This post was prompted by a comment one of our readers left on our Surface Pro 3 and a Surface Pro 4 and didn’t realize that the Surface Pro 4 was running on battery while the Surface Pro 3 was plugged in.
His assessment was that the devices didn’t show any difference in performance until he realized that they were not both plugged in. Once he powered the Surface Pro 4, it really improved its performance and outshined the SP3.
What’s the reason for this? Most likely, it is the Battery Saver feature of Windows 10 that when turned on, limits background activity and adjusts the hardware to conserve battery. While this feature was an impediment to his testing, it can be a very useful feature if you’re trying to maximize your Surface’s battery life.
Windows 10 Battery Saver: What is it?
This is a new feature of Windows 10 that conserves battery life on mobile devices, such as your Surface. It does so by limiting background activity (such as processes and apps) and adjusting hardware settings. This would account for what our aforementioned reader was seeing – scaled down performance due to these adjustments.
This feature is turned OFF by default and to take advantage of it, you will need to turn it ON.
Windows 10 Battery Saver: How it works
When you turn on Battery Saver, the following things will stop working or will become limited to save power:
- Background apps will not run
- Live Tiles will not update
- Email app and Calendar app will not automatically update
- Windows Updates will not automatically download
- Screen will dim (this is adjustable)
Other things of note:
- When the feature is turned ON, the battery savings will kick on automatically when your battery life falls below 20%.
- You can view details about your battery usage in the Battery Use section.
- You can add certain apps to be exempt from Battery Saver.
Windows 10 Battery Saver: How to find it
- Launch the Settings app – by swiping from right and choosing All Settings or pressing Win key + I on the keyboard
- Choose System and then Battery Saver
- Now you can adjust the settings
Windows 10 Battery Saver: Advanced settings
Under the Battery Saver Settings, you can adjust the following:
- Set battery life % at which to kick on the saver (if you really need to stretch your battery life, you could set this value for 100% to maximize power savings. For example, if you’re on a trans-pacific flight and your charger is in you checked bag.)
- Lower screen brightness – On or Off setting
- Allow push notifications from any app while in Battery Saver mode
- Add the applications that are allowed to run in the background while Battery Saver is on. It may be a good idea to allow your Mail and Calendar here or perhaps Skype – you get to decide what’s important to you.
The Battery Saver is an easy feature to configure and use and it can help extend the life of your battery. It might only help a little bit, but hey, anything is better than nothing, right?
If your battery drains very quickly on a Surface with Windows 10, you may also like our post on Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book Battery Drain Issues.
Joanna is a former IT Director for a major public university, who gave up a high paying career to blog full time. She is proud to be a professional geek. Joanna loves all things technology and Surface tablets are her passion. She and Tim created LoveMySurface.net to help others be more productive using these awesome tablets.