Lumia 950 Battery Problems and Overheating

After about a month of faithful use of the Lumia 950, I'm relatively happy with my purchase - except for the battery, which has proven to be a rather tenacious problem.

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Lumia 950

For the record, I’m not one of those “other-device” fanboys pretending to “review” a Windows 10 Phone while subtly bashing it; I’ve been a faithful WP user since November 2012. I’m also not a developer or even overly tech-savvy when it comes to smartphones… Just a user who prefers Windows Phone over the others.

So rather than posting a full review of the phone itself, which has many qualities I have quite enjoyed over the past month, I wanted to focus on a single problematic area: the battery.

Although spec comparisons point to what should be a sufficient battery, I’ve found that my Lumia 950 lasts single-digit hours from full to less than 20% – even if I am not actively using it. Additionally, the battery runs so hot that it becomes uncomfortable to keep in my pocket.

I’ve seen a few users report the same thing, but this does not appear to be widespread, so clearly there is some setting or app which is doing most of the damage.

When I check battery usage, it shows “Messaging + Skype” as the biggest drain. I’m not sure why Skype and Messaging are combined into one item (I use messaging, not Skype), but I’m hesitant to turn off background usage for that setting. For virtually every other app, however, I have turned off background usage – yet the problem persists.

Since it doesn’t appear to be an app which is causing the problem, I’ve turned my attention to finding a setting, or perhaps a small group of settings, which will hopefully alleviate this problem. I’ve combed through forums, and what I have tried so far has not yet worked.

Here is what I’ve tried so far that has not worked:

  • Turned off Hello
  • Turned off glance screen
  • Turned of NFC (this was the culprit of battery drain with my Lumia 920)
  • Turned off Hey Cortana
  • Made sure I’m using WiFi
  • Set screen brightness to 1%
  • Increased Battery Saver to 50%
  • Moved all apps from the SD card to the phone

Below are other possible solutions I’ve read in forums, but haven’t tried yet:

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  • Reinstall the OS with Windows Device Recovery Tool
  • Increase sync time for Outlook
  • Turn off location settings
  • Delete unused AT&T apps

When I attempt to update the phone, it says that an update is available, but always shows “Downloading Updates 0%.” I’ve tried restarting and verifying that I’m connected to WiFi, yet it does not download the update.


Today (12/22/15) I tried doing a factory reset at the suggestion of a fellow Disqus commenter. It is a bit early to tell if that fixed the problem, but the battery does not appear to be heating up since I did a factory reset and installed the latest update.

I’m wondering if the “Downloading updates 0%” problem was leading the phone to continually trying to download an update, which could have been draining the battery. Further, after doing a factory reset, the update was able to install without a hitch.

I’ll keep you posted.

Have you had battery issues with your Lumia 950? Let me know what you’ve tried – and what fixed the problem for you.

What is your opinion of the 950/950XL battery? Is it fair to good, or is it poor? in Musings on LockerDome