Nokia Lumia 920 battery life: Changing a few settings can go a long way

The Nokia Lumia 920 (and Lumia 1020) battery life has surprised me on a few occasions. For instance, a few days ago my battery was dead after 6 hours. I made a few small tweaks to my settings and the next day I was going on 11-12 hours of moderate to heavy use and still had plenty of hours left.

Impressive? Follow my tips to get similar results

The good news is the settings you must tweak to get good battery life out of your Nokia Lumia 920 are not drastic nor do they cut down much on your phone experience. I’m not a fan of dropping the screen brightness to the lowest setting or turning off all connectivity options. I hate when I’m told to make fewer calls or turn off my email. That’s just dumb. Why get a smartphone if you can’t use all of its features? If you play your cards right (optimize your settings) you should easily get through a day or more of moderate to heavy use on the Nokia Lumia 920.

Have a look at these battery saving tips that not only applies to the Nokia Lumia 920 but all Windows Phone 8 devices.

Battery Saving Tips for Nokia Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8

Screen brightness in Automatic mode is a bit odd.

Turning this setting on will let the phone control the brightness of the display. I’m not telling you to dim your phone to a low setting, so don’t close the page. Here me out!

After testing this out I noticed it goes to extremes when determining how bright and dim the screen will be. This setting makes your display brighter than the highest setting if you controlled it manually. It also dims your screen lower than the lowest setting when in a dark room. You might like the idea of this but I found it to be a huge battery drain. Not only is the phone’s brainpower being used to constantly monitor the surrounding light, but the brightness when in a well-lit room or outside in the sun is brighter than it needs to be — and draining the juice out of your battery.

What to do? Your best option is to set the screen brightness to Medium or High. This will stop the phone from constantly adjusting the brightness and the highest manual brightness setting is great in sunlight. Heck, I use the Medium setting and I can see text just fine in sunny conditions.

If you follow my advice you’ll notice a significant gain in battery life on your Nokia Lumia 920 or HTC 8X.

This tip is officially recommended by Nokia (link at end of the article).

Nokia goofed up and let Nokia Drive run in the background all the time.

This battery-saving tip only pertains to Nokia Lumia devices running the first Windows Phone 8 firmware. I suppose Nokia will fix this issue in an update, but for now this is a crucial step to follow if you’re experiencing battery drain.

Go to Settings > Slide to the Applications page > Select background tasks > Block Nokia Drive+ Beta.

Doing this will not alter your Nokia Drive experience in any way. The driving directions will still run in the background, even when the phone is locked. I’m chalking this up to a bug that Nokia needs to fix asap. Do this and you’ll see a big increase in battery life on the Nokia Lumia 920.

One last thing related to this topic: You might see a few other apps here that don’t need to be running. If you don’t use its live tile and don’t need the notifications “toasts” — block it.

I originally learned this tip at My Nokia Blog.

Back out of the camera application when you’re done.

Here’s another recommendation by Nokia. After you take a picture it’s best to press the Back button before you lock the phone or do something else. The Back button will close the app instead of letting the camera run in the background. If you press the Home button the app is minimized to the background, but still running. Sometimes I purposely leave the camera app running if I modified a setting and know I’ll be taking more photos very soon. But if you’re just one and done – use the Back button instead of the Home button!

By the way… don’t get too paranoid with using the Back button instead of Home. This tip only applies to the camera app. All other apps are “frozen” when minimized and will not consume battery life.

Don’t play games? Disconnect from Xbox LIVE.

If you’re like me there isn’t much time to play games. And when I do it’s a simple game that’s quick and fun. Don’t get me wrong — gaming on the Nokia Lumia 920 is a great experience. But if you don’t do it often then it’s a good idea to turn off the connection to Xbox LIVE syncing.

Go to Settings > Slide to the Applications page > Select games > Turn off “Connect with Xbox.

This feature only works with games marked “Xbox Live” in the Windows Phone Store so if you play one of those regularly you might want to leave this setting turned on.

NFC is great to have… someday.

I don’t have any accessories that use NFC technology — yet. I tested photo and music sharing with my brother’s HTC EVO 4G and the Nokia Lumia 920 is not compatible, or should I say Windows Phone 8 and Android NFC tags are not yet compatible. So basically NFC is useless for me at this time. By default NFC is turned on, so turn it off don’t need it.

Go to Settings > tap+send > and shut it down.

Someday this feature will be a daily use, but that day has yet to come.

Lastly… emergency battery saving “duh” tips.

These are the generic procedures to take for any smartphone. Turn on the Battery Saver Mode under “Battery” in the Settings. This will turn off all app notifications and email. It’s amazing how much extra battery you can get by using this feature. Also turn of WiFi if you’re not using it. Bluetooth. Location. NFC. Mobile data. Oh… and be sure not to use your phone! /sarcasm

Some of these tips came from the official Nokia Troubleshooting Guide for the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Nokia Support Forums.

Let me know if there are any other settings I can tweak that pertain to the Nokia Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8!

These battery saving tips also work for the Nokia Lumia 820, 822, 810, HTC 8X, 8S, and Samsung ATIV S. 

Are you still thinking about purchasing the Nokia Lumia 920. Amazon Wireless has the best prices we’ve found so let us know if you find a better deal!

  • François

    I’m giving this a go. Thanks.

  • Mike Macias

    Let me know how it turns out for you!

  • Mike Macias

    Any improvements in your Lumia 920 battery life?

  • andy

    ok so I’ve already done these things on my Lumia 920, and even then after leaving my phone in my pocket during school for 6 hrs my battery had drained to 50% from a full charge.

  • Mike Macias

    Are you on the latest firmware? Something is wrong with your phone it sounds like.

  • Xaw

    Thanks a lot mate. Been experiencing the same battery drain issue from day 2. Got it about 5 days back as a bday present. Really like the phone, but was slightly worried about the battery going so low even when I’m not using it for hours when for e.g IM FRIKKIN SLEEPING -_- it’s usually dead in the morning. Sure im learning everything new about it everyday, and your tips make a lot of sense now. Did what you told. Hopefully should see improvements. :)

  • Mike Macias

    No problem! Hope this helps and be sure to check back and let us know how things are going with your phone.

    Quick question: Do you use Gmail on your 920?

  • rjgood

    My 920 drains while my wife’s is fine for nearly 2 days! I checked, and Chase Mobile was running in the background….and I blocked it. That Background Task screen is great!

  • Z0MBi3

    thanks! A few things I knew already, a few I did not know that definitely improved my stand by batter life. Greatly appreciated the help!

  • Huy Vo

    Was having ~15 hours first week, then ~29 hours for a month after, but recently got around ~15 hours; thinking due to the wireless charger leaking battery, (could be apps).

    So I Hard Reset (do this at your own risk!) (reset option from “about” section, it vibrates then turn off, then stuck at clockwork wheel (5-10 min); then I Hard Reset again with the 3-button method; wait 5 min, it loads to windows (Phew…). Fully update.

    Installs 20-30 apps, 10-20 games. Uninstall all apps that not needed. Charge with AC plug to 100%, unplug before going to sleep. Play with it to install apps and set up stuff for an hour (the battery reads 1 day 6 hours, at 96%). Went to sleep, wake up in morning, it reads ~6 days (attached screen shot). Play with it again for an hour (set one email that that calendar/contacts content to hourly), take screen shots, battery reads 1 day 5 hours, which is typical. When I turn off auto brightness, it could get to ~1 day 20 hours before I Hard Reset. And the battery gauge is pretty accurate. Note it calculates the rate that the battery drains instantaneously (in an hr period I think), so if the phone sits there idly, the battery gauge will read how it will last just sitting there idly; but if the phone is being used (surf, apps, games, etc), it will read how long it will last being used that way. I don’t know exactly when the battery gauge update its data, but that’s the essence.

    Current Setting:

    Background tasks- and Weather- ON

    Email: all manually, except for microsoft account (daily).

    Brightness: Auto. Might save even extra if set to low/medium

    Xbox: conect to Xbox live (because I play game); disable sync game request and everything else.
    Everything else OP suggests (eg, NFC off, bluetooh off…). I turned off wifi before going to sleep.

  • Stefan

    Thank you!

  • Tyhudg

    Thanks man, great tips.

  • Patrick G

    I kinda figured that out myself, although not confirmed. I just though the auto brightness mode will set the phone’s brightness into the lowest since the “low” option is actually still high for me (adjusting from the lowness of the screen brightness from Android) but I figured it helped. One thing though, (Iam using Lumia 625 — IPS screen) if you’re watching a video for a couple of hours, you will figure the battery isn’t going down very much. But when you browse through your phone (and touch the screen a lot of times) you will see that the battery is draining! It’s something about IPS maybe (plus the dead areas, ugh) however the battery is very good when on standby mode. 4-6 hours before it gets a percent off. Also, I’m thiking the screen sensitivity should be low, maybe that decreases battery drain.