Unboxing a shiny new smartphone is always an exciting experience. Sleek design, latest specs, smooth interface: what’s not to love? But as you’re celebrating your new device, you are then faced with this question: what do you do with the old one?
Selling and donating are the first things that come to mind when we have an old smartphone, but these are not the only routes that you can go. There are several ways of breathing new life into an old device by repurposing and transforming it into something new. Get inspired and repurpose your old phone into these 10 alternatives.
Home security camera
Fancy high-end security cameras can be incredibly expensive, but an old smartphone does just the trick. Set up your phone in the main area or hide it near the front door, so you can always have an eye on what’s happening in your home, even when you’re away.
Apps like AlfredCamera make installing a DIY security system using your old device simple and straightforward. Your old phone serves as the security camera, and you can connect this with your new phone to monitor the live feed no matter where you are.
Baby or pet monitor
You can also apply the same technology to transform your phone into a baby monitor so you can watch over your precious one from every room. If you have a furry baby instead, it also works as a pet monitor for when you’re out of the house.
AlfredCamera supercharges your DIY monitor by equipping it with powerful features. Aside from 24/7 live streaming, you can enable motion detection, as well as a low-light filter perfect for monitoring at night. You can even turn on two-way talk so you can coo and soothe your baby or interact with your pets and house visitors.
If you’re trying to lessen your screentime at night and improve your sleep habits, having your phone at arm’s reach from your bed is not a great idea. Instead, if you have an old phone or tablet lying around, you can transform it into a dedicated bedside aide, only with the apps that you need to sleep and nothing more.
You can repurpose your old smartphone to be an alarm clock that works best for you. You can also install apps for white noise or sleep meditations to help you doze off, plus a sleep tracker to take note of your sleeping habits.
If your device has a wide screen like a tablet’s, it can also be a fantastic nighttime e-reader if you like to read before going to bed. Just make sure you don’t install any more apps that will keep you awake!
In this age of remote work, it is an absolute must to have high-quality video during your calls and meetings. If you have an old phone with great camera specs, make the most out of it by connecting it to your computer as a webcam. Free apps like DroidCam and EpocCam make it simple to transform your smartphone into a capable webcam for Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype.
An old smartphone can help you if you’re trying to separate work from your personal life. Stop using your personal phone for work-related tasks and assign them to your old phone instead. It takes up little space in your desk workspace, and it can be as powerful as you allow it to be. If you maximize the use of your phone’s virtual assistant like Siri or Google Assistant, everything from news to meeting schedule is all just one voice command away.
Your phone can also be programmed as a high-tech clock, or perhaps a digital picture frame with your favorite photos on a looped slideshow to inspire you throughout the day. With an app like Remote Mouse, you can even repurpose your phone into a backup mouse or keyboard in case you find yourself needing one in the future.
If you have a media center at home, then you know how confusing and frustrating it can be to manage all the different remotes for the TV, DVD player, Roku, and every other device. Don’t you sometimes wish there was just one remote for everything? Your old Android smartphone may be just the thing.
Old smartphones (think models from 7 years ago) came pre-installed with an IR blaster, which allow them to work as universal remote controls for almost any television or media system. This technology is hard to come by nowadays, but some models from Xiaomi and Huawei still do. If your old phone comes equipped with an IR blaster, you can easily repurpose it into a universal remote by installing an app like AnyMote.
In-car infotainment system
It can be quite inconvenient having to connect and mount your smartphone to your dashboard every time you have to use it for navigation or in-car entertainment. But if you have an old extra smartphone, this can be made into a mainstay infotainment system as long as it still has Wi-Fi or data connectivity.
You can install your preferred GPS navigation app, like Google Maps or Waze, as well as apps for radio, music, and podcasts. With an app like Torque, you can also connect your old phone to your car’s OBD-II interface to get stats and monitor car performance.
Another option is to turn your old smartphone into a dedicated music player, in case your vehicle doesn’t have the latest entertainment system.
On the topic of car accessories, an old smartphone can be a practical alternative to a dashcam. Instead of shelling out money to purchase a brand new dashcam, why not use your old trusty phone that can work just as well? All you need is an appropriate mount for your phone and a dashcam app like Smart Dash Cam to get a record of your driving moments.
An additional advantage of having a phone in the car is that it gives you a point of reference in the unfortunate event that your vehicle gets stolen. If you don’t have a GPS system installed on the vehicle, you may still be able to pinpoint its location by using Find My on iOS or Find My Device on Android.
DIY GoPro camera
While modern smartphones are significantly clunkier than the compact GoPro camera, they can still be a worthy alternative for capturing active moments on the go. Because your old phone is already an extra model, you won’t worry too much about its condition, making it an ideal camera for those heavy-duty occasions.
You will need to purchase an appropriate mount for your head, chest, or bike that works well with your smartphone. You may also consider getting a Bluetooth shutter remote so you can start and stop recording smoothly and seamlessly.
If nothing works, just sell, donate, or give it away
If none of these recycling and repurposing ideas for an old smartphone strikes your fancy, you can always go back to the first option: give it away. Hand it down to a relative or as a learning aide for a child. Drop it off at a donation hub or, for non-working and end-of-life devices, at recycling initiatives like Globe’s E-Waste Zero project.
Otherwise, for phones in great condition, you can get an ample amount selling them to someone you know or online on sites like Carousell, Facebook Marketplace, and TipidCP.
Whichever option you choose in giving your old phone away, make sure to remove any SIM cards or external memory cards, and do a hard factory reset to erase any data you don’t want passed along.