Tips & Tricks: 11 ways to make the best use of your old phone


30 Aug 2013
Reaction score
I have changed 5 phones in 8 years. And it was only once that I sold off my old phone when upgrading to a new one. In rest of the cases, I kept the old phones in my drawer as back-up devices hoping that they would come to use in emergency situations. But it, thankfully, never happened. And today a couple of them are almost dead and the rest are too dated for me to even think of using them.

In retrospect, I think I could have made better use of those phones instead of just leaving them unattended.

So that I, and you, do not repeat the same mistake, here listed are 11 ways in which you can put your old phone to use in the most effective manner possible (you could also use it for multiple purposes).

1. Music player: Music lovers, usually, have a large portion of storage space on their phones eaten up by audio files (I, too, had around 40 per cent of my phone's storage laden with music until this week when all of my phone's data got accidentally erased).

So, the best way ardent music listeners can bring their old phone to use is by turning it into a standalone music player. This will not only create more room for data on their primary phone, but could also make it more battery efficient.

2. Home security system: Keeping parts of your home under camera surveillance is often a good idea from a security perspective. But then such setups come with a hefty price tag attached. You can, however, save yourself from investing in pricey solutions and can easily convert your old phone into a security system.

For that, all you need is your old phone, a mount to keep the phone upright and a monitoring app. For better results, you could also use a smartphone lens - may be a wide-angle lens to get a wider view, and a power cord as it needs to be powered on all the time.

The app stores are flooded with a lot of free apps that can turn your phone into a security camera. For instance, Salient Eye or Tiny Cam for Android and iCam for iOS.

In case the camera detects any movement, these apps can alert you via messages or emails, capture photos and can even trigger an alarm to scare burglars. Each app has its own set of features. You can choose any one that best meet your needs.

3. Emergency light: It's not wise to use flashlight on your primary phone for a longer period as it would drain the battery in almost no time. So, if you have your old phone, you can convert it into an emergency light that could come handy in case of power cuts. Most of the phones come pre-loaded with the torch feature, but if your phone lacks it, you can download a compatible app from the app store. Android users, for instance, can (for free) download Swiss Army Knife from the Google Play store that includes the flashlight feature apart from other functionalities.

4. Kitchen assistant: With a lot of recipes online and the world connected wirelessly, isn't it a good idea to convert your otherwise unused phone into a kitchen assistant? You can mount it in a corner and with a dedicated assistant always at your service, you will no longer need to search for your phone or power on the laptop to visit cookery sites or to make a kitchen shopping checklist.

5. Navigator for your car: We, usually, don't feel the need of installing a standalone navigation system in car and, instead, prefer using a map app or a navigation app on our phone, but if you have a spare phone, you can turn it into a navigation system and keep it mounted on your dashboard or windscreen. This will not only help you reach your intended destination but will also make your primary phone's battery last longer.

6. A centralised storage system for family: With the help of third-party apps (also a built-in feature on some phones), you can convert your old phone into a common storage device that can be accessed by other members of the family (when on the same network) from any machine.

There are a plethora of file managers on the app stores that give you an ftp path to let you access content on your phone (now used as a storage device) from other machines including phones, desktops, laptops and tablets.

ES File Explorer app for Android is one such app. You just need go to Remote Manager under the app settings, "Turn on" the service, and get the ftp path (ftp://...) . Enter the path on a browser on any machine and voila! There are also security options for you to restrict unauthorised access.

You can use this centralised storage device to keep documents and files you would like to share with other family members.

7. Universal remote: Why to have a dedicated remote for every device when you can manage all of them with one? If your old phone includes an IR blaster, there are numerous apps available on the app stores that can convert your phone into a universal remote control for all your devices including a home theatre system, AC, TV, DVD/BluRay player and set-top box. SureMote is the latest in the line of Android apps that convert your phone into a universal remote. Other such apps include Smart IR Remote and ASmart Remote IR. If you have an old iOS phone, you can try iR Universal Remote Control, iRule among others.

8. E-book reader: If you prefer e-books over paper books, then you can think of making your old phone an e-book reader. Though you can read e-books on your primary phone too, by dedicating a device only to reading, you will not only save yourself from being distracted by notification alerts that appear on your phone during reading time, but could also make your phone live for a little longer before it dies.

9. Kids-only device: Though you can share your primary phone with your kids by making it child-safe, but that doesn't child-proof the phone from physical damage. The recommended way here is to make your otherwise unused phone kid-friendly and let your little one learn and play on it.

10. Private TV: If you face an everyday struggle at home to get to watch your favourite shows and channels of your choice on TV, you could consider turning your old phone into a private TV. Many DTH operators including Tata Sky and Airtel offer a mobile TV service that let you watch live TV and videos on-demand anytime, anywhere.


[http://static] Related


Safety guard: 6 rules on how to avoid online shopping fraud

11. Gift/charity: If you think your phone is too dated to come to your use, you can give it away to someone who can't afford to buy a phone himself. Or you could also hand it over to e-waste management companies who either safely dispose them or recycle them to raise funds for charitable organisations.

There are many other ways in which you can get more out of your old phone, such as using it as mouse. Know of more such innovative uses? Do share in the comments.
Top Bottom
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock