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Friday, December 12, 2014

1527.Repurposing an Old Smartphone

Repurposing an Old Smartphone

I finally upgraded my 3-year-old iPhone and got a new phone recently. I don’t think my old phone has much resale value. Can you think of something useful I can do with the phone rather than leave it lying in a drawer somewhere?
Absolutely! Remember, your 3-year-old iPhone is basically a powerful, handheld computing device. It may not be as speedy as a new phone, and it may have a few scratches, but that doesn’t keep it from being useful in many other capacities besides being your primary phone.
The fact is, besides the fact that you won’t be paying for cellular service on the phone, it still works fine anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. And if you think about it, if you have a good Wi-Fi connection, you really don’t need a cellular connection for anything at all, making your old phone just as useful as a new one. Because of services like Google Voice/Hangouts and Skype (among many others), you can make voice calls using Wi-Fi, calling anyone who has a phone number. If you live or work in an environment in which you constantly have Wi-Fi available, your old phone without cellular service makes a nice voice phone, as well.
But you just bought a new cellular phone, and perhaps don’t really care about using your old phone to make phone calls, we’re guessing. In that case, you can still use your old phone for any activity that doesn’t require a connection, or that can work with a Wi-Fi connection only. For example, Ken uses his iPhone 3GS as a wireless remote control for his Sonos sound system. You can use the phone as a remote control for your home entertainment system and your home as well, using the Harmony Remote ( You can turn any iOS device into a home monitoring system using the Manything software ( Doug found a cool app that turns your old phone into a heads-up device for your car, replacing an expensive heads-up display for navigation ( The technology is cool, but it’s a little difficult to use without a cellular connection (but it does work without cellular—you must download your maps before you leave the Wi-Fi connection, however).

And don’t forget the obvious: your old smartphone is still a great music device. Hook it up to any home entertainment system, and it can provide music stored on the phone, or from any online music service. 

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