How to fix your Nokia Lumia 800 battery problems

 

Update: Nokia has released another update that fully resolves the battery problem, and audio quality issues. As of 4th March, this update is making it’s way out to handsets. It’s best to wait for this update rather than follow the guide below.

When I first got my Lumia it was running the latest firmware and OS (11500 and 8107 respectively) so the battery life issues confirmed by Nokia shortly after launch should no longer have been present. Unfortunately this was not the case.

The only way to get through the day on a single charge was to avoid using the phone. By doing this I could get from 7.30am when I take it off charge through to 11pm when going to bed and plugging it in overnight. The problem is that the Lumia is actually a great phone – the combination of top-notch hardware and the much improved Windows Phone 7 mean that you will actually want to use it. But using it only moderately meant it would be completely dead before 10pm.

Clutching at straws

After reading the online XDA and Nokia forums, it seems many other people are still having serious battery issues. Quite a few users report things getting even worse after the update, and have been battling to roll it back. But at the same time, there are others who say everything is fine. To try and find some improvement I tried a few experiments – the first being to install the diagnostics app using the ##634# code in the dialler. But all this told me was power usage and battery stats. I disabled any background services, but this made no difference. I also tried turning off 3G, which did make a big difference although it’s  not really a solution and is an inconvenience when out and about, away from a wifi service. People were recommending to uninstall the Diagnostics app so this was also tried, but made no difference.

The fix

Eventually I made a breakthrough. One or two people on XDA were saying that they had done a hard reset on their phone and this had solved the problem. I was reluctant to try this because of the hassle of reinstalling all my apps, losing SMS messages and then finding  I’d wasted my time. After a busy weekend where battery life had been a real inconvenience, I decided to give it a try and deal with the chore of reinstalling everything.

The hard reset process is to use the Windows “reset phone” option in settings to wipe all data, then turn the phone off and use a “three finger salute” to factory-reset the phone. The exact procedure is:

  1. Wipe the phone using Settings > About > Reset your phone
  2. Turn the phone off
  3. While holding down the Volume Down and Camera buttons, hold down the Power button until the phone vibrates
  4. Release the power button
  5. Wait 5 seconds, then release the Volume Down and Camera buttons

The phone is now completely reset and will boot up from scratch, having to set up the OS and then install the Nokia apps.

After this I noticed a massive improvement in battery life, to the point where the remaining percentage doesn’t drop below 50% in a full day of moderate use. It looks like the phone could stand a day of heavy use and still have plenty in reserve. My current battery stats are 75% remaining after being off charge for 14 hours! Estimated time remaining is another 1 day and 5 hours. It’s not just estimates either, because the phone now lasts till bedtime without shutting down.

Something is wrong with the last Nokia update. I believe it doesn’t install correctly even though the version numbers in the Settings page look correct. This is based on me noticing another change introduced in the latest update that has only take effect on my phone since the hard reset. The soft buttons under the screen no longer light up on full brightness, which some are reporting as a bug, although I think it’s a power saving measure – the phone is usually only at full brightness when outside in the sun, when the soft buttons would be clearly visible without being lit.

If you’re fed up with your Lumia, try the hard reset. It’s a great phone, don’t let yourself get disillusioned by the awful battery life.

10 comments

  1. Lucas says:

    I have the newest update and still have an average battery life. When you did the hard reset, your battery was empty or full? Iam willing to try the hard, did it really work out well for you so far? Thank you very much

    • Dorian Farrimond says:

      Hi, when you say latest do you mean the 12070 firmware or the 11500/11501 firmware? If you have the 12070 and still have average battery life then that’s surprising.

      When I did the hard reset my battery was half-full which I was a bit bothered about, thought maybe fully charged would be better. It made a big difference, and then the 12070 update helped a bit more too.

      Hope you get the problem sorted. Pop over here and say hello if you’re not a member already http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=1378

  2. Lucas says:

    Already have 12070. Iam getting 13, 14 hours at the most. My daily usage is: 40 minutes of whatsapp, 40 minutes of music, 30 minutes gaming, 20 minutes call, 3g on only 1 hour perday, wifi always on, this is medium use right? If I do the hard reset and then restore using zune, do you think it would lose the “effect”? Thanks a lot for trying to help.

    • Dorian Farrimond says:

      For an iOS user that would be medium use, but on Android or WP7 I think you will have a tough time with battery life.

      Before you upgraded to 12070 what was your battery life like? On my phone I would hardly use it (few minutes here and there during the day) and it would be dead by 9 or 10pm. This is what I solved by the hard reset. After that I could use the phone quite a bit more and still have it last until bedtime where it gets plugged in. So if your phone was hopeless on 11500 then try the hard reset.

      It’s up to you whether to go for it, you can use the Reinstaller app in the marketplace to help save time putting all your apps back on. It’s still a pain though.

      I hate to say it but nothing gets close to iOS devices for battery life. You can hammer them all day and they still have plenty left. What a dated UI though compared to WP7.

  3. Lucas says:

    Yeah I ll see what happens after 10 days with the new update then I ll probably try the reset. Thanks a lot for the help. Even with the poor battery I ll stay with WP7, I cant stand android sluggish and IOS same old design from 2007 plus in my country right now is such a status symbol that is just sick. Anyway, thanks a lot for the help, have a good one!

  4. kr says:

    How does the batter life look now. I assume it’s been almost a month. Has that initial surge in life remained?

    • Dorian Farrimond says:

      Yes it’s still as good as it was. It still doesn’t feel like there’s a huge reserve left at the end of a day where it gets used a lot, but the main thing is it always lasts the day now 🙂

  5. Zdravko says:

    HI Dorian,

    Just wanted to say thanks for the advice.

    My Lumia 800 had 14 hours of usage when was at 100 % battery, now after re-boot my battery is @ 52 % and it showing me that i could use my device for a day and that is eve without powersave option.

    Take care man !

    • Dorian Farrimond says:

      You’re welcome. I got rid of my Lumia 800 when the iPhone 5 was released as I got one of those. But last week, I got given a business phone by my boss at work – a Lumia 800 🙂

      We just need the 7.8 update now.

  6. Zdravko says:

    comm’on man Iphone 5…. really…

    I am kidding

    Well let’s hope installing the 7.8 will be as easy as the battery problem fixing.

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