Old smartphones: here are some uses to make them useful
Good morning dear readers, today we are going to talk about what you can do with old smartphones so that you can get back to using them to do something useful.
We use our phones longer than ever before; The hardware is at a point where even cheap phones like Pixel 4a can easily last three years or more. But when you upgrade to a new device, what do you do with your old phone? Sure, you can always sell them and make a profit, but there’s also the option to reuse your old gadgets and make them useful again. This is especially useful for cheap Android phones that run outdated versions of Android.
What can you do with old smartphones?
There’s a lot you can do with old smartphones, and while they might be outdated as phones, they still have powerful chipsets, decent cameras, and GPS connectivity that you can leverage to turn them into useful gadgets around the house. Here are just a few ways to get the most out of your old smartphone or Android tablet.
Universal remote control
One of the easiest things you can do with an old phone or tablet is turn it into a universal remote control. There are many apps on the Play Store that allow you to do this, but the one I use is Unified Remote . The app lets you turn your phone into a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth universal remote and you can use it to control your computer. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux and has built-in controls for everything from streaming media to file managers, mirroring content, and more.
You can also use Unified Remote as a remote control during PowerPoint presentations and it doubles as an external keyboard for your computer. The app is especially useful if you connect your computer to your TV to play games. The free version has many features, but if you need even more controls there’s also a paid version .
If your old phone has IR, you can use an app like AnyMote and use your phone as a remote control for your TV and stereo. Xiaomi‘s Mi Remote is also a fantastic utility that has presets for most TVs, air conditioners, AV receivers, projectors and more.
Turn it into a security camera
One of the best use cases for an old phone is to turn it into a security camera. It’s surprisingly easy to do, and there are apps like Alfred that make setting up and using your phone as a security camera incredibly simple.
The app has over 15 million users worldwide and comes with easy to follow instructions. You’ll need two phones to use the service: ideally, you’ll set up your old phone as a security camera and your current phone to monitor the camera feed. You can choose to record using your old phone’s front or back camera, enabling audio, motion detection, and you can even use the two phones as walkie-talkies.
Alfred’s interface is clean and the free version gives you access to most of the app’s features, albeit with ads. There is also a premium tier that costs €5 per month or €30 per year that allows you to record in high definition and save footage to the cloud for up to 30 days. If you’re only interested in trying out the service, the free version is very useful. Here’s how to turn your old phone into a security camera.
Relive nostalgia by emulating old games
There’s no shortage of emulators on the Play Store, and RetroArch in particular stands out for its versatility. RetroArch isn’t an emulator, but a front-end that lets you run games from a variety of consoles and game engines.
If you need a traditional emulator, there’s DraStic that lets you play Nintendo DS titles on your phone, My Boy! for Game Boy Advance, PPSSPP for PlayStation Portable games, Reicast for Dreamcast, and more.
The Emulation On Android subreddit has the definitive list of emulators available on Android, along with a useful list of controllers and general information. What you basically need to know is that even older phones from four to five years ago are many times more powerful than older game consoles, so you shouldn’t have any problems with classic games.
Offline music player
HTC and LG in particular had great built-in DACs that made them ideal for playing wired music. So, if you have wired audio equipment and an old phone lying around, you can build yourself a pretty decent music player. Just be sure to reset it to factory settings and configure it from scratch to prevent background services from slowing down your phone. Also, if you’re like me and have a lot of music stored offline, you can use an app like Poweramp or Neutron.
Alarm clock on bedside table
This is a pretty obvious use case, but you can easily turn an old smartphone into a decent alarm clock and put it on your nightstand. There are plenty of free alarm clock apps on Android, including Sleepzy, Alarmy and AlarmMon just to name a few.
You can also find challenge-based alarms that require you to solve a puzzle or math problem before you can hit the snooze button.
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