Five Surprising Uses for Old Phones

BreakingModern — So you got a new cell phone. Congrats! Have fun setting up your new phone and learning about all the great things it can do, but don’t just throw that old phone in a drawer. Even a bruised or battered phone may be more useful than you think. Here’s five tips for things you can do with old phones.

Turn it into a Security Camera

While it won’t function as a whole-house security camera, you can set up your old phone to watch any specific area of your home or office. Just download and install a simple app and follow its instructions. Although there are plenty to choose from, some of my favorite Android apps are free. They are: IP Webcam, Salient Eye and Security IP-Cam CCTV WardenCam, which also has an Apple iOS version.

Old phones

Set your cell phone up where its camera will have a clear view of what you want to watch. These apps vary slightly in their capabilities, but they all use the camera to sense motion and start capturing photos or videos of the activity. They can send you an alert and, if you like, can trigger an audible alarm at the site. You can use your current cell phone to see exactly what’s going on in the monitored location. Most apps of this kind have premium versions with additional features.

A First Class Music Center

You can use your old phone as a first class music center. Just set it up to play Pandora or your playlists and connect with one of the new portable Bluetooth speakers. If your phone, speakers or radio doesn’t have Bluetooth, that’s okay, you can usually use a cable to hook up the two devices.

There are several advantages to using an old device for this task, rather than a cell phone that you are currently using. First, the entire family can listen to music even if you’re not at home. Second, it won’t wear down the battery in your current phone or tablet. In fact, if your old phone has a worn-down battery just keep it plugged in — most of the time it will still function perfectly and will stream without interruption.

A Dedicated Music Player for your Car

Similar to the strategy employed above, you can save the battery on your current phone and make your old device play music while you’re on the road. Just move your music to your old phone. You can play the audio through the phone itself, throughBluetooth or with a cable to your car.

A Useful Alarm Clock

Throw your old phone in a dock or prop it up on your desk or nightstand. Then add an app like the Timely Alarm Clock or iHandy Alarm Clock (both free) to provide a cool-looking customizable dedicated clock. Having a dedicated alarm is a good idea, or even a back-up in case your current phone dies while you sleep.

Old phones

A Savior in an Emergency

Old cell phones can still make calls to 911, even if they don’t have regular cellular service. All you have to do is to keep it charged up, and you and your family can use it in an emergency. Better than throwing it in the trash, anyway.

For BMod, I’m .

All screenshots: Sandy Berger

Featured image credit: Phone art“ by Hades2k via Flickr Creative Commons

Sandy Berger

Author: Sandy Berger

Based in Pinehurst, North Carolina, Sandy Berger is a veteran tech journalist and reviews editor at covering tech tips and tricks, apps, gadgets, and consumer electronics. Follow @sandyberger on Twitter, +SandyBerger on Google+, and on Facebook.

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