5 Things You Can Do With An Old Smartphone (Besides Sell It)

what else you can do with a used smartphone

Joanne Poh


You can’t treat your old smartphones like mouldy socks, although the way they keep hanging really stinks sometimes. Just because you’ve decided they’re too old to use every day doesn’t mean you need to throw them away. If your smartphone managed to reach retirement age without going for a spin in the washing machine or getting dropped into the toilet bowl, here are five things you can do to retrain it so it can live out its final years in a productive manner.

1. Video Surveillance

Have you ever wondered what your cat really does while you’re out at work? Find out when you convert your old smartphone into a video surveillance camera.

There are several apps that can do this for you, including Presence for iPhone and tinyCam Monitor for Android. Hook the phone up to a charger to prevent the battery from dying while you’re out and mount it on a high shelf. Make sure you’re connected to a wifi connection so you can access the videos via live streaming on another device.

2. Digital Photo Frame

If you’ve ever had the experience of sticking photos up on your cubicle walls at work, only to get annoyed a few years later when your colleagues start expressing shock at how thin you were back then, you’ll see the merits of using a digital photo frame.

Download the app Dayframe and instantly turn your smartphone into a digital photo frame. If you don’t want to waste time loading up your own pictures, you can link the app to your social media accounts like FaceBook and Instagram.

Put your smartphone on a stand beside your computer at work and you now have a ready source of distraction you can gaze at even while your boss is talking to you.

3. Alarm Clock

As much as we all loathe alarm clocks, they are a necessary evil. How many times have you climbed into bed only to realise that your smartphone’s battery is almost completely drained? If your alarm clock can’t turn the phone on automatically, you’re stuck leaving the phone charging all night.

Get a stand that keeps your disused phone upright, download the app Timely Alarm Clock and you’re ready to be awoken by the lilting notes of an angel’s harp or meadow-like ambient sounds, although we can’t guarantee that’ll be enough to make getting up in the morning more bearable.

4. Universal Remote Control

If you have so many remote controls in front of your TV it takes two hours just to play a DVD, you, my friend, need a universal remote that lets you control all your gadgets using  a single device

While some of the apps and hardware needed to make the conversion are quite expensive, iPhone users are in luck, because the app is free and the accompanying hardware costs about $80. Zmart Remote Pro is available on both iPhone and Android, and you’ll have to pay about $30 for the hardware.

Now if only you could fine a way to wifi-enable your siblings/kids….

5. Trackpad for Your Computer

Is your laptop’s trackpad as insensitive as a nosy auntie during Chinese New Year? Smartphone to the rescue. Just download the Wifi Mouse app. Then, download the mouse server to your computer and you’re good to go.

You can also use the same app to turn your smartphone into a keyboard. While you won’t be winning any speed typing competitions with this one, it’s a good tool to have in an emergency. 

Have you used your old smartphone in any other ways? Let us know in the comments!


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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.