Fun Ways to Reuse an Old Smartphone

E-waste is a growing environmental and economic burden. Mobile phones contribute a whopping 10% to all global e-waste. Instead of adding to that when you upgrade your phone, consider giving it a new lease on life! Stewart from Freedom Mobiles shares some of the many ways you can repurpose your old phone and save it from the landfill.

The last decade can quickly be coined as the age of electronic media. Every year, we hear of some new invention to make human life more accessible and comfortable. Electronic technology is a field with undeniable potential, and for every latest innovation in the market, there’s always an even better competitor. 

With an ever-increasing consumer demand, companies continue to make new and advanced products every chance they get, while making it more difficult to service the older versions. Mobile phones, laptops, iPads, TV sets, and many other unique and innovative products keep getting introduced to the market. Over time, there is a never-ending cycle of one product getting updated into various newer versions, creating an unbreakable chain of irresponsible consumerism. 

It is high time that this massive issue is tackled. People should consider buying such products and gadgets more responsibly and look for ways to reduce as much of their carbon footprint as possible. Reusing or repairing old devices prevents them from ending up in landfills that are inevitably highly harmful to our planet. The more we keep our older devices with us, the fewer resources we would otherwise spend on recycling.   

Not only is reusing older devices beneficial to the environment, but a lesser-known benefit of gadgets is that they’re small computer screens with endless potential. This supercomputer in our pockets can continue to be useful even after updating to a newer model or brand. As long as your old phone connects to wifi, you can use it for a wide range of functions around the house. 

We’ve gathered some fun ways to reuse your old smartphone and reinvent its purpose in your lifestyle. Instead of selling your old mobile or letting it go to waste in a corner, why not make the best out of such gadgets in the first place? 

1. Play some tunes on a dedicated music player

With phones being a constant companion these days, you might see no need to have a dedicated music player. But by streamlining your old phone as your primary music device for your home or car, you can leave your current phone for more important things. Plus you don’t have to deal with the frustration of leaving your phone plugged in to charge or near any speakers when you want to keep it in hand. 

While additional audio equipment certainly enhances the experience, all you really need is an audio streaming app to get going. If you’ve downloaded the music files straight to your phone, then you don’t even need wifi to enjoy some funky tunes.

2. Read on the go with an e-reader

When it comes to environmental hazards resulting from human activity, turning your phone into an e-book reader kills two birds with one stone. Not only will you be saving the trees that go into making paper for books, but recycling your old phone for this purpose will help decrease the carbon footprint of e-waste.

You only have to download an e-book app of your choice, like Kindle, and sync your purchases and your library to the phone, and you’re good to go. You can download apps for comic books for children and even subscribe to your favorite magazines or blogs over one single device for the entire household. 

3. Protect yourself with a security camera

If you have an old phone lying around with a working camera, put it to use as a free security camera! All you need is an app to sync your camera to your other devices. Once the synchronization is complete, you simply need to place the camera in an ideal location. 

You can place the phone in a stand for mobile holding or use an old tripod to keep it in place. Once held connected to a power source, you can continue to use your phone as a secret security cam around the house. 

4. Preserve memories in a digital photo frame

If your phone is safe from a cracked screen and presentable enough to be put on display, then why not make it into your personalized photo frame? Even though there are applications for Android and Apple that allow for slideshow projections, most phones have this in-built function too. 

Once you sync your choice of photos to the cloud and onto the old phone, you can place the phone or even perhaps an old tablet or iPad on a coffee table to keep a digital slideshow of memories. Once positioned at a vantage point, they’ll create a more illusional aura, and you’ll have something around that doesn’t bore the eyes like a plain old photo frame. 

5. Make notes with a multi-purpose sound recorder

Many people forget that their phones have a mic to record their voices for various purposes besides making calls and recording videos. 

A student could use an old phone to record a lecture for themselves or perhaps use it for dictation purposes. Spirited debaters can register themselves by giving a speech to analyze their progress. The same goes for any work project or keeping a voice record of something you don’t want to forget later. 

Additionally, you could even record albums for yourself on a spare phone if you’re ambitious to keep track of your recordings. Podcasters are making good use of mobiles as recording devices for their shows, and using a spare phone is always better than using a current device for everything. 

Reap the benefits of repurposing devices

As soon as we see a new product on the market, we ditch the old one and jump to the next. Most people still don’t realize the negative impact such consumerism has on our planet. It is high time we look towards reusing and recycling old products to decrease waste of resources. 

Here are only a few of the many ways you can use an old phone or gadget. As you unleash your creative side, the possibilities will seem endless. These hacks not only save the environment but are also cost-effective to help you save money.


Stewart is the Managing Director at Freedom Mobiles — a comparison site of leading online mobile recyclers that helps customers get the best deal for their iPhones, iPads or other products.

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