New Uses for Old Smartphones

Technology moves at a rapid pace, which means new and snazzy gadgets are introduced year after year. Most of us can get by a few years with our smartphones, but with the constant launching of new phones with some dazzling upgrades, it’s pretty tempting to splurge on a shiny new model.

You can actually save some bucks by trading your current phone in when you buy a new one. However, there are times when you end up with an outdated phone just left in the drawer or gathering dust on a corner shelf.

But try to look at your aging smartphones in a new way! As long as they have power, connect to Wi-Fi and have a working camera and speaker, it still can be a handy addition to your home or office. Give your old smartphones a new life with the following cool uses:

1. Security camera

Got an old phone lying around your phone or office? You can turn it into a free-standing security camera. Download any third-party app and your outdated smartphone can let you keep an eye on your home or office. It can even do advanced functions, such as video recording and motion detection.

2. Alarm clock

Smart displays, such as Google Nest Hub or Echo 5, can help you deal with time, but not all wants a microphone in their bedroom. Instead, turn it into an alarm clock. Yes, it may have a built-in alarm clock feature. But to make your phone look more like a digital clock, download third-party alarm clock apps (such as Rise or Timely), place your phone on a stand beside your bed, and you’re good to go. Your phone’s screen will feature a big display of a digital alarm clock.

3. Gaming system

There are tons of mobile games for iPhone and Android, and all you need is a Wi-Fi connection to download. If you have an old phone lying around, turn it into a dedicated gaming system, which ensures you’ll never have to fret about storage space while you’re busy letting off some steam on your couch.

4. TV remote control

Several media streaming devices come with their own remote controls, but they tend to be somewhat small. Whether you have Apple TV, Roku, or TV Stick, chances are you will lose its remote. Or you might already have. Instead of buying a new replacement, turn your old smartphone into a universal remote. Each service has a mobile app – simply download the app, link it to your account, and voila! Now you have an instant remote!

5. E-book reader

If you love reading but don’t want to purchase an e-book reader, use your old phone. Download e-book reader apps, such as Kindle, Google Play Books, or Barnes & Noble Nook, and sync up your purchases, or even score some free e-books.

6. Music player

Use your old smartphone as a music player. If you subscribe to Spotify or other music-streaming services, you have access to special features, not to mention hundreds and thousands of tracks at your disposal. Pop in a pair of earbuds (wired or wireless) or connect your device to a Bluetooth speaker. Then crank up your favorite tunes or listen to podcasts while doing your tasks around the house or just relaxing.

7. Baby and child monitor

Instead of running into your child’s room from time to time to see if they’re okay, use your old smartphone that will let you keep an eye on them while you’re doing other household tasks.

Set up your old smartphone in your baby’s nursery or child’s bedroom and access it from your current phone via Skype or baby monitor apps, such as Dormi. Make sure you install the app on both devices. You will have peace of mind knowing you can be in any areas of your house and still check on your baby.

8. Donate it

One of the first things that people think of doing with their old smartphones is to sell them to help cover the cost of their new phones. But if you don’t feel like selling your old smartphone, donate it instead. You know that there is always someone who needs a phone or who could use it. Here are some of the places to donate it:

  • 911 Cell Phone Bank – Facilitated by law enforcement agencies and various support groups, the 911 Cell Phone Bank donates used phones to people, especially those from vulnerable groups, who may need to dial 911 in an emergency.
  • Medic Mobile – A non-profit organization, Medic Mobile recycles old devices and then uses the proceeds to purchase new phones for medical and health workers in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The workers use these phones for various purposes, such as communication in emergencies or tracking disease outbreaks.
  • Rainforest Connection – Another non-profit organization, Rainforest Organization donates old phones, along with free international calling service, to troops who are deployed abroad from all branches of the United States military.