9 Ways To Repurpose an Old Cell Phone or Tablet

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Many of us have old cell phones and tablets that we’re no longer using. Technology changes so rapidly that we replace our devices often.

If you have an old cell phone lying around, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do with it.

Give New Life to an Old Cell Phone or Tablet

Let’s talk about how we can use some of these old items and give them second lives.

Kitchen Helper

First, find a convenient place to secure the phone or tablet. You can buy an inexpensive mount to hold the device. It can be something simple that sits on the counter or table or something that you hang up. See some ideas here on Amazon.

Then you can use it to look up recipes and other information and watch cooking videos. You might also want to download a shopping list app and add items to your grocery list throughout the week. Some of the apps can be shared between family members so that everyone can view and edit the list. Then pull up the list on your main phone that you carry with you when you go to the store.

Universal Remote

There are many apps in the Google Play Store and the Apple Store that you can use to turn your tablet or phone into a remote control for your TV or computer. One app is called Unified Remote (available for Android and iOS). The company describes it as “The one-and-only remote-control app for your computer. Turns your device into a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth universal remote control for Windows PC, Mac and Linux.”

Setup a Pet Cam, Baby Cam or Security Cam

Need to monitor your pets at home while you are away? How about setting up a camera in the children’s room or nursery? Or perhaps setting up a security camera to capture the activity at your entry doors? There are a lot of apps that can do this. One is called Alfred Home Security.

The app is free, but there is a paid version that will give you more options. You need two devices for this to work. You can use your current phone or tablet as one device and the old tablet or phone as the second.

Play Games, Watch TV or Videos or Listen to Music

You can use the tablet or phone to play games or as a dedicated video or music player. There are tons of free music apps available, videos and TV shows to watch, and you can play games online or download game apps.

One nice thing about having an old device dedicated to this purpose is that it is separate from your main device. So if one of the games causes an issue (which they are known to do), you’re not potentially breaking your current phone or tablet. If a game or app causes a major issue on the spare, you can just restore it to factory settings.


Read E-books or Listen to Audiobooks

Using an old tablet as an e-book reader or listening to audiobooks is a great way to read and listen to books for free.

If you have a library card you can use OverDrive or the Libby app to borrow the content you want from your library. Just like borrowing a regular book from the library, the OverDrive and Libby apps allow you to reserve and borrow e-books and audiobooks and then simply return them when finished. And most libraries now offer online library card sign-up, so you can also apply for a card at libraries across the country. If one library does not have the book you want, another may.

Several websites offer free audio and e-books as well. A few of my favorites are LibriVox, Project Gutenberg and Loyal Books. Find even more here.

Use To Help You Sleep or Meditate

You can use an old tablet or phone as an alarm clock or white noise machine. You might also like to install a meditation app to help you relax at bedtime. There are tons of free apps available; just search the Apple or Google Play store.

Display Photos

Set up a digital photo viewer. Show visitors family pictures without passing around your main phone. You can set it up so that the photos scroll continuously in a loop. (This works best on tablets since they have a larger screen.) Use it during graduation parties, birthday parties, anniversaries or other special occasions to show off your photos. Storing your photos on an additional device also serves as a backup for your treasured pictures.

Video Conferencing Hub

More and more people are using video conferencing as a form of communication whether working from home or communicating with family and friends. Set up a station in your home where everyone can go to connect.

Remote Learning

An older tablet can be used for schoolwork, accessing assignments and communicating with teachers and classmates.

Final Thought

These are just a few ideas on how to repurpose your old phone or tablet. If you don’t want to repurpose those devices you can donate them to charity or sell them.