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Tweak these settings to boost the battery life on your Windows phone

If you're disappointed with your WP8.1 phone's battery life, you might have too many unnecessary features enabled. Find out which settings and options will give your battery life a serious boost.


If your Windows Phone's battery drains before you can squeeze in a few lunchtime rounds of Super Sweet Crush, it may be time for a power check-up.

Decreasing brightness and disabling Wi-Fi when it's not in use are a couple obvious tips, but (like almost any piece of Windows software), there are other settings buried deep in your phone's system depleting the precious life of your limited battery.

On your phone, head to Settings, and adjust the following options. It goes without saying, but if you use one of these features, keep it enabled.

Keep your software updated: Every Windows Phone update so far has come with battery improvements, so be sure to install updates as they arrive. Just go to Phone Update and hit "check for updates."

Disable antennas: NFC, Bluetooth, and Internet Sharing should be disabled when you're not using them. All those active frequencies really add up when they linger in the background.

Use the Battery Saver: This will limit your phone's functionality, but it can come in handy if you foresee being away from an outlet for a while. Open the setting, and set it to automatically conserve battery when things get low. You can also set battery saver to activate right away and remain active until the next time you charge your phone, or keep it on permanently. That will net you extra power in a pinch, but will disable push notifications for Live Tiles, disable apps from running in the background, and disable automatic email and calendar updates.

Use a dark background: This won't give you hours of extra battery life, but it'll help. In the Start +Theme setting, be sure to set your background to "dark," which requires less energy than the white background.

Email + Accounts: For each account, adjust "Download new email" to the lowest frequency you're comfortable with. If you can, choose Manually. Otherwise, opt for the "based on my usage" option, which automatically adjusts the frequency based on your habits. If you choose Manually, new e-mail will only be downloaded when you access your e-mail. The same settings can be adjusted for contacts.

Phone Update: Uncheck "Automatically download updates." Your phone will still notify you of an update, but it won't download it automatically, a task that is a huge inconvenience when there's no charger nearby.

CNET Editor Nate Ralph contributed to this post.