The Afterlife: 10 Things You Can Do With Your Old Smartphone

Why discard your old smartphones when they can be put to some useful tasks around the house. 

Published
Tech News
5 min read
Old smartphones can be put to a variety of uses. 
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With smartphone makers upgrading their devices frequently, launching powerful versions with better battery life and new features every year, smartphone users too, are upgrading their handsets more often.

According to a report by Android Authority, smartphone users in India now upgrade their phones on average at about 20 months of age. This means there are plenty of functional smartphones, with perhaps slightly less powerful specifications, sitting idle in drawers at homes. These can be repurposed at little or no cost, for some very useful tasks.

DashCam for Cars

Old smartphones can be used as dashboard cameras.
Old smartphones can be used as dashboard cameras.
(Photo: Google Playstore)

A mobile phone holder attached to the windscreen, a car charger, an old smarthphone, and a memory card (if equipped), is all you need to set yourself up with an effective dashboard camera (dashcam). There are a number of dashcam apps available on the Google Playstore that can be used on the smartphone. These apps will record your drive and any mishaps as well. Some good ones include AutoGuard and Daily Roads Voyager apps.

GPS Navigation

An old smartphone can become a standalone GPS navigation device. 
An old smartphone can become a standalone GPS navigation device. 
(Photo: Google Playstore)

Don't have a dedicated GPS navigation in your car? No problem! You can repurpose an old smartphone for the task. You can download offline Google Maps as well, so it could work even if there is no network connectivity. If you do have network, you get the added benefit of traffic updates on Google.

Music Player

Did smartphones kill the MP3 player?
Did smartphones kill the MP3 player?
(Photo: Google Playstore)

You could repurpose an old smartphone as a dedicated music device and store all your music on it. It can be plugged into the auxiliary port in the car or connected over Bluetooth to play your favourite music whenever you want. With an old smartphone around, do you really need that iPod?

Wi-Fi Repeater or Hotspot

Wi-Fi booster and repeater apps help with better connectivity. 
Wi-Fi booster and repeater apps help with better connectivity. 
(Photo: Google Playstore)

A useful purpose of an old smartphone is to provide better internet connectivity by acting as a Wi-Fi hotspot or as a repeater to boost Wi-Fi signal in some areas. If you have a 4G connection that you want to share, it could also be used as a 4G router. There are a number of Wi-Fi repeater/hotspot apps available on the Google Playstore.

Dedicated Point & Shoot Camera

Smartphones have killed point and shoot cameras. 
Smartphones have killed point and shoot cameras. 
(Photo: Google Playstore)

With smartphone cameras getting better with each iteration, it has almost killed the market for dedicated point and shoot digital cameras. Want to capture all your memories from a holiday on a single device? Repurpose an old smartphone with good camera hardware for the task. That way, you don't eat up precious battery life on your main device. There are many camera apps available that almost give professional quality results.

Wi-Fi Remote for Home

You can turn your home into a smarthome with a smartphone. 
You can turn your home into a smarthome with a smartphone. 
(Photo: Google Playstore)

Got a smart TV at home? Or do you have your AC and lights connected to a Wi-Fi adapter? You can control all these with an old smartphone. Many new TVs now have Wi-Fi connection capability, and your old smartphone can become a universal remote for these gadgets. Some smartphones also have infrared blasters in them. If you have one of those, you can use it as a universal remote even without the Wi-Fi.

CCTV or Baby Monitor

You can use an old smartphone as a security camera
You can use an old smartphone as a security camera
(Photo: Google Playstore)

Why spend money on a CCTV system or a baby monitor when you can repurpose an old smartphone for the task? Get a dedicated wall mount or desk mount spot at home, plug it into a charger, and download any of the CCTV and baby monitor apps from the PlayStore. You can even set up the phone to remotely monitor locations, as there are apps that allow you to remotely connect to the smartphone from your own phone, and watch a live feed of a location.

Internet TV Streaming Device

Get Netflix, Amazon Prime and Youtube streaming controls on a single device. 
Get Netflix, Amazon Prime and Youtube streaming controls on a single device. 
(Photo: Google PlayStore)

With Chromecast, Teewee and other streaming devices that connect to your TV, you can repurpose an old smartphone to become your one-stop multimedia device to stream various Internet TV shows or movies on to your TV. Leave the device lying around in your living room for the entire family to use, instead of someone having to stream from their own phone.

VR Headset

Dedicate an old smartphone to VR content. 
Dedicate an old smartphone to VR content. 
(Photo: Google Playstore)

Do you watch a lot of virtual reality content? Dedicate an old smartphone for the purpose to be used in conjunction with a Daydream or any other VR headset. That way, you will not be interrupted with calls or text messages in the middle of a VR show.

Gaming Console

An old smartphone can double up as a gaming controller as well. 
An old smartphone can double up as a gaming controller as well. 
(Photo: Google Playstore)

Some gaming consoles like XBox and others allow multiple Wi-Fi gaming controllers to be connected to the console. Instead of buying separate controllers, you can download a controller app on to an old smartphone and join in the action with multi-player games.

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