Twelve Ideas to Make Use of Your Old Smartphone

Tech Habits

Smartphones are updated so frequently, it is quite possible to accumulate a whole drawer full of old versions which are no longer needed.  Most of the time, an upgrade is prompted by wanting to have the latest edition rather than any real ‘must-have’ new feature and often, the discarded Smartphones are still perfectly usable.  So what are the options for a drawer full of redundant but still perfectly functioning tech?

  • If you have young children then you can remove some of the apps you don’t want them to have and let them use the phone to play games on.  Smartphones can connect to an Xbox or Playstation in some situations and play some games
  • Use it as a hand me down or a first phone for children.  It might be sensible to start them off with a cheap handset but children are smart and want the appearance and functionality of a much more expensive device, like the one their parents have.  Using an older Smartphone can solve this dilemma and it won’t matter if the phone gets lost or damaged.  Mum and dad also know the history of the phone and what’s on there which can be a better option than buying one secondhand or having a hand me down from a friend or other family member
  • Turn your redundant Smartphone into a security camera, just download an appropriate app and then mount the phone just where you need it – you need a power source and a suction cup, then use your new Smartphone to log in and view the feed from your old one
  • If your kids are desperate for a real camera then you can buy a classic camera housing which will fit most size Smartphones.  Add in the companion app and the child can take and edit photos on this device
  • A redundant Smartphone can make an excellent webcam and since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, there has been a huge requirement for these for video conferencing on services like Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams
  • Keep your latest discarded version as a backup in case your current device is damaged, lost or fails for some other reason.  Just take the sim card from your current phone and pop it in the old one  – this will keep you in communication and avoid the stress of not having a working phone at all
  • Use it as a device solely for music and other media or allocate it the job of backup for all your essential files, this can be really useful if something happens to your current phone

  • If you are spending a lot of time at home at the moment then why not set up an audiobook account, download the app and then connect your old phone to a Bluetooth speaker for the joy of literature via surround sound

  • Double up on your television remote controls by using your old Smartphone as a new remote, just download an appropriate app and away you go
  • Donate your phone to an elderly relative for use in emergencies
  • Sell it. There is a market in selling used Smartphones, just make sure you take off all your personal details and the phone is completely wiped of all data before you part company with it
  • Donate your phone, there are loads of worthwhile causes and charities so just pick one that appeals and this can usually be arranged via their website.  Just make sure the phone is wiped clean before you part company with it  Pick from Oxfam, WaterAid or lots of other good causes

There are so many clever upcycling and recycling ideas for an old but usable Smartphone, you really will be spoilt for choice. Whatever you decide to use your old Smartphone for, make sure the phone has been wiped of any private data and personal details or, if you are giving it to children, that you have removed any undesirable apps or features.


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