What Can You Do With Your Old Smartphone?

Have you ever really thought about what you can do with your old smartphone(s) when it’s time you’ve decided you no longer want it? You’ve pulled it out of that dusty drawer and now you don’t know what to do with it. Who knows, maybe you have a few smartphones stashed away somewhere? It’s not your fault, technology moves quickly or maybe your phone is at the stage of burnout. Well, I have a few ideas of what you can do with your old smartphone besides giving it away to large corporations that already make tons of money anyways. 

Did you know – just because there is no cell service on your old smartphone(s) that doesn’t make it completely nonfunctional? 

Don’t forget your smartphone is basically a mini computer. If it’s still working, it may still have some uses. Sure, it might be a little slow, but there are quite a few things you can do with it. And don’t you dare think of throwing it in the garbage can because at this point in time,  we damn well know that’s just messed up and it’s definitely not the answer. Here are some ideas of what you can do with it instead: 

Think of it like spring cleaning. Before you decide on whatever you want to do with your old device, perform a backup of your precious data and head over to settings and complete a reset by erasing ALL content and settings. This is final so make sure you have EVERYTHING that’s important off there and on somewhere that’s safe and easily accessible so you can live with no regrets. If you end up giving it away or do keep it after all, a reset will refresh everything and make that device feel good again – like spring, a nice feeling of renewal.

  1. Giving it away/donating. If you are thinking about giving it away, either to family or friends, or even donating it, you should see how the phone’s overall performance is. Old devices are usually stored in that old drawer for a reason after all 🙂 Even though you’re giving it away for free, if it can be helped, you should never give away a phone to anyone who is going to be completely clueless to what they are getting, because that just wouldn’t be fair. Do a little testing first.

Give the phone a complete charge, and once it’s reached 100% charge it for another two hours to ensure you’re giving it a really good charge. Once the battery is fully charged, unplug it. If you haven’t already, connect to wifi. Play around with the phone a little bit to see how it’s functioning. Check the battery percentage – does it seem to be holding a decent charge? Or is it draining too quickly? Make a test phone call to make sure the speaker and microphone are working correctly. Since there will most likely be no cell service you can download an app like Google Hangouts or Skype to do a check phone test. If all seems to be good with the device, you’re ready to give it away, partially tested for the new user. Since you already deleted your data, you are being responsible and won’t have to worry about any of your data being leaked. 

If the device seems to be functioning poorly, you can still give it away but you should let the next user or company know some of the known issues that you found out while testing. 

  1. Selling. If you still don’t know what to do with your device at this point, consider selling it. You will want to do a little more in-depth testing with the device to make sure everyone is happy on both ends. But don’t let that discourage you –  knowing the health of the phone will help you a lot when it comes time to sell your old device. Since you already backed up your data and reset all settings to factory default, by now you should already know the status of the battery sound and speaker. You might want to make note of the body. Are there dents, scratches? Check the charging port, is there any corrosion, or is the port loose or wobbly when plugged in? Things like this are very important in an ad and are very important to a buyer, so you want to provide as much detail as possible. Testing your device’s software and hardware has never been simpler than just downloading an app. Kinda weird right? I recommend downloading a helpful app diagnostics tool that will diagnose any issues with your device. For iPhone I use “Phone Diagnostics” (created by Test & find Repair Shop) and for Android I use “Phone Check and Test” (created by inPocket Software). These apps have helped me a lot and almost always provide accurate information. Once the tests are done, this app will help you know more about your phone and will help with your decision on the price your phone is worth. 

Occasionally I come across good deals on smartphones. Sometimes they are fixable, while others are just not worth my time. When I do come across the ones that are not worth my time, lately I’ve been thinking of things I can do with them so they don’t turn out to be completely worthless. When I say not worth my time, I mean cracked screen and battery issues to the point where the only way the phone is slightly usable is by having it plugged in all of the time or at least most of the time. Once you get connected to wi-fi, here are some ideas you can try to get the most out of that expensive smartphone when you don’t know what to do with it or it feels like there’s nothing left:

  1. iPhone/Android smartphone media entertainment centre. Stream video or audio from your phone to TV, speakers or headphones – and there are a few ways to do this by turning your old smartphone into a media centre!

For TV – HDMI or Airplay. Once connected you can mirror your screen to the TV. This is good for many reasons. You can stream horizontally for the full widescreen size effect. There are so many apps to choose from in the App Store, not just iTunes – Netflix, Amazon, sports and even more to stream your favorite TV apps. 

Music player: Speakers. Turn your smartphone into a music player. Your old device will probably support Bluetooth. Connect your favorite Bluetooth speaker to your old smartphone and turn it into nothing but a MP3 player to listen to your favourite tunes out loud! The App Store has so many music apps to choose from – Apple Music, Spotify and your favorite Radio apps. Who knows what else you can find when you search music!

Music Player: Headphones. Same idea as the speakers, but with the sound in. Have a great experience with just your old smartphone and a pair of headphones. Don’t limit yourself to music – you can enjoy some peace and quiet while meditating with your favorite meditation apps. Nothing else to disturb you when it’s just a music player instead of a fully functioning smartphone.

  1. A real dedicated gaming device. How many of you currently have games on your smartphone? Probably most. Turning your old smartphone into a gaming centre is the perfect solution for your mobile gaming needs, especially if you want to save some space on your current device. Mobile games take up a lot of space, so why not transfer them to your old device and organize your mobile gaming library?
  2. E-book reader. If you don’t mind reading on a small screen, this could be a cheap solution for e-book lovers. Turn your old smartphone into an e-reader by using the Kindle or Kobo app or downloading PDFs into your files. This option also gives you more storage space for all those books. 
  3. A universal remote. Most digital media players offer remote apps – Apple, Roku and Amazon Fire TV to name a few. Download these apps on your old device and you have yourself a handy universal remote! 
  4. Security camera. If you don’t already know, home security cameras can be expensive. If someone (or something)  is lurking around your home at night, be it on two feet or four, you should be able to have the luxury of a camera to detect any intruders. Well, if you have an old smartphone laying around, you can turn it into a home security camera for basically 0 dollars! Try to make it as discreet as possible. 
  5. Kids camera. Let’s be honest here. Kids take terrible pictures – their arms aren’t fully developed, their pictures are blurry and out of focus and just generally bad, and it’s not their fault. Get them familiar with your old smartphone – that way when they are older they will be ready to whip that smartphone camera out like a pro. 
  6. GPS. It should be connected anyways, so if you need a GPS this could be a great solution for a road trip in the car or just biking around the city. Make sure to test it before leaving home.
  7. Money making device. If you like to make some money on the side, your old device could bring you in a small amount of dough. There are apps you can download that will allow you to watch videos, play games and more in exchange for points you can redeem for rewards such as gift cards or PayPal payments. To save wear and tear on your primary device, you can run these apps on your old smartphone instead. Cha-ching!! 😉

And if you really don’t know what to do with it – please, recycle it the proper way. A certified company will know exactly what to do with it. Be kind to our planet, let’s not pollute it with more e-waste.