Christmas is a hot time for getting new gadgets, but what should you do with your old phone or tablet? Rather than trashing them or leaving them to collect dust in the back of a drawer, here are seven things you can do with an old device:
1. Turn your old phone into a home surveillance system
A free app called Cameo let’s you turn your unused device into a free home video surveillance system. Use it for security, to watch your kids in the yard or while they sleep, or check on your pets.
The app streams to the web using home Wi-Fi so the old devices are turned into video cameras, but do not have to have current data plans or be activated. You could even just use your tablet that you leave at home while you’re at work.
From anywhere in the world, you can open the Camio app on your current phone and get a live real time look at your Camio video feeds. You can have multiple feeds allowing you to cover every angle of your house if you got enough unused Wi-Fi gadgets laying around.
2. Sell your phone for cash
If you’re in the market to sell an old phone, you may want to do some homework before handing it over to just any company with an appealing offer.
There are several online websites that will buy old phones. The companies will make an offer on your phone. If you accept they send a shipping label. Once they receive your phone you get paid.
The Federal Trade Commission has recorded hundreds of complaints that claim they pay top dollar, but then actually pay significantly less. Cash for iPhones, a popular phone trade-in site had over 900 complaints recorded by the Federal Trade Commission.
3. Donate your phone
Consider donating your old phone to a charity. Several organizations, like collect old phones, which they either resell or recycle.
The YWCA Knoxville collects old phones. You can just drop phones by their office located at 420 Clinch Avenue.
Several other organizations also accept donations:
- Cell Phones for Soldiers: Each phone donated buys one hour of talk time for soldiers
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – Helps fund domestic abuse programs for women
- HopeLine – Gives pre-paid phones with 3,000 minutes to domestic violence organizations which pass the phones out to victims or survivors to keep them connected to their families, law enforcement, their employers, medical care or children’s schools.
4. Turn your old phone into a remote control
There are a number of options for controlling a number of devices with your smartphone or tablet.
Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the LG G4 are equipped with IR blasters, the same technology used in television remotes to communicate with your tv. If your phone has an IR blaster, download a TV-remote app like AnyMote Smart Remote. It will allow you to control any device that receives IR signals like set-top boxes, DVD and Blu-ray players, stereo equipment and even some air conditioning systems.
Many smart TVs also have apps. Samsung Smart TVs are compatible with the Samsung TV Remote App, which allows your device to communicate with your tv over a home Wi-Fi network.
If your phone doesn’t have an IR blaster, you’re not out of luck. With devices like theBelkin Miracast Display Adapter, a kit from Logitech or Chromecast you can use compatible apps on your mobile device to cast videos, pictures and other content on your television.
5. Digital photo frame
Use your old phone, hooked up to a power supply to display your favorite photos. Just disable the screen dimming and lock features on the device. Then download an app like Dayframe for Android, which can update photos from a host of social networks, or Picmatic, which does the same thing on an Apple device.
If you don’t have the greatest view at your desk, you can even turn your old device into a window. Download the free EarthCamWebcams app. It will give you access to live streaming cameras around the world.
Looking for something closer to home? Just pull up our WATE 6 Storm Team weather cameras for views across East Tennessee. We have everything from Mt. Leconte to Fairfield Glade Golf Resort.
6. Make your phone kid friendly
If you have an Android phone or tablet check out Zoodles Kid Mode app. It has a custom kid-friendly interface with a selection of age-appropriate games and activities. I talso offers a Child Lock feature that keeps kids safely within the app. The app itself is free, though you do need a premium membership in order to use some of its features, such as a timer mode that automatically limits kids to a set amount of time with the device each day.
7. Recycle it
If you don’t think your old phone has much value and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of shipping it anywhere you can keep it out of the kitchen drawer by recycling it. All the main service providers and electronics retailers have programs where you can drop off cell phones, chargers, cables and accessories for no fee. Most stores will accept any kind of cell phone from any service provider.
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