What to do with an old smartphone?

What to do with an old smartphone ? Progress does not stand still. Modern technologies are developing at an incredible speed. This is especially true of the means of communication offered on the world market.

Just some twenty years ago, the simplest mobile dialer with a black and white screen was the ultimate dream of an ordinary person. And today’s technology market offers us a huge selection of manufacturers who every year present new models of their smartphones. And after all, what is there in these devices: huge amounts of memory, cameras with excellent shooting quality, super powerful and fast processors, the thinnest cases, screens with such vibrant color reproduction that it seems more real than the whole world around us … Absolutely every consumer will be able to to choose the device that satisfies even the most captious requests as much as possible.

Due to the active development of this industry, a situation often arises that many of us have a couple of outdated models of smartphones or even an iPhone in our closets. Once upon a time, these phones were also new and considered cool, but they have been supplanted by more modern models. What to do with equipment that is still usable, but morally already very outdated?

In our today’s article, we will figure out how to use a seemingly unnecessary smartphone. We will also find out whether it is possible to “overclock” an outdated device. And we will also find out what option regarding non-working gadgets was proposed by the CEO of Xiaomi. 

Options for using legacy smartphones

Quite expected and logical solutions have become the most common use cases for gadgets that have become “old”. Many in such devices install a SIM card for calling on work or personal issues. And you can also download toys for a small child on your phone. If the device provides for the presence of an infrared port, then it is quite realistic to use it as a remote control that can control a smart home.

It would seem that all logical options for the further operation of gadgets that have been replaced by more modern models have been exhausted. But we have good news for you! As practice shows, your old device, gathering dust in the closet, is much more multifunctional than you think.

smartphones in hand

Let’s deal with this issue in more detail. Now we will learn about seven ways to use outdated smartphones. 

Control the time 

Not everyone comes up with the idea that a seemingly unnecessary smartphone can be used as a watch. Even old models have many useful features that can help us in everyday life. Set your phone in a beautiful stand on your bedside table, connect to the network and use it as an alarm clock. Stopwatch and timer can be used while cooking or exercising. And on the gadget, you can set reminders of important dates and events. In the modern world, when everything is on the run, and many unrecorded moments can be forgotten, this feature will be very useful. 

Extend your Wi-Fi coverage 


Most Android smartphones support Wi-Fi range extension. They perform the function of a repeater and thereby expand the coverage area of ​​the wireless network. In the list of technical characteristics of devices, this is often not indicated and is not presented to the consumer through marketing moves. But there is such a function, and it is worth noting that it is very useful.

Xiaomi, for example, distributes Wi-fi using the “tethering” mode. As it turned out, in order to do this, you do not need to purchase an additional module. Thanks to this function, you can expand, for example, the wireless coverage area in your home. Often situations arise that a stationary router does not “reach out” to certain corners in the home. And at such moments, an old smartphone comes to our aid, which must be installed at the border of the coverage area and thereby increase it by a couple of meters. 

Of course, for permanent use, this option is not very convenient. It would still be more rational to purchase a more powerful stationary repeater and use the Internet without hesitation. But for example, while on a trip and staying at a hotel, you can easily use this trick. The most important thing is not to forget to take your old, but such a useful gadget with you. 

Distribute mobile internet 

Everyone knows that wireless modems distribute mobile Internet over a Wi-fi network. For their high-quality and uninterrupted operation, it is necessary to maintain a certain speed. 100 MB. per second will be enough for this purpose. Even an “old” smartphone can cope with such a task without any problems.

The most important thing is that it supports LTE. 

For this purpose, it is very rational to have a separate device. It can be left on a permanent basis on recharging, respectively, the modem will work around the clock. And, unlike the main used smartphone, you will not take this phone anywhere, which means that there will be no interruptions in the speed supply.

You can also use such a device to distribute the Internet in your office. True, for this you will have to purchase a separate SIM card with sufficient traffic or with unlimited. In this case, you can divide the payment for communication services in equal shares among all connected employees. 

When traveling, an additional smartphone will also be quite useful. For example, you went abroad. By purchasing a local SIM card, you simply install it in less modern equipment and you will use the Internet in the volumes you need. And the main phone at this time will remain free for personal and work purposes.

Use as a DVR in your car 

smart phone as video recorder

Five-year-old technology already had decent video cameras. Over time, it is unlikely that they have fallen into disrepair. Accordingly, forgotten gadgets can still serve their owner. 

Here, for example, is one of the most useful options that car owners should definitely pay attention to: use an old phone as a DVR. DVRs offered on the world market with good shooting quality and a user-friendly interface are very expensive. The option we offer will be a great alternative that will allow you to save a decent amount. Thanks to your old phone, you can record everything that happens in front of your car, and this, in some situations, can be very useful.

Absolutely any smartphone has a sufficient amount of software necessary for video recording of what is happening around while driving. Using special applications, you can not only record videos. Almost all programs for DVRs have multi-component advanced functionality. The most compatible apps for Android are: AutoBoy Dash Cam and Roadly. iPhone owners prefer programs: Smart Driver and CamOnRoad. 

Do not forget to pick up a compact, convenient and reliable holder for the gadget. This will allow you to install and secure the re-used equipment in the most convenient place on the windshield of the vehicle.

Turn your gadget into an IP camera for your home or office

phone as a camera

If a phone that has become unnecessary can perform the function of a car DVR, then why not retrain it, for example, into an IP camera? It should be noted that every year the demand for such equipment is growing. Someone wants to remotely control the work of their subordinates, some observe the process of repairing the apartment by a hired specialized team, and some use the camera as a video baby monitor so as not to run every ten minutes to check if everything is fine with the baby. In general, there are a lot of applications for such a camera. 

As in the case of converting from a phone to a car DVR, to “reborn” a gadget into an IP camera, you will also need to install a special application. On the iPhone, you will need to download Manything, AtHome Camera, WardenCam, AtHome Video Streamer, TrackView or Alfred. Apps suitable for Android phones include Manything, WardenCam360, Alfred, AtHome Camera and AtHome Video Streamer. Also, do not forget about purchasing a special stand for the device, which will allow you to securely install it in any suitable place in the room you are viewing.

Turn an outdated smartphone into a music player 

smart phone as music player

Smartphones that have become unnecessary do an excellent job of playing the role of a music player. Outdated gadgets, unlike new ones, have a built-in 3.5 mm audio jack. Through it, you can connect headphones, speakers, music system in the car and much more! And this player is perfect for use in the gym. You will listen to your favorite tracks without being distracted by incoming messages, calls, notifications and reminders. Yes, and if the gadget lands on the floor with a screen, it will not be as insulting as it would be if its more modern and actively used colleague fell. 

This use case is especially interesting for motorists. Not everyone has a vehicle that supports Android Auto (for Android smartphones) or CarPlay (for iPhone owners). Also, not every car is equipped with a multifunctional head system with a variety of multimedia features, navigation and other bells and whistles included in it. And it is precisely at such moments that a seemingly unnecessary, old smartphone can help us.

With the included 3.5mm jack. we will be able to connect to AUX and listen to our favorite music.

And the device will receive notifications from map services. In general, the performance of many different functions can be taken over by a gadget that was planned to be sent to a distant box. A smartphone that is in active use will be free to make calls, view social networks and communicate.

Charge other devices 

Gadgets that have become unnecessary (mostly based on the Android OS) do a pretty good job as portable batteries for other devices. Particularly convenient in this regard are devices with a USB-C port. In order to recharge any other equipment, you will only need a cord with suitable connectors. 

Are there ways to overclock older smartphones?

outdated smartphones

Unfortunately, obsolete gadgets, unlike computers, cannot be “reanimated” by replacing components. The life expectancy of such equipment is negatively affected by the lack of updates, which, as it were, “overclock” and expand the functionality of the device. It also affects the fact that the operating systems used are too versatile and cannot take into account the features of more modern devices compatible with the gadget. Thus, it turns out that after a couple of years the smartphone becomes irrelevant, after another year it is replaced with a more modern device, and in the fifth year of life, in most cases, no one will remember it. 

This reality is especially unpleasant for owners of flagship equipment. After all, if more budget analogues can be “reborn” as an alarm clock, camera or player, then for a phone that was bought at a higher cost, and sometimes in installments, it will be very, very disappointing. As a result, whatever one may say, both the fancy gadget and its budgetary counterpart will be scrapped. 

Creative solution: how to use an outdated smartphone?

smartphone in a frame

Lei Jun is the CEO of the world famous technology manufacturer Xiaomi. Not so long ago, on a page in one of his social networks, he told the world the story of a boy who used the very first Redmi smartphone model. Released in 2013, the device, it would seem, is no longer suitable for anything, but a nine-year-old boy found a use for it. 

The child dismantled the ancient gadget for details. On a pre-prepared white stand, he laid them out in an interesting order for him and glued each one with strong glue. When the glue was dry, the boy installed glass on top of the composition and inserted the entire structure into a frame. Lei Jun couldn’t help but notice this child’s creative and meticulous work. He suggested to all other owners of obsolete gadgets not to store them in a dusty box, not to scrap them, but to start creating works of art. In addition, according to the CEO, the process of detailed analysis of the smartphone will allow users to find out what this type of gadget looks like from the inside, and thus the principle of their work will become more clear. 

Based on all this, if you dig a little deeper, it becomes clear that the “ancient” devices, except for works of art, are no longer applicable anywhere. Or you can act like not the most creative person and hand over the “dead” equipment to the scrap.

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