Mobility

Extend your mobile battery life with Windows 10's Battery Saver

Windows 10 offers a new feature to help you monitor and conserve your mobile device batteries. This rundown explains how it works.

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Image: iStockphoto.com/koya79

Windows 10 is designed to run on a wide variety of mobile devices, such as laptops and tablets, which primarily run on batteries. To help you to manage and conserve battery power on these devices, Windows 10 comes with a new tool called Battery Saver. Once 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. The most noticeable thing Battery Saver does when it kicks in is to immediately dim the screen's brightness, but it also cuts down operating system and app background activity and prevents push notifications from apps that contain live tiles. If you need to get more out of your battery, you can adjust Battery Saver's settings. Let's take a closer look.

Using Battery Saver

To access Battery Saver, select Settings from the Start Menu/Screen. When the Settings screen appears, select the Battery Saver tab, shown in Figure A. In the Overview section, you'll see the current state of battery life expressed as a percentage and as an amount of time. As you can see, on my example system, the battery life is at 74% and the estimated time remaining is 1 hour and 34 minutes.

Figure A

Figure A

Battery Saver automatically extends battery life in Windows 10.

In the Battery Saver section, you can see that Battery Saver is currently off. That's because my battery life is at 74%. The default setting is for Battery Saver to automatically turn on when the battery life falls below 20%. However, you can manually turn Battery Saver on any time from the Settings screen by clicking the toggle switch. In addition, there are two other—more convenient—places where you can turn Battery Saver on and off. If you simply click on the battery icon, you'll see a battery notification screen and can just click the Battery Saver tile, as shown in Figure B. You can also access the Action Center and click the Battery Saver tile, as shown in Figure C.

Figure B

Figure B

Clicking the battery icon opens the battery notification screen, so you can manually turn on Battery Saver by selecting its tile.

Figure C

Figure C

You can also manually turn on Battery Saver from Action Center.

When Battery Saver is activated, the screen will dim and you'll see a green power image appear on the battery icon in the notification area, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Figure D

When Battery Saver is turned on, a green power image will appear on the battery icon.

While Battery Saver is enabled, you can also hover your mouse pointer over the battery icon and see how much battery life is remaining, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

Figure E

Hovering over the icon allows you to see how much battery life you have left.

When your device is plugged into a power source, Battery Saver is unavailable, as shown in Figure F. The battery notification screen shows you how long it will take for your device to be fully charged.

Figure F

Figure F

When your device is plugged into a power source, Battery Saver is unavailable.

Configuring Battery Saver

From the Battery Saver tab in Settings you can configure how Battery Saver works. Start by clicking Battery Saver settings. When the Change Battery Saver Settings screen appears (Figure G), you'll see some of the ways that you can configure how Battery Saver works.

Figure G

Figure G

The Change Battery Saver Settings screen lets you configure how Battery Saver works.

To begin with, if you decide that you don't want Battery Saver to kick in automatically, just clear the Turn battery Saver On Automatically If My Battery Falls Below check box. When you do so, Battery Saver will function only when you manually enable it as explained above.

If you want to change the threshold at which Battery Saver kicks in, you can adjust the percentage using the slider.

As I mentioned in the introduction, one of the ways the Battery Saver conserves battery life is by preventing push notifications from apps that contain live tiles. If you'd still like to receive these types of push notifications, you can select the Allow Push Notifications From Any App While In Battery Saver check box.

The other way Battery Saver conserves battery life is to immediately dim the screen's brightness when it kicks in. If you still want to have full screen brightness, just clear the Lower Screen Brightness While In Battery Saver check box.

As an alternative to allowing all apps to receive push notifications, you can use the Add An App button in the Always Allowed section to choose which apps you want to allow to run in the background and receive push notifications. When you select that button, you'll see a screen that shows all the apps you have installed on your system and lets you pick the ones you want, as shown in Figure H.

Figure H

Figure H

As an alternative to allowing all apps to receive push notifications, you can choose certain apps.

There's more

You can access additional Battery Saver options by selecting Battery Use in the Overview section. I'll cover those features next week.

What's your take?

Are you running Windows 10 on a laptop or tablet? What do you think of the Battery Saver feature? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

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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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