Upgrade ? Here’s what you can do with an old mobile device.
Upgrading your smartphone or tablet will leave you with a decision: what to do with your old device?
Trade-in, donation, or recycling of retired equipment are all popular options, as is passing a working phone to a family member who shares your wireless carrier account. But there are countless other ways you can get more productive use of obsolete hardware without investing a lot of money.
Here are some ideas for getting the most out of your downgraded device.
Build a multimedia machine
Need an extra TV in the kitchen or home office? If you subscribe to a TV provider or streaming service, your old phone or tablet may upgrade. Simply download the app from your TV provider (like Spectrum cable Where Verizon Fios) or your separate department (Amazon Prime Video, Disney +, Fubo.tv, Netflix or other) and log into your account. Place the device near an outlet so that it can run on electricity while you watch, as there’s a good chance the old device has a dead battery.
Likewise, parking your old phone in a speaker cradle that also charges gives you a library sound system for music and podcasts. Or you can keep the phone connected to its charger and stream music to a nearby wireless bluetooth speaker. Powered speaker docking stations can be found online starting at around $ 40, and a wide variety is available. Wirecutter, the New York Times-owned product review and test site, has suggestions for Bluetooth speakers, general audio equipment, and those shopping on a budget.
And while they have to stay attached to a charger, old tablets also make good dedicated e-book readers or digital photo frames for photo slideshows.
Control your world
Smart home appliances, music libraries, internet-connected TVs – so much can be controlled by apps these days, so why not convert your old phone or tablet into an all-purpose universal remote? Third-party remote applications abound, but many tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Google, LG Electronics, Roku and Samsung, to name a few) have their own programs. Just wander around your app store to find software that matches your hardware.
And even if you haven’t lost the small remote that came with your set-top streamer yet, the onscreen keyboard included with most apps makes it easy to enter passwords. (Apple, which previously had a stand-alone Remote app, has integrated the Apple TV remote control software into the operating system in iOS 12, but still has a ITunes remote app for iPhone / iPad users to control their iTunes music collections stored on Mac and Pc.)
Launch your game
Depending on the condition of the processor and battery, dedicating your old device to the pursuit of gaming is another way to give it extra battery life. Clearing all old data to start over gives you more space to download and store new games.
Playing old games on old phones can have a nostalgic appeal, and you can find many classics converted for mobile gaming in app stores. And you’re not limited to standalone games. Subscription services like Apple Arcade and that of Google Stadiums can work on many mobile devices, and you can stream your games (and other videos) to the big screen if you use the Google Chromecast play mode or AirPlay technology that Apple devices use to share screen on Apple TV.
If tapping a touchscreen has never been your serious gaming idea, consider smashing your old phone into a special controller that brings physical buttons, the standard D-Pad, and gamepads to the gaming experience. Razer kishi ($ 80 to $ 100) or backbone one ($ 100) are among the options.
Entertain and educate
If you’ve decided that your kid can handle a used phone or tablet for games and educational apps, take a moment to do a little setup to protect both of you. Visit the settings area and erase your personal information first.
Next, create an account for the child and configure parental controls for screen time, app purchases, and internet access; operating systems for Amazon, Android, Apple and Samsung all include similar parental control settings.
If the phone still has a working camera (and can still hold a charge for about an hour), you can use it to teach photography basics as well. Loading the child’s App Store account with a prepaid App Store gift card can give them money management skills. And if the old battery of the device drains after an hour, you can teach time management.