Got further smartphones sitting round your workplace? How about tablets? As we transfer a number of generations into cellular know-how, increasingly more of us are build up collections of previous, dated gadgets from each our work and our private lives. And as a rule, these gadgets do little greater than take up area and collect mud.Here’s just a little secret, although: Your deserted Android devices are literally digital gold mines. You simply have to search out the best technique to faucet into their potential and provides them new life.So seize the closest DustBuster and prepare: Here are 20 methods to make your previous telephone or pill helpful once more.1. Use it as a wi-fi trackpad and controller on your pcWith the best software program and a pair minutes of configuration, your previous Android system can act as an on-demand controller on your Windows, Mac, or Linux pc.An app known as Unified Remote and a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection are all it is advisable to make the magic occur. The free model of the app provides you primary mouse and keyboard management together with specialised remotes for media playback and power-related instructions, whereas the total $5 model provides in program-specific remotes for presentation management together with different superior options. JR Raphael / IDG
Unified Remote gives primary mouse and keyboard management together with quite a lot of specialised remotes.
Grab whichever model you favor and obtain the server-side software program on your pc — then toss your previous system right into a desk drawer or pc bag and relaxation straightforward realizing it’s going to be prepared and ready the following time it is advisable to go wi-fi. 2. Turn it right into a distant pc terminalWant easy accessibility to your property pc from the workplace — or vice-versa? Your previous Android telephone or pill could be a splendid stationary display for retaining a distant system at arm’s attain.The newer model of Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop program does not assist Android, oddly sufficient, however a third-party app known as TeamViewer handily fills the void. To get began with it, obtain and set up the suitable app on your desktop pc. Windows, Mac, Linux, and ChromeOS are all supported. Once this system is in place, open it, and it’s best to see an entry code and password for distant sign-ins. All that is left is to put in the companion app in your Android system, faucet in those self same credentials — and inside a matter of seconds, you need to be observing your desktop pc out of your Android system’s display.You’ll discover instructions for superior types of interplay (together with locking or rebooting the distant system) in a toolbar on the backside of the display. You can pull up a digital keyboard by tapping the keyboard icon in that very same space, in the meantime, and if it is advisable to use the pc’s mouse, you may faucet as soon as to click on, faucet and maintain to right-click, double-tap to tug and drop, and drag with two fingers to scroll. You may also pinch to zoom on any specific space.TeamViewer is free for private use (so be sure you choose the “personal/non-commercial use” choice throughout this system’s preliminary setup, offered that classification is smart for you). If you are utilizing it in a industrial context, plans begin at $35 a month for a year-long enterprise license.3. Use it as a common sensible remoteEven the junkiest previous Android system has ample energy to function a wise distant on your dwelling or workplace. That could be a useful approach for you and anybody else round to regulate your varied sensible gadgets and multimedia elements without having any particular entry (or your individual present private telephone in hand). First, the straightforward half: Load up your previous telephone or pill with all of the related apps on your smart-device setup — issues like Nest, Hue, and the rest acceptable for controlling your property or workplace tech.Next, take into consideration including some instruments that’ll let the system deal with any audio and video programs in your space. There are a number of methods you can also make that work:
Pair the telephone or pill with certainly one of Google’s ultra-affordable Chromecast streaming sticks. You can then hold the previous Android system in your desk or espresso desk and use it as a hub for wirelessly casting content material — all the pieces from Netflix and YouTube to TED Talks, CNBC, and Google Slides — to your TV.
Use your system as a devoted distant on your dwelling or workplace leisure setup. If the system is operating an Android model from 2012 or later, you may give your self a ready-to-roll Google TV distant that’ll work with any suitable streaming merchandise by putting in after which signing into the official Google TV app. The Play Store additionally has a spread manufacturer-made apps for controlling particular elements, together with these by Comcast Xfinity, AT&T U-verse, and Roku.
Set up a full-fledged media server utilizing Plex, then use your previous system as a devoted distant to stream your individual native content material to a TV. (The Plex media server software program is free; a premium subscription with added options runs $5 per 30 days, $40 per 12 months, or $120 for a lifetime license.)
4. Let it energy scientific analysisHere’s one thing: Your clunky previous Android system might truly assist scientists seek for extraterrestrial life, detect earthquakes, or enhance most cancers remedies.It’s all a part of a sequence of applications that use your system’s computing energy to conduct scientific analysis. Some of the extra worthwhile choices:
Zooniverse connects your telephone or pill to quite a lot of analysis tasks starting from wild beluga whale identification to breast most cancers tumor mapping.
DreamLab is a undertaking helmed by Vodafone that sometimes goals to uncover perception into how most cancers pertains to a affected person’s DNA profile. That, in flip, might enable for the event of extra particular and efficient cancer-fighting medicine. More lately, the app has been targeted largely on analysis into potential remedies for COVID-19 as a part of a partnership with the Imperial College of London.
MyShake, from the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, makes use of your system’s sensors to detect and analyze earthquakes. If you reside in an space the place earthquakes happen, leaving your system plugged in and on a steady floor will present the scientists with beneficial real-time knowledge about any seismic exercise.
All of the apps work in primarily the identical approach: After downloading and putting in (and generally going by means of a quick setup or sign-in process), you merely plug your system in and switch its display off. As lengthy because it stays related to an lively Wi-Fi community, researchers will be capable of put its processing energy to make use of. JR Raphael / IDG
Apps like Zooniverse, left, and DreamLab, proper, can flip your previous Android pill or telephone right into a scientific analysis machine.
5. Transform it right into a free-standing safety cameraWho wants a fancy-schmancy related digicam while you’ve received an previous Android telephone sitting round? With the help of a third-party app, the digicam in your dated system can allow you to regulate your property, workplace, or top-secret crime lair from wherever — and even carry out superior capabilities like video recording and movement detection.Just obtain the free IP Webcam app or get the absolutely featured $5 professional model and observe its directions. Within moments, you’ll peek by means of your system’s lens from any suitable net browser and cackle with wonderful glee.6. Reframe it as a full-time videoconferencing stationSet up your previous Android system with the app on your video-chatting platform of alternative — Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, or regardless of the case could also be — then drop it right into a dock in your desk or convention room desk. Say “hocus pocus” for good measure, and ta-da: You’ve simply created a everlasting entry level for digital face-to-face communications.Just suppose: With sufficient previous telephones and tablets, you may create a complete house- or office-wide videoconferencing system. Sign every system into its personal distinctive account, with the identify of the room as its username, and seeing somebody throughout the constructing won’t ever be greater than a pair fast faucets away.7. Turn it right into a kitchen command centerHard to imagine, however my historical 2011 Motorola Xoom pill was one of the crucial used gadgets in my home till it lastly kicked the bucket some six years into its life. That’s as a result of I transformed it right into a multipurpose command middle for our kitchen — a task my 2012 Nexus 10 pill then took over for an additional couple years after that.So find out how to make a kitchen command middle of your individual? Easy: First, use a customized Android launcher like Action Launcher or Nova Launcher to simplify your previous pill’s dwelling display and add in some easy-to-perform gestures — like double-tapping wherever on the display to launch Android’s voice search perform for on-the-fly info-gathering and different hands-free instructions. If your system is a minimum of rather less historical than mine, it’s best to be capable of reap the benefits of hands-free voice activation and a a lot wider number of instructions with Google Assistant as a substitute.Second, populate the house display with the best apps for the aim. Netflix and different video-streaming providers will successfully flip your previous pill right into a cooking-time tv. Recipe apps may also be helpful, as can cloud-connected note-taking providers — like Google Keep, Evernote, or OneNote — for fast viewing of non-public recipes or enhancing of always-synced family-shared purchasing lists.8. Make it a data-based extension of your present telephone serviceIf you utilize Google Fi (previously generally known as Project Fi) on your present telephone’s wi-fi service, reap the benefits of a little-known bonus function: the power to get an additional SIM card that is related to your account and in a position to present knowledge on some other system — with none superfluous charges.All you have gotta do is order the cardboard from the Google Fi web site, pop it into an previous telephone (or a pill, in case you occur to have one with a SIM slot) — and bam: That system is immediately on-line and related. You’ll pay just for no matter cellular knowledge the system makes use of in any given month, on the similar flat price related together with your common Fi plan, so it is primarily simply an extension of your major telephone.That opens up loads of attention-grabbing potentialities: You might use your previous system as a ready-to-go backup telephone in case your common one is ever lacking, damaged, or low on battery; you can use it as a devoted hotspot to beam out cellular knowledge entry with out draining your major telephone’s battery; or you can use it as an always-connected on-the-go slate on your children (hey, airport video-streaming) with out having to pay for an additional line of service.9. Make it your dwell window into the worldDon’t have the best view out of your desk? Let your previous Android telephone or pill be your window to wild and thrilling locales.To get began, seize the EarthCam Webcams app from the Google Play Store. It’ll offer you one-touch entry to a formidable listing of dwell streaming cameras all over the world, from the hustle and bustle of New Orleans’ well-known Bourbon Street to the swooshing serenity of Niagara Falls. Pull up any view you want, then faucet the icon to go full-screen and gaze the day away. If you end up craving some selection, you may contemplate upgrading from the app’s free assortment to a set of 175 dwell cameras for a one-time $5 payment. JR Raphael / IDG
EarthCam permits you to gaze down Niagara Falls — or a slew of different webcams all over the world — for a break from the mundane.
You can discover fairly a number of mobile-friendly dwell cameras on the internet as effectively: Pull up your system’s browser and check out the San Diego Zoo’s assorted animal cams — together with a penguin cam, koala cam, and tiger cam, amongst different unique views — or the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s in depth underwater cams for much more “aww”-inducing choices.10. Convert it right into a digital photograph frameAh, reminiscences. Snag a reasonable stand, plug your system into its charger, and switch it right into a cloud-connected photograph body on your dwelling or workplace.If you utilize Google Photos, simply open up the app, faucet on any photograph in your foremost library or inside a selected album, after which faucet the three-dot menu icon within the upper-right nook of the display. Scroll horizontally alongside the menu that seems and choose “Slideshow.” The app will cycle by means of your photographs and offer you loads of reminiscences to mirror upon while enjoyable or taking good care of enterprise.If your previous Android telephone is a Pixel, you may also set it on certainly one of Google’s official Pixel Stands to start out an ever-evolving Photos-linked slideshow exhibiting any particular albums and even particular individuals you need.11. Use it as a devoted e-readerWant a distraction-free studying atmosphere on your subsequent enterprise journey or public transit commute? Load up your previous Android system with solely the apps you want for studying — Google Play Books, Amazon Kindle, Nook, or no matter tickles your text-ingesting fancy.You may even borrow books out of your native library: Check together with your nearest department for data on find out how to do it or obtain the free OverDrive app, which is utilized by quite a lot of libraries, faculties, and establishments.Be certain to disable notifications from Gmail and different noisy apps — heck, even change the system into airplane mode as soon as you have downloaded the content material you want — and you have got the equal of a devoted e-reader with out all the same old telephone or pill temptations.NEXT PAGE: Connect your previous system with calendars, automobiles, and money →