Bring an old phone back to life with those fun ideas

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Bring an old phone back to life with those fun ideas
Do you have old smartphones lying around and collecting dust? Even if they're now running obsolete software, can't hold a battery charge, or have unsightly cracks and scratches, old smartphones are still full of potential and possibilities.

A fun way to bring an old phone back into your life in the form of something useful is via a quick DIY (do-it-yourself) project. Let's take a look at some ideas!

Fun ideas for reusing an old phone, a summarized list:


Turn your old phone into a portable gaming console



Android features an extensive library of both modern and classic games that can run even on older smartphones, and the same goes for iOS. For example, SEGA, the company behind Sonic The Hedgehog, has made a number of fantastic SEGA Genesis console games available on smartphones.

All you need is one of many Android or iOS-compatible Bluetooth controllers, ideally with a phone holder. Connect your old phone with it and voila - you get a Nintendo Switch experience on a budget! So long as your phone still has a working screen and Bluetooth support, it's likely capable of running at least the lighter 2D mobile games, such as the aforementioned SEGA Genesis ports. Note that not all mobile games have support for gamepads, however.

Buy a gamepad controller for Android smartphones on Amazon
Buy a gamepad controller for iPhone on Amazon

Use your old phone as a clock



Apps such as Huge Digital Clock can display the time in huge numbers and prevent the phone's display from turning off, just remember to first plug it into an outlet so it can't run out of battery. In addition to the time, you can have your old phone display the date, weather and alarms. To make it a better setup, placing the phone in a stand or any DIY casing that would hold it up could really add some flair to your nightstand.

Buy an adjustable aluminum phone stand on Amazon

Make any speakers wireless with an old phone



If you have a pair of conventional speakers that you love, but would much rather stream your music wirelessly to, instead of pluging them into your laptop each time you want to use them, there are ways to make those speakers wireless.

Using an app such as SoundWire, an old phone can become a wireless receiver for said speakers, just set it up and plug your speakers into the phone. It's a niche solution but some may find it extremely useful, especially if you move your laptop around everyday, and plugging speakers in and out each time is starting to feel like a major burden.

Turn an old phone into a security camera or baby monitor



If your old phone still has a working camera, it's likely good enough to stream a video feed. More specifically, it could make a good baby monitor or even a security camera.

For this setup, you'll need to install an app such as IP Webcam on the old phone, which would allow you to access its camera from anywhere on your other devices, such as your current phone. IP Webcam has motion detection support and can alert you when it does detect movement if you want it to. Remember to always keep the phone plugged into a nearby outlet so it doesn't run out of battery. Ideally, you'll also use an adjustable phone holder or tripod to position where the camera is pointed at, for example at your entrance door or garden.

Buy an adjustable phone tripod on Amazon

Use your old phone as a photo, video and file storage device



So long as your old phone has a decent amount of storage space, it can still be used to store your old photos, videos and other files. And unlike a USB stick, you can not only preview those files on its screen, but protect them with a pin or pattern, by simply using the default Android or iOS screen lock options. If you'd rather not store your personal files in the cloud, for example, you can easily use your old phone like an external hard drive.

Turn it into a child's first camera or entertainment device



Recently, I took an old smartphone, downloaded some fun children's games on it along with cartoons and children's books, installed Nova Launcher to make the home screen as plain and simple as possible, to only have icons for said games, books, cartoons, and the camera app, and gifted that phone to my 6 year-old nephew.

So long as the child you're doing this setup for hasn't used a smartphone before, they'd likely love a gift like this. For safety and simplicity, make sure to disable wifi and remove any confusing apps from the home screen that the child doesn't need. Parents can decide whether to allow access to YouTube Kids for example, or keep the child offline if they're too young for the internet.

Turn an old phone into a dedicated virtual reality (VR) headset



For this to work ideally, your old phone should still have a decent, high-resolution display, and a gyroscope. Though even without the latter, it can be used for still VR movie watching.

In any case, you'll need one of the many available Google Cardboard headsets, one that your old phone can fit into. Then simply download the Google Cardboard app and you can enjoy the basic VR experiences it offers. If your phone is too old to run Google Cardboard, you can try our picks for best VR apps which can play local videos on your phone, so long as you're willing to spend some time adding your favorite movies and shows to that phone first. Afterwards, you can comfortably enjoy your content on a plane flight, for example.

Buy a VR headset for your phone (screen size must be between 4 and 6.3 inches) on Amazon

Do you have any old phones lying around, and plan on reusing them? And do you have any fun additional ideas? Let us know how in the comments below!

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