this box is unchecked. Some Nokia devices will have a third heading, “Glance”, this is to do with having a clock visable on your screen even when the phone is in standby. This will use up battery, so decide whether you want it “Off”. Another option is “Peek” which shows the clock for a short time after locking the screen and when brought out of your pocket, “Timed” is where you can set how long the clock remains visible after the screen is locked, and “Always On”. This last one is obviously the most battery intensive. Depending on what Lumia device you have, you may find less battery drain occurs. If you have a Lumia 820, 925, 928 or 1020 then it should be fine to leave the clock “Always On” as the screen uses AMOLED technology so only the necessary pixels illuminate.
Lumia phones, like all Windows Phones have a built in feature called Battery Saver which usually prompts you to switch it on when your battery level gets below 15% or so. You can however turn this on anytime you like by going into Settings, scrolling down to “Battery Saver” (see image below) and sliding the toggle to the “ON” position. This will usually automatically switch back off when you next put your device on charge.
Battery Saver is probably the most effective off all the suggestions on the list, and done along with all the other battery saving tips should easily see you getting 24-36 hours from your Lumia, even whilst using it regularly throughout the day.
Battery Level Apps
This final tip to get the most from your Lumia battery doesn’t really save battery per say, but helps you keep an eye on things. Windows Phone doesn’t for some reason, give you a fast easy way to see what percentage of battery power you have left. Fortunately this can be remedied with a number of apps from the Windows Phone Store. The one I use is Battery Level for Windows Phone 8 . You can use the trial version for free. It allows you to pin a Live Tile to your home screen which tells you what per cent of power your battery has left. There are many more apps which do the same thing. One thing to note, in order for the live tile to give you up to date battery information, it needs to be allowed to run in “Background Tasks” (which we covered above.).
Hopefully with these tips in mind you should have no problem making your Nokia Lumia last at least a day, however even with all these steps carried out, if you watch loads of videos and load lots of web pages and play loads of games on your phone it will still use the battery up.
If you have any battery saving tips to add please leave them in the comments section below, along with any other comments or questions you have.