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Life Hacks: 

5 great things to do with your old smartphone

Things to do with your old smartphone

Think twice before relegating your old device to the sock drawer

Upgraded your phone recently? Then there’s a decent chance you have hundreds of dollars worth of old smartphone languishing in your sock drawer. Remember the scene from Toy Story where Andy takes Woody to Pizza Planet and leaves all the other toys feeling sad and left behind? That’s how your old smartphone feels.

One option is to sell it on to a new owner who is less concerned about the latest tech. You and your smartphone have been through a lot, though, and there’s no reason it can’t be put to work elsewhere. Despite the rapid evolution of modern devices, even a five year-old phone is rigged with enough power to prove useful in everyday life. Here’s just five ways you can continue to make the most of it.

1) Make your home smarter

Old smartphones are not just expensive waste, they’re also toxic to the environment if thrown away. One company that care about this is MindHelix, whose Rico device wants to repurpose our old devices and make our homes smarter. Rico turns a spare smartphone into a data centre, tracking details like temperature and humidity while also acting as home security via the camera and motion sensor. Currently subject to a Kickstarter campaign, Rico needs another $13,000 at the time of writing to reach its target.

If it doesn’t make it, or you’d rather cough up for the $100 price tag, there are other ways your outdated device can beef up your home security. Apps like IP Cam Viewer, for instance, can keep an eye on your belongings while you’re out and about.

2) Create a handheld games console

Why fork out for a handheld games console when there’s a smartphone sitting idle at the bottom of your cupboard? Don’t forget, iTunes and Google Play currently hold over 1 million apps – from simple addictive puzzles to mini versions of the latest console games. Fancy revisiting something older? Take a look these 10 classic PC games with accompanying apps.

3) Contribute scientific research

Time for a more leftfield option. BOINC is an Android app that uses your spare smartphone to conduct scientific research. No, really.

Harnessing the computer power of your unused device, BOINC is able to work on a wide range of different projects – from studying diseases right through to forecasting the impacts of global warming. Once downloaded, BOINC will request data from a central serval and work quietly in the background with no extra effort required.

4) Create a digital photo frame

old smartphone dayframe

Dayframe is a free digital photo frame to bring a dormant smartphone to life

Best suited to phablets and tablets, Dayframe is a way of injecting some life into your living spaces with a little help from your friends. Pulling in content from Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr and more, the app supplies you with a rolling feed of photos while your device connects to a screen or rests on a stand.

5) Use for satellite navigation

Your old smartphone used to be vital for finding your way around, so why not let that continue by keeping it in the car for satellite navigation. You can either use Apple or Google Maps, or alternatively pay for one of the more professional options from the likes of TomTom and Garmin. Another option for safer directions is Hudway, which reflects your journey right on to the windscreen so you can keep your eyes fixed firmly on the road.

Photo: Oleksiy Mark /

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