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#parent | #kids | 11 Uses for Your Old Smartphone | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


(Image: Shutterstock)

Every day, we walk around with a supercomputer in our pockets. It checks the weather, searches the internet, plays games, streams media, takes pictures, and analyzes data. Smartphones are great, except for the fact that newer, better versions are always on the horizon.

Most of us can probably use the same phone for years, but the upgrade cycle means it’s always tempting to splurge on a shinier model. You can save a few bucks by trading your old phone in when you buy a new one, but there are times you end up with an extra, aging smartphone hanging around.

Instead of letting that device collect dust, reuse it! If it connects to Wi-Fi, it can still be a handy addition to the household. Here are a few cool things you can do with your old smartphone. 


Security Camera

Image: Alfred

If you have an old phone that’s no longer in use, turn it into a home security camera. Download a security camera app like Alfred on your old and new device, then mount the old phone where you need it; just make sure the device has access to power. You can use something as simple as a suction cup mount for a car. Then use your current smartphone to log in and view the feed from your old smartphone.


Give It to the Kids

3 kids lying on the floor looking at their phonesImage: Getty

If you’re not yet ready to buy your kid their own phone, repurpose your old device for them. You don’t need cellular connectivity for the camera to work. Once the phone is secure, connect it to Wi-Fi and your kids can send pics, search the internet, download apps, make VoIP calls, and play games. Just make sure you have a case and screen protector.


Gaming System

iphone with the game among us on the screen

There are a ton of different mobile games for iPhone and Android, and you only need a Wi-Fi connection to download. If you have an extra smartphone lying around, make it a dedicated gaming system, which will ensure you never have to worry about storage space while blowing off some steam from the couch.


Video Chat Device

housepartyHouseparty app

If you’re communicating a lot via Zoom, FaceTime, or any other video chat platform these days, your old smartphone can serve as a dedicated interface for video chats, as long as you have decent Wi-Fi coverage. The kids no longer have to borrow your phone to call grandma or their friends, and your smartphone remains open for incoming calls and other alerts.


Wireless Webcam

droidcam

If you don’t have a webcam for your desktop computer or your laptop is on the fritz, you can turn to an old smartphone. Free software like DroidCam and EpocCam let you turn a smartphone into a webcam for your computer. 


Alarm Clock

animation of a smartphone with multiple alarms setImage: Getty

Smart displays like the Echo Show 5 and the Google Nest Hub can help you manage the time, but not everyone wants a microphone in their bedroom. Instead, turn that old smartphone’s big display into an alarm clock that (hopefully) won’t spy on you. Download an alarm clock app via Wi-Fi, place your phone on a stand, hook it up to power, and you’re good to go. If you tend to hit snooze in the morning, it’s easy to grab the phone off its stand and keep it with you as you catch some more sleep.


TV Remote

tv remote app

Most media streaming devices come with their own remote controls, but they tend to be small and easy to lose. Whether you own an Apple TV, Fire TV Stick, or Roku, chances are you will (or already have) misplaced its remote. Instead of buying a new one, use your phone. Each service has its own mobile app; download it on your old device, link your account, and you have a working remote control again. This can also come in handy for app-based, live TV streaming services, like YouTube TV.


E-Book Reader

two people reading on their phonesImage: Getty

If you love books and comics, but don’t want to purchase an ebook reader, use your phone instead. Download the Amazon Kindle app or your ebook reader app of choice, and sync up your purchases, free e-books, and titles borrowed from the library. Comics fans can buy digital comics from Comixology, Marvel, and DC using their respective apps. Or tap into monthly subscription services like Comixology Unlimited, Marvel Unlimited, and DC Universe Infinite.

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spotify playlist on a smartphone

An old phone can be an easy ways to listen to books, music, and podcasts on your favorite streaming services. Set it up on a charging stand and connect it to a Bluetooth speaker or pop in some wireless earbuds while cleaning the house, getting some work done, or working out at home. You can also use an old mobile device as a dedicated video streamer. Download a movie or two before you leave the house for on-the-go entertainment that won’t burn through your data plan or battery.


Contribute Your Phone to Science

Smartphones these days have the same computing power as an older desktop computer. If it turns on, and you have no other use for it, why not “donate” some of those unused resources to a good cause? The BOINC app—developed by the University of Caifornia, Berkeley—harnesses your device’s unused computing power for crowdsourced science. It currently only works on Android, but the version on Google Play is outdated due to Google restrictions, so researchers recommend using a version available via F-Droid.

One project that uses BOINC is [email protected], which is trying to stop Earth from getting hit by an asteroid. You can also help use computational power for health and sustainability research with IBM’s World Community Grid. Choose which project you want to help, hook it up to your local Wi-Fi, and let the built-in CPU finally do some work again.


Emergency 911 Phone

old phonesImage: Getty

US law requires that all phones be able to call 911, even without a SIM card or connected data plan. That means no matter how old your phone is, as long as it has power, it will be able to connect with emergency services. Even in conditions where there would normally be limited service, the call should be able to go through.

While you probably have your phone on you at all times, it can’t hurt to have a backup device just in case. For instance, you could keep an inactive phone in the car in case there’s an emergency. You can also give the decommissioned device to an older relative who might not have a mobile device, but could use an easy way to contact emergency services just in case. There are also many nonprofits that take donations of old cell phones, then either give them away or sell them and use the profits to benefit those in need.





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