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4 min read 31 comments

6 cool things to do with your old smartphone

Update: Help in the fight against cancer

Sooner or later we all buy a new smartphone, and the old one ends up laying around, gathering dust. It may not be cool or new enough to sell, and it might be considered an insult to give it to someone as a gift, so what else can you do with it? Quite a lot actually. Here are six cool ways to breathe new life into an old smartphone.

1. Use it as a remote control

We all know smartphones can be used as remote controls, but how many of us actually use our current phone as a remote? Very few, I'd expect. But if you have an old phone that you don't need to take everywhere with you, you can use it a permanent remote, leaving it in place by the TV when you go out. 

yatse remote control movie list de
You can control your whole living room with a phone. / © ANDROIDPIT

You can use it to control iTunes or your whole PC. We have a nice DVD control app below and another remote control for Kodi/XBMC. There's no shortage of great remote control apps out there, so take a look around your living room to identify your requirements and hit the Play Store.

Retune Install on Google Play Unified Remote Install on Google Play PowerDVD Remote FREE Install on Google Play Yatse: Kodi remote control and cast Install on Google Play

2. Use it as an alarm clock

If your old smartphone doesn't even have enough RAM to handle some occasional gaming, then you could use it as a bedside clock. Get yourself a nice clock app, such as Timely, and spend a couple bucks on a simple mobile phone stand or go all out on a speaker dock. Don't forget to enable Daydream mode in the display settings. In these settings, you can also transform your phone into a digital picture frame or newscaster.

google daydream
Daydream mode offers several nice bedside clock options. / © ANDROIDPIT
Timely Alarm Clock Install on Google Play Alarm Clock for Me Install on Google Play Alarm clock with cyclic alarms and calendar Install on Google Play

3. Use it to fight disease

Folding@home is a Stanford University project that uses volunteers' computers, smartphones and consoles to simulate protein folding, an essential but poorly understood physical process through which a protein chain acquires its ultimate three-dimensional structure. Protein misfolding has been linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and many cancers. 

You can dedicate an old smartphone to the pursuit of a better understanding of protein folding by downloading the Folding@home app and leaving it running your phone. In doing so, your device will become part of the world's largest distributed supercomputer, adding to the 21,000 teraflops of computing power that the system currently churns out.

androidpit folding at home app 1
Connect your phone to Wi-Fi and a charger and become part of a supercomputer helping to fight cancer. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. Use it as a surveillance camera

Lots of old smartphones have better cameras than many surveillance cameras, so why not repurpose your old smartphone and use it to keep watch over your home? Grab an app such as SalientEye to turn your old Android into an ever-watchful motion detector (which can SMS or email you if it senses an intruder), or use the TrackView app to remotely monitor and record video. Home security never cost so little.

Salient Eye, Home Security Camera & Burglar Alarm Install on Google Play Surveillance & Security - TrackView Install on Google Play

5. Use it as an MP3 player

We always complain about how much space music takes up on our smartphones, but if you have an old phone that you've replaced with a faster version, why not fill the old one with music and make yourself a DIY iPod? The same goes for games or movies. When there's nothing else on your phone you can actually fit quite a lot of media on it.

music smartphone headphones
Want a free MP3 player? Just turn your old smartphone into one. / © ANDROIDPIT

6. Use it as an offline GPS

If you don't have a real GPS for your car or bike, you can easily transform an old phone into a GPS device. Load up a navigation app with offline routing capabilities and stick the phone in a car or bike mount. It won't cost you anything and it won't require internet either. 

sygic gps map app
The absolute cheapest GPS you'll ever own. / © ANDROIDPIT

What do you do with your old phone when you buy a new one? Do you know of any good uses that we didn't mention here? Share your tips in the comments.



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  • Amily Mar 6, 2017 Link to comment

    Thanks for the article! I'm also using my old smartphone as VR Controller from Vasosoft for games. Really useful for gamers!

  • You can also Use your Phone to Measure the Ground Distance , in other words use it as measuring Tape .
    just download this App from Play Store .

    Search for Smeasure in Play Store .

    A Smart and innovative way to use your Smart Phone

  • You can use your old Android Smartphone as a POWERFUL, ACCURATE CAR TRACKER (personal vehicles of course).

    First, you will need a working Android Smartphone that you may want to give away, trade or sell.

    Make certain that:
    1. It is running at least Android 4.4
    2. Can connect to your mobile data network
    3. GPS is fully functional

    My video may be found on YouTube @RecarroJames

    Next, go to "Settings" and then scroll to "Accounts"
    Log in with your Google or Gmail account. You can also create a new Google account just for this.

    Next, head back to settings
    Make sure that location services in on and actively locating this device.

    Next, find a secure location in your vehicle and hide your old smartphone.
    Make sure the area is dry, not too hot or wet.
    Be sure that it's effectively receiving GPS signal and remains connected to your mobile data network.

    Then, From another mobile device or from a computer, log into Android Device Manager.

    Be sure you're logging into the same account that the hidden smartphone (tracker) is using.

    Now, as your vehicle is in motion you can use Android Device Manager as the tracking platform
    You'll be able to achieve real-time updates, it's TOTALLY free to use and managed by Google.

  • I absolutely LOVED this article! It's something I've actually done, by devoting an iPhone 5 into an alarm/media player. Definitely want the Echo instead of my speaker cradle. The phone could be connected via wifi to turn it into a smarter phone :-) It would be AWESOME to coordinate the "smart devices" by making them all the same brand. Add a coordinating tablet, which could be turned into a Smart Home Hub and electronic photo frame:-)

    P.s. that hair tho 😉 love it

  • Alarm System :) There is an app on google play store called Doorsec

  • Half of these I'm already doing on my current phone, but will give the offline GPS thing a go. Cheers.

  • There are some very useful apps; I like duolingo.

  • For the Folding@Home section I would like to suggest BOINC which has many more options and has a more diverse selection of projects to contribute computing time to.

  • really awesome uses

  • Useful enough!

  • Many don't know that any working phone, even without a telco account, will work tor emergency 911 calls.

  •   18
    anshul Mar 3, 2016 Link to comment

    But first I need a spare phone. Nice tricks! :-)

  • Some decent uses and others not so much...

  • Dean L. Mar 3, 2016 Link to comment

    Some useful alternatives to put that old phone to use rather than as a paperweight. I'm also looking at using my old htc phone to learn about rooting and upgrading it with a newer version of Android.

  • Napster Mar 3, 2016 Link to comment

    Flashed cm13 rom on my venerable 3yo galaxy note 2, with viperFX, Poweramp and Xposed. Mostly using it as a media consumption and back up device. Despite its 3years it seems to hold water very well.

  • Mark G. Dec 27, 2015 Link to comment

    I was using my old faithful S3 as a Security cam with the App "Arnold" all was good.... But now her charging system has gave up, she takes over 36 hrs to fully charge and will discharge fully in 2/3 hrs even when charging. Such a shame she now going into full retirement.

    • Mark
      • Admin
      Dec 27, 2015 Link to comment

      Have you replaced the battery? Mine was doing the same slow charging quickly draining. New battery and it's back to normal.

      • Mark G. Feb 6, 2016 Link to comment

        I managed to get a fix. I bought a proper usb cable with a 2.1a charger. It now charges to 100% and remains charged whilst using.

        Though if I turn the charger off the battery will drain to zero in a couple of hours. I did replace the battery, I presume it's a fault with the usb port or the charging system.

        Peace ✌

  • Mark
    • Admin
    Dec 26, 2015 Link to comment

    Keep it for a spare to use for when you go to the beach, on a boat, at a pool, or any where it has a higher chance of get wet or damaged. Use it in the places that are less secure where it could get stolen.

  • I use my old LG G2 for TV apps that don't support Chromecast. Casting the phone screen itself means you can't use your phone so this helps a lot, especially when my grandson is over and wants to watch kids shows that are only on my Xfinity app.

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