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.
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:
- Wipe the phone using Settings > About > Reset your phone
- Turn the phone off
- While holding down the Volume Down and Camera buttons, hold down the Power button until the phone vibrates
- Release the power button
- 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.