9 Cool Uses for Those Old Smartphones You Have Laying around Your Home

From recycling your smartphone to using it as a research device, there are a lot of ways that you can use your old phone.
Donovan Alexander

Though you might not think of it, your smartphone is a mini-computer in your pocket.

Aside from reading Area 51 memes, your current smartphone has more computing power than the computer used to place the first men on the moon. There are a lot of cool uses for your phone and even after it has lost its appeal upon the arrival of the next generation of phones. 

However, this begs the question, what do you do with your old phone? You could place it in a drawer never to be seen again, sell it or give it away.

The proper disposal and recycling of smartphones is a big problem. According to the EPA, approximately 350,000 mobile phones were disposed of each day back in 2010, totaling a whopping 152 million phones thrown away that year. 


Even more so, there are a lot of mobile phones on our planet, and we mean a lot. If mobile phones were to become sentient and take over the planet, they would easily outnumber. According to a report by the International Business Times, there are more than 7.2 billion phones on our planet, while there are less than 7.2 billion people around.

The good news is that even if you have an old phone lying around, there are a great host of things you can do with your old phone before you throw it out and give it a second life. Let's check out a few ideas of what to do with that old phone you have laying around out at home. 

Your Designated Alarm Clock 

Sure, yes you can use your brand new phone as an alarm clock but why not have a designated phone specifically to use as your alarm clock, keeping your newest and primary phone far away. Even cooler: there are a host of apps that are specifically designed to help you get better sleep, track your sleep patterns, and even play white noise in the background. It can become the ultimate alarm clock. 

Universal Smart Remote 

Your home is getting smarter, and the age of the smart home is already here. Why not have one universal remote to control everything from your smart lights to the smart oven? Simply download all the needed apps to control your smart device, i.e., Nest or Hue, and simply keep your phone on hand when you need to set up everything just right. 

Make a Little Cash 

Now let’s get the most obvious out of the way. Yes, selling your phone is probably one of the most viable options, especially if you have an iPhone. Smartphones are known to retain their value. Even more so, a lot of companies, including Apple, have buy-back programs that give you cold hard cash, or credits that you can use towards a new phone or some of your other favorite electronics. 

Home Security System

9 Cool Uses for Those Old Smartphones You Have Laying around Your Home

Modern home security systems utilize smart devices, including your smartphone. However, there are apps out there like Presence, that take your old phone and its camera and turns it into the ultimate security camera. Using another smart device, you can simply call into your new security system anytime to make sure all is good on the homefront. 

You can also even simply use Skype by setting it up on an old laptop, then to automatically accept incoming video calls. No overly complicated software needed. Fix It: Why You Should Repair Your Broken Smartphones [infographic]


The Ultimate Baby Monitor

Some mothers already do this, but why not take your old phone and make it official. Rather than buy a pair of brand new baby monitors, which can get a bit pricey, use one of the apps available that can turn your phone into an effective monitoring tool for your little one. Simply connect the device with Wi-Fi and use the apps or simple Wi-Fi calls to get the job done. Try the Dormi app if you are interested. 

Your Next Mini E-reader

Reading books can now be done digitally. Why not download your favorite collections of books on your old device and save them for your next trip. There are some great apps out there that have a great collection of books readily available. 

A Wireless Trackpad for Your Computer

If you have an Android phone, there is a creative way to keep your old phone alive. All you need is the app, Unified Remote, and a Wi-Fi connection as well as a few minutes of tinkering. The app gives you and your Android phone basic mouse and keyboard control as well as turn it into a remote for media playback and power-related commands for your computer.

Power Your Scientific Research

Speaking of Android devices: your Android device could be used to help scientists search for extraterrestrial life, detect earthquakes, or improve cancer treatments. Programs like HTC 'Power to Give' connect your phone or tablet to a UC Berkeley effort known as BOINC. This provides research in a variety of areas, including physics, biomedicine, and astronomy.

Donate or Properly Recycle Your Device

You can donate your device or sell your phone to lots of great organizations out there. In the United States, Cell Phones for Soldiers will put your phone in the hands of troops who want to call home to their families, while Second Wave Recycling refurbishes your device or safely and environmentally recycles your phone. You can even donate your phone in the name of lemur research, and who doesn't love cute little lemurs.