Right about now, you’re probably toying with the idea of investing in one of the cool new flip phones that everyone is talking about. Whether you want the high-spec Galaxy Z Flip or the nostalgia-filled Motorola Razr, the temptation to upgrade your handset is strong at the moment. But what to do with your old phone once you choose to take the plunge? Trading in or selling on your old device is always going to be an option, but there are other choices you can make.
If you’ve let your phone standards slip to the point you can’t command a decent trade-in value, or you’re in the market for some kit like a wireless mouse or a security camera, you could keep hold of your current handset and upcycle into something useful.
When it comes down to brass tacks, a smartphone is a very small, pretty powerful computer that can store data and has an in-built camera. You can put it into action as a replacement for lots of other gadgets and even morph it into a home security camera or a diagnostics tool to figure out your car’s mechanical problem. Katie Conner explored some of the more innovative ways you can repurpose an old phone for cnet, where this article was initially published.
Go old school and make a GameBoy
If you want to recapture some of your youth, when gaming became truly portable with your Nintendo GameBoy, you can turn your old Android into the retro gaming unit. To get started, you first need an old, compatible Android device and a Hyperkin Smartboy Mobile Device.
To be able to play classics like Tetris and Mario you’re going to need to reinvest in the original GameBoy cartridges unless your parents still have them in your boxes in the basement. It’s also possible to play apps for GameBoy Advanced games if you can’t get your hands on the retro cartridges.
Take control of your entertainment
If you’ve seen the Adam Sandler movie Click, you’ve probably spent at least a few seconds contemplating how cool a universal remote could be. You might not actually want to start turning off people, but having one remote to control everything in your home entertainment setup would be pretty useful. You can download an app like iRule and then sync all of your devices including your Xbox One, Roku, and Apple TV to your old phone.
Got smart light bulbs? You can even get them synced up with your phone so you can walk around the house zapping the lights on and off.
Turn your Android phone into a Google Home
If you want to get a Google Home device but don’t want to fork out the initial outlay, you can simply use your old and unused Android phone; no new apps required. First, you need to make sure the handset has the latest version of Android OS, you need to make sure you have “OK, Google”. Then, put your hands on a Bluetooth speaker, any one will do, and pair it up with your phone. As long as both devices are turned on at all times, you can go about giving commands and asking questions like any other smart home assistant. You’ll be saving yourself $129 for a Google Home, too!
Make a great quality security camera
When you want to beef up the security in your home, you can adapt your old phone into a security camera. You just need to download an app for security cameras like Alfred, which also works on iPhones, and you’re ready to get started. You can keep an eye on your home or even your pet whilst you’re away at work, you just need to place your phone wherever you want to watch with the camera trained on the place you’re looking to monitor.
If you’d rather keep yourself protected when you’re at home, you can set your old phone up outside, hidden around your front door so you can see who’s ringing your bell or keep an eye out for suspicious activity. It might be fun to see what hijinks your neighbor’s pets get up to in your yard when you’re all out at work.
Listen out for baby
If you’ve not invested in a baby monitor, or don’t want to be taking your expensive kit over to the babysitter’s every day, you can adapt your old phone into a baby monitor instead. You’ll be able to hear any strange noises and check if it was a full-blown cry or a gentle stirring.
All you need to do is place the old phone in baby’s room, Skype installed, and you can access it from your brand new handset that has Skype installed also. Alternatively, there are apps that are designed for these purposes, like Dormi. Although Conner hasn’t run any real-world tests on these systems, the ratings in Play Store are high.
Who needs a mouse anyway?
When the battery dies in your wireless mouse, without any type of warning, it can be an absolute pain, especially if you’re on the move someplace. As a backup or even your primary option, you can turn your Android phone into a mouse for your laptop. To make it work, you’ll need an app like Remote Mouse downloaded onto your phone.
After installing, you need to have your phone and computer connected over the same WiFi network, and you can kiss goodbye to your old-style mouse. For extra convenience, make sure you keep your mousephone in your laptop bag so it’s always on hand when you’re working remotely.
If your snazzy new phone doesn’t have expandable memory you might want to keep your old device purely for playing music to keep your storage space free. Everything can be wiped off your old phone except your tunes and whichever music player you’ve been using.
You’ve got all of the storage of the old phone to fill up with as many songs as you can muster and never have to worry about denting the storage space on your actual phone. Connect it to a home speaker with Bluetooth and the party can really begin. You won’t have to abandon your ability to check your messages and there’ll be no annoying notifications interrupting the music, either.