Don’t know what to do with your old phone you’re not using anymore? Don’t throw it away! Read through these 5 ways to use an old smartphone. Every couple of years, everyone faces the same problem: what to do with their old phone when they upgrade. Some opt to sell them, which is a viable option, but most of the time these phones gather dust in a drawer somewhere. Or end up on a pile of garbage in the rubbish dump.
Plastics might be all the rage right now, but e-waste is turning into a massive problem, too. The issue with electronics is that many of the parts cannot be recycled. Plus, those that end up in the garbage leak acidic compounds back into the ground.
In the spirit of reusing and recycling, here’s a look at how to give an old smartphone a new purpose.
5 Creative Ways to Reuse an Old Phone
- A New Digital Photo Frame
Old phones are usually packed full of old memories and what better way to honor them than to display them proudly. Plus it’s a great way to keep old photos around without having to move them to the new phone.
Just create a gallery with the images – and even videos – that should be displayed and select the slideshow option. Make sure to change the phone’s settings so the screen doesn’t dim. Of course, this does work a little better with larger smartphones or tablets, but smaller ones would still do nicely.
There are also a couple of apps that are dedicated to this purpose. DayFrame (Android) and LiveFrame (iOS) allows people to set up slideshows on their devices with images from anywhere. From the device itself to cloud-based services and social media accounts. There’s also Framee (Android) which lets family and friends add new photos to the slideshow from anywhere.
- A Permanent GPS/Podcast For the Car
While many newer cars already have these functions built-in through a screen on the dashboard, not everyone has that luxury. Those who find themselves clipping their phone into a dashboard mount every time they get into the car might find this tip handly.
Especially since the process usually takes about 5 minutes each time. What with having to clip the phone in, plug in the power cord, and connect the Bluetooth? Then all of that’s undone when getting out again.
With an old phone, that arduous process is in the past. Simply leave the phone in the car and use it as a music or podcast player and a GPS. The only small workaround is the connection. If there isn’t a spare sim card lying around, then everything will have to be downloaded at home or the office. Luckily, there are GPS apps that work well offline.
- A Baby Monitor
Baby monitors can be expensive, especially those that connect over WiFi. An old phone can work just as well, and it can make video calls, too, when necessary.
As they say, there’s an app for that– yes even for this. Thanks to apps like BabyCam (Android) and Universal Baby Monitor (iOS), parents can look in from anywhere. These apps also have added features like warnings when there’s noise in the room and night lights.
For home security, something like Alfred Home Security Camera (Android) could work. It streams a live feed and features both night vision and motion detection. This supports only one phone, and the concept won’t replace a full security system, but it is handy.
Regardless of what the phone’s camera will be used for, it’s important to make sure it stays secure. Getting a mobile VPN is essential when using a phone as a security camera to make sure no outsiders can hack in. No one wants their personal lives on display to intrusive onlookers who hopped a ride onto the network.
- It Could Be a Life-Saver in an Emergency
Every phone is required by law to be able to make an emergency phone call even if it’s not connected. Keeping an old phone stashed away somewhere within easy reach in the house or car can make all the difference. Optimally, it should be kept charged, but it doesn’t have to be on a phone plan. Plus, it could come in handy as a backup if the new phone ever gets stolen.
- The Best Universal Remote Control
Many new appliances are connected to the internet of things(IOT), and smartphones can often be used as a universal remote.
SURE (Android) is an app that turns a phone into a remote for any smart device in the home. While something like AnyMote (Android) focuses solely on smart TVs and entertainment devices, most streaming service apps offer this option for their streaming devices.
Old phones still have plenty more uses than those mentioned here. Don’t just throw them away or let them gather dust. Recycling is also an option through some phone makers and carriers, so look into whether they take old phones back. Just make sure to wipe all the data before giving it away!