Mobility

Analyze battery usage with Windows 10's Battery Saver

Battery Saver enables you to drill down on specific apps to determine their impact on battery life. Here's how it works.

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Image: iStockphoto.com/Fotonen

In last week's article Extend your mobile battery life with Windows 10's Battery Saver, I discussed how Battery Saver lets you manage and conserve battery power on your Windows 10 mobile devices. As I described, when your battery charge falls below a certain percentage, Battery Saver automatically kicks in and throttles back various mechanisms that draw power, thus extending the battery life. In addition to dimming screen brightness, Battery Saver cuts down operating system and app background activity and prevents push notifications from apps that contain live tiles.

Of course, there may be some apps you want to be able to run in the background and receive push notifications from. As I explained, you can use the Add An App feature to choose those apps. However, before you do so, you may want to investigate further. Fortunately, Battery Save comes with a feature called Battery Use that will allow you to check battery usage on a per-app basis. Let's take a closer look.

Determining battery use

To access Battery Saver, select Settings from the Start Menu/Screen. When the Settings screen appears, select the Battery Saver tab. Then, in the Overview section, select Battery Use, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Figure A

Battery Saver provides the Battery Use feature, which will allow you to investigate battery usage on a per-app basis.

You'll then see the Battery Use screen, as shown in Figure B. At the top of this screen you'll find a measurement of total battery usage for your System, Display, Wi-Fi, and all the apps you have used while your system was running on battery power. (Apps you've installed but haven't used while running on battery power will not show up in this list.) By default the total measurement covers the last 24 hours, but you can use the dropdown to select 48 hours or one week.

Figure B

Figure B

The main Battery Use screen shows battery usage information for hardware as well as for apps.

As you can see, on my example system, my Display is using 77.8% of battery power. To reduce that percentage, I can go to Power Options > Edit Plan Settings and lower the screen brightness setting in my Power Plan, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Figure C

Based on information from the Battery Use screen, I decided to lower my screen brightness when running on battery power.

Looking back at the Battery Use screen, you can view power consumption for all the apps you've used while your system was running on battery power—but you can also look at each individual app's battery usage. To do so, select the app's tile on the Battery Use screen and a Details button will appear. Clicking Details will bring up a Battery Use screen for that app, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Figure D

The Battery Use screen for an app provides helpful information.

In addition to seeing the battery usage for System, Display, and Wi-Fi, you can see how much battery power an app requires when you're using it and how much battery power it uses to run in the background. You can then enable/disable the app's capability to run in the background when running on battery power as well as enable/disable its capability to run in the background when Battery Saver kicks in.

In this example, I can see that when I actively use this app while running on battery, it consumes a good chunk of the available battery power. As such, when I need to conserve as much battery power as possible, I might decide not run this particular app unless I absolutely need it. If I disable this app's capability to run in the background, I can conserve a little bit of battery power.

Note: Regular desktop applications will also show up on this list, but all you can do is see the battery usage. You can't make adjustments to a desktop application's battery usage.

Using the information

If you go through each of the apps shown in your list and make note of their battery usage or change their capability to run in the background, you will become more conscious of battery usage in general. For example, you might decide not to run certain apps when you want to conserve as much battery power as you can. You might decide that you really don't need to receive push notification from certain apps while running on battery power. Or you might lower your screen brightness when running on battery power.

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What's your take?

Have you used the Battery Use feature to help you conserve battery power? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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