Consumer Reports: Tricks to keep your phone battery lasting longer

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- 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 the most. Luckily, Consumer Reports tests dozens of smart phones each year. Their experts reveal some simple tricks to keep your phone battery lasting as long as possible.

Consumer Reports' Tech editor, Bree Fowler, cares about smart phones even when she's not at work. "I'm a mom. I have kids. And they wanna play games. They wanna watch YouTube. That'll suck your battery dry faster that you would think," she said.

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," said Fowler.

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

If your phone does not 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 in-activity

-Reduce how frequently your phone looks for new emails

But if you are 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," said Fowler.

And, bigger batteries generally mean better battery life.

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