10 Useful Things you can do With an Old Smartphone or Tablet in 2024

What do you do when you replace your phone or tablet? Do you sell the old one? Trade it in? Put it in a drawer and forget about it?

Rather than sending your old phone or tablet to landfill, why not have a little fun with it instead?

Broadband Genie has provided these 10 fun and useful ways to use your old phone or tablet.

Baby monitor

An old phone or tablet with a camera could have a second life as a very effective baby monitor. Using a simple stand to support the device and some cheap software, you could give it a second life providing a very important service.

Apps like Baby Monitor 3G costs just £5.49 and can turn any Android (or iOS) device into an effective baby monitor. Other apps are also available.

It also comes with the bonus of a built in speaker to play white noise for light sleepers.

Alarm clock

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Have you seen the price of intelligent alarm clocks lately? Ones that can play the radio, tell you the temperature or the weather? Your old phone or tablet could do that with ease.

Download an alarm clock app, connect your device to the mains, set it on a stand and you’re good to go. Stands cost as little as £3 on eBay or Amazon so the entire project could cost a fraction of what a smart alarm clock would cost.

Kitchen recipe library

Do you write recipes down only to lose or blot them by spilling something on them? Wouldn’t it be good to be able to follow a recipe video? That’s exactly what you could do with an old device.

Install a recipe app for Android or for iOS, set up YouTube or your favourite radio station and your old device could help turn you into a culinary powerhouse!

eBook reader

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Kindles aren’t exactly expensive but they are tied to the Amazon ecosystem. If you would prefer a little more independence in your reading, why not turn your old device into a dedicated eBook reader?

There are many free eBook reader apps out there and most of them will work on older devices. As long as the screen is still good and your old device can hold a decent level of charge (if not, external battery packs are a good solution), this could be a worthwhile use for it.

Digital photo frame

Turning an old tablet into a digital photo frame is a very popular way to reuse old devices. It requires minimal setup and all you need is a stand and a power cord.

Android devices can use Google Photos to provide a slideshow or a specific image. All the functions are there within the app. If you have an Apple device, you can use iCloud Photo Sharing to achieve the same thing.

Webcam for home surveillance

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Both Android and iOS have apps that can turn most devices into a security camera. You can view footage live over a network or record it for later use. Either way, if you want to keep an eye on your property, on the kids or your pets, your old tech could help.

You just need an app, a camera stand and power cable and you can be keeping your property safe in no time.

IP Webcam for Android and Alfred for iOS are useful for doing this very thing. Other apps are available of course.

Child-friendly tablet

If your child has grown out of their beginner gadget and is ready for something more, your old tablet might be the answer. You can lock it down using parental controls and install games or apps as you see fit.

As long as you take the time to check all settings for all apps and look for child-friendly alternatives like YouTube Kids, this could be an excellent way to recycle an old device.

Dedicated video chat device

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Video chat has become very much part of our lives over the past year or so and most of us have used a video app regularly. If your main phone doesn’t have the battery life to keep up, you could turn your old phone or tablet into a dedicate video chat unit.

You will likely have the apps already in place with Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and others. Just make sure there is sufficient WiFi signal, an available power source and you have everything you need to keep in touch with loved ones, share the news with friends or have meetings with customers.

Universal remote

Turning your old device into a universal remote is a very cool thing to do if you are constantly losing your main remotes. Most media streaming services will have apps you can use or there are dedicated universal remote apps you can install.

Android has dozens of apps to turn your old device into a universal remote. Macworld has an entire page dedicated to turning an old iPhone into a universal remote.

Dashcam and GPS

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Turning an old phone into a dashcam with built-in GPS turns it into two devices at once. Dashcams are increasingly being used in insurance claims and are a great way to provide evidence should it ever be required.

If your car doesn’t have navigation and you don’t want to use your phone, use your old one instead. Smart Dash Cam for iOS is a great option, as is Droid Dashcam for Android. Other apps are available.

Just remember, it’s good to pop the device in the glove compartment before you leave your car to keep it out of view for security purposes.

So there you have it, 10 innovative ways to get more use out of your old phone or tablet. While there are a couple of purchases involved, phone stands can be bought cheaply online and many apps have free versions as well as premium ones.

Even with a little investment, some of these options are genuinely useful and offer real value to your life!