What to do with an old smartphone?

Everyone loves to buy new gadgets, but what about the old ones? Below are a couple dozen tips for using outdated Android tablets and smartphones.

Smartphones and tablets have been around for years, which means you could have changed generations of devices. More and more obsolete models are collected in the drawers of the table, from which there is usually no use, they only take up space and collect dust.

However, a practical person can find a use for them. An Android device, regardless of age, has considerable potential, so you can breathe new life into them. Tips on how to do this are below.

1. Wireless trackpad and joystick for computer

With the right selection of software and a few minutes of setup, you can turn your old Android device into a controller to control computers on Windows, Linux or macOS.

Requires an app called Unified Remote and a connection via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The free version of the application gives you the ability to control the mouse and keyboard, playback of multimedia content and power-related commands. The full version costs $4 and adds individual controls for each program and other advanced features.

You need to download the server software for the computer, then the device will be ready to work as a wireless controller.

2. Remote Computer Terminal

If you want to access your home computer from other places, an old Android smartphone or tablet can help. Through its screen you will see the screen of your computer.

The easiest way to do this is to use the free Google Chrome Remote Desktop program, which works with Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, and macOS. Install the Chrome Remote Desktop app in your browser on your computer and follow the instructions to establish a connection. You can only connect to devices that are signed in to the same Google account. For security, you will need to create a pin code.

When this is done, install the companion app on your Android device, through which you can connect to the computer desktop using a pin code.

3. Universal remote control

Even the oldest Android devices have enough power to function as a remote remote control at home or at work. This will allow you to control various devices and multimedia components without special devices and free up the main smartphone, which is useful for other things.

First, download the necessary applications such as Nest, Hue, etc. on your old smartphone or tablet. Add tools to manage your audio and video streams. There are several ways:

  • Connect your smartphone or tablet using the Google keychain Chromecast. After that, you can keep the old devices on your desk and use them as a hub for wireless content management, such as a YouTube video, which will be displayed on the TV screen.
  • Install an app that turns your Android device into a remote control for your TV, set-top box or DVD player. If your mobile device has an infrared sensor, it may have its own programmable application or use the Smart IR Remote program. If there is no infrared sensor, search the Google Play Store for specific control software. Panasonic, Sony, DirectTV, Android TV, etc. have such programs.
  • Build a complete media server with Plex, then use your old devices as a remote control to stream local content to your TV. The media server is free, although subscriptions are available for $5 per month, $40 per year, and $120 forever.

4. Scientific research

Old hulking Android devices can contribute to the world's science by helping to predict earthquakes and find cures for diseases. All this can be done within the framework of the program of the University of California at Berkeley called BOINC.

You need to download a free application, select the project you like and set up the device to work with it. As long as the device is turned on, connected to a power outlet and has access to Wi-Fi, scientists from different institutions will be able to use its computing power to analyze data. More information about BOINC projects can be found on Wikipedia. Keep in mind that electricity bills can go up.

5. Security camera

Who needs fancy surveillance cameras when there is an unnecessary old Android smartphone. With the help of third-party applications, the camera on your device will allow you to monitor your home, office and any other place. There may even be advanced features like video recording and motion detection.

Download the free IP Webcam or Pro version for $3.99 and follow the instructions. After that, you will be able to watch through the device's camera and any compatible browser.

6. Station for video conferencing

Configure the old Android device using an application for a video message to choose from: Skype, Hangouts Meet, Google Duo or Other. Place it in the docking station on the table and get a permanent access point for negotiating and with friends.

If there is a sufficient number of old smartphones and tablets, you can create a system of video conferencing for a whole office. Each device must be attributed to a separate account by the Cabinet name or username.

7. The Kitchen Command Center

will use old devices not only in the office, but also in the kitchen. You need to use a third-party loader like Action Launcher or Nova Launcher to simplify the home screen and add simple gestures, like double clicking on any part of the screen to run Android voice search. This allows you to work with devices without hands. More modern devices support voice activation and Google Assistant.

Next, you need to place the correct applications on the home screen. Netflix (relevant for the United States) and other streaming services video will turn the tablet to the TV with a culinary channel. Applications with dishes recipes can be useful, as well as services notes with cloud connections, such as Google Keep, Evernote or OneNote. Through them, you can quickly view your own recipes and edit shopping lists from synchronization to see other family members.

8. Expanding the capabilities of cellular communication

when using Google Project Fi (which is irrelevant for Russia) as a wireless service for the current smartphone, you can use a small little-known bonus: get extra SIM card with the ability to recoil traffic to other devices without overpayment.

You must order a map on Project Fi website, install in an old smartphone or tablet if there is a connector and the device will receive access online. You need to pay for traffic spent by the device for a month, as in the usual Tariff Fi, so the auxiliary device will complement the main one.

This opens up a number of interesting features: the old smartphone can be used in case of disappearance, breakage or discharge of a new one; You can make it a point of access so as not to exhaust the battery charge of the main smartphone; give to children; Call and receive calls through a basic or alternative number.

9. Window into the world

You do not have the best view from the office window or apartment? Install the old Android device to show more interesting landscapes.

First, install the Earthcam Webcams application from the Play Store store. There is access to direct broadcasts from cameras from around the world. Select the desired and click on the full-screen translation icon.

There are many cameras on the network specifically for mobile devices. Run the browser and find the appropriate look.

10. Digital photo frame

No one wants to lose valuable memories. Buy an inexpensive stand, connect the tablet in Charger and turn into a photo frame with access to the cloud for home or office.

If you use Google Photos, open the application, click on any photo in the main library or album and the button with three dots in the upper right corner by selecting the Slideshow command. The program will scroll through all available photos, so on a free minute you can get to the memories.

11. E-book

For lovers Read on trips and at home there is an option to download on the Android device of the program like Google Play Books, Amazon Kindle, Nook, etc..

Disable Gmail notifications and other annoying applications; You can even go to the "airplane" mode and read, without distracting.

12. Desktop calendar

You can put the device on the table instead of the calendar. The pre-installed Google Calendar application with productivity-oriented elements is also a good free CAL program from any.do with a rich graphical interface.

13. Command Center of the car

Get rid of the need to be distracted by a smartphone in the car, turning the old model into a constantly affordable command center. Find a comfortable holder and secure in a safe place. Connect it to the car connector and K stereo speakers (via Bluetooth or headphone connector 3.5 mm). You can then use the main smartphone as a network access point or in advance to download music and maps to navigate the device via Wi-Fi.

Put an application Android AUTO and get a simple interface with large buttons and voice commands.

14. Educational tool for children

The old tablet may seem old to you, but on technological standards it is still not bad, so you can give it to children for learning and education.

On the tablets with the Android 4.3 system and the newer there is a function of limited profiles (Restricted Profile). Open > Users > Add User.

Select the addition of a limited profile. A proposal will appear to connect or disable access to each installed application, which will give the opportunity to choose which programs will be able to use children.

If an Android 7.0 version is installed on the old device or newer (which is unlikely), the Google Family Link program will give more controls, including the time limit and daily activity reports. Now the program is available only by invitation; Invitation can be tried to get on the Family Link website.

15. Electronic clock

Want to know the time? The old smartphone in the docking station can show custom clock on the desktop or night table. Google's application clock is an excellent option for a start, especially if you want to set alarm clock. Look at the "Screensaver" option in the "Screen" section in the operating system settings so that the clock is automatically shown when the device is connected to the outlet.

For even greater visual appeal, install the free Timely application, which is not being developed after purchasing Google in 2014, but continues to offer quite a lot of advanced functionality.

16. Gaming device

Set aside the portfolio and relax for the game. The old device on Android is suitable for not the most demanding from the point view graphics and games.

To turn it into a gaming device, find the right games in the Play Store store, you can also download Emulator for game consoles and connect joysticks.

17. Device for emergencies

Any smartphone is able to call to the rescue service, even if it is not connected to the cellular network. Keep the old apparatus charged in a car or in a bag; If something bad happens, and the current smartphone will be discharged or unavailable, it will still be possible to call an ambulance, police, etc.

18. Test device

Android is a dream of a computer enthusiast. Usually, the system can be relatively easy to crack (run the root) to gain access to the full list of features. When this is done, you can install additional applications and completely change the firmware of the operating system with other functions and optional settings.

However, it increases the risk of something to break. If you experiment with the main smartphone or tablet, there is a possibility to deprive them of working capacity, and in addition, the root usually deprives the warranty device.

All this is not scary on the old device. Try your hacking skills on it ; To learn how to root, search the Internet for information on the model name and version of the Android operating system. There is a huge community of Android enthusiasts on the global web, so you are sure to find useful guides for your device.

19. Sell it

The easiest option. What is old for you is new for someone else. For such sales in our country there is a popular Avito website. There you can see what devices other sellers offer and at what price.

Perform a factory reset of the device before selling. You also need to remove the memory card if it is installed.

20. Give it as a gift

Do you feel generous? You can give the device to friends, relatives or place an ad on the Internet. You can also search for a charitable organization, an orphanage, etc.