Consumer Reports: Making your cell phone battery last longer

It's a curse of modern life. We're constantly on our phones, which means the battery runs down and sometimes dies, inevitably when we need it most.

Luckily, Consumer Reports tests dozens of smartphones each year. Its experts reveal some simple tricks to keep your phone battery lasting as long as possible.

Consumer Reports' tech editor, Bree Fowler, cares about smartphones even when she's not at work.

"I'm a mom," Fowler said. "I have kids, and they wanna play games. They wanna watch YouTube. That'll suck your battery dry faster that you would think."

Consumer Reports says the bottom line is phones do so much more than they used to, and while batteries also last longer, things like streaming video, games, and apps that frequently refresh can eat up battery life.

"If you realize that you're running low on battery, you can switch to Low Power Mode," Fowler said.

And in extreme cases you can turn on airplane mode, but you'll lose cell service.

If your phone doesn't have a low power mode, try these tips:

-Lower your screen brightness or set it to auto so your phone adjusts to lighting conditions

-Set the screen to go to sleep after 15 or 30 seconds of inactivity

-Reduce how frequently your phone looks for new emails

But if you're still constantly running for your charger, you may want to consider getting your battery replaced or getting a new phone. Consumer Reports says you may be impressed by some recent improvements.

"They've gotten a lot bigger which gives phone makers a lot more space to put bigger batteries," Fowler said.

And bigger batteries generally mean better battery life.

Consumer Reports testing shows Samsung's Galaxy Phones tend to have some of the longest battery lives. While iPhones are popular with consumers, they haven't done as well in battery tests.

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