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    25 great uses for an old Android device

    That opens up loads of attention-grabbing prospects: You may use your outdated machine as a ready-to-go backup cellphone in case your common one is ever lacking, damaged, or low on battery; you possibly can use it as a devoted hotspot to beam out cellular information entry with out draining your major cellphone’s battery; or you possibly can use it as an always-connected on-the-go slate in your children (hey, airport video-streaming) with out having to pay for an additional line of service.

    13. Make it your reside window into the world

    Don’t have the best view out of your desk? Let your outdated Android cellphone or pill be your window to wild and thrilling locales.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 record of reside streaming cameras world wide, 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 possibly can take into account upgrading from the app’s free assortment to a set of 175 reside cameras for a one-time $5 charge.

    EarthCam enables you to gaze down Niagara Falls — or a slew of different webcams world wide — for a break from the mundane.JR Raphael / IDG

    You can discover fairly a number of mobile-friendly reside cameras on the net as nicely: Pull up your machine’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 intensive underwater cams for much more “aww”-inducing choices.

    14. Convert it right into a digital photograph body

    Ah, recollections. Snag a reasonable stand, plug your machine into its charger, and switch it right into a cloud-connected photograph body in your house or workplace.

    If you utilize Google Photos, simply open up the app, faucet on any photograph in your primary library or inside a particular 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 images and offer you loads of recollections to mirror upon while enjoyable or taking good care of enterprise.

    If your outdated Android cellphone is a Pixel, you too can set it on considered one of Google’s official Pixel Stands to start out an ever-evolving Photos-linked slideshow displaying any particular albums and even particular individuals you need.

    15. Use it as a devoted e-reader

    Want a distraction-free studying setting in your subsequent enterprise journey or public transit commute? Load up your outdated Android machine 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 methods to do it or obtain the free OverDrive app, which is utilized by a wide range of libraries, colleges, and establishments.

    Be certain to disable notifications from Gmail and different noisy apps — heck, even change the machine into airplane mode when you’ve downloaded the content material you want — and also you’ve acquired the equal of a devoted e-reader with out all the standard cellphone or pill temptations.

    16. Transform it right into a devoted desk calendar

    Dock your outdated machine in your desk and put it to work as your private calendar. Google’s personal Calendar app can get the job finished with loads of productivity-oriented parts, or the free DigiCal Calendar Agenda app will provide you with an much more graphical and customizable interface that’s completely fitted to this goal.

    The DigiCal app seems to be particularly sharp in its panorama (horizontal) orientation.
    JR Raphael/IDG

    DigiCal is free with an optionally available $5.50 improve for additional themes and customization choices.

    17. Treat your self to a devoted audio participant

    The concept of an iPod could appear amusingly antiquated at this level, however there’s one thing to the concept of getting a devoted machine for the particular goal of taking part in podcasts, music, and even just a few method of white noise.

    By outsourcing that activity to an outdated Android machine, you possibly can grant your self the liberty to depart your present cellphone behind while you’re figuring out, doing one thing outdoors, and even simply taking a break from enterprise on the weekend — and eradicate the temptation to maintain checking your inbox or taking a look at different work-related distractions.

    You also can give your self an effective way to take heed to audio whereas touring with out having to put on down your major machine battery throughout an extended day of flights.

    18. Make it a mounted command heart for a non-connected automotive

    Save your self the trouble of futzing round together with your present cellphone in your automotive by turning your outdated machine into an always-available command heart for a automotive that doesn’t have its personal built-in equal.

    Just discover a first rate automotive dock and mount the machine someplace secure. Be certain to plug it into your automotive’s energy port and join it to the stereo (through Bluetooth or a 3.5mm headphone jack). Then, both use your major cellphone as a hotspot to maintain it on-line or go the economical route and obtain any mandatory music and instructions earlier than you hit the street, when you’re nonetheless related to Wi-Fi.

    All that’s left is to open up the Google Maps app and begin a navigation — or say Hey Google, driving mode, if the machine is current sufficient to characteristic Google Assistant — and also you’ll be transferring full-speed forward with a simplified interface and ready-to-roll voice instructions.

    19. Turn it right into a kid-friendly studying software

    Your outdated pill could appear drained to you, but it surely’s nonetheless top-notch tech by toddler requirements — so why not flip it right into a enjoyable and academic gadget in your child?

    On most moderately current tablets, you will discover a local Restricted Profile characteristic proper inside the working system: Just head into the system settings, faucet “Users” (or “Users & accounts” after which “Users,” relying in your OS model), after which “Add user or profile.”

    Select the choice so as to add a restricted profile. You’ll be prompted to allow or disable entry to every app put in on the pill, permitting you to regulate precisely what processes your progeny will and gained’t be capable to use.

    If your outdated machine has Android 7.0 or larger (or Android 5.0, on a restricted variety of fashions), Google’s Family Link program can provide you much more sturdy controls — together with the talents to set screen-time limits and obtain weekly exercise studies. You can study extra and enroll on the Family Link web site.

    20. Let it function a high-tech e-clock

    Time for one thing new? An outdated cellphone with a dock could make a snazzy customizable clock in your desk or nightstand. Google’s personal Clock app is a good place to start out, particularly if you wish to use the clock for alarms. Look for the “Screensaver” choice within the Display part of your system settings to make it mechanically activate anytime your machine is plugged in.

    21. Convert it right into a gaming machine in your downtime

    Put down the briefcase and summon your internal Pac-Man: Silly as it might appear, your outdated Android machine is a mini-arcade simply ready to be referred to as into motion. (Hey, all of us want the occasional break from working, proper?)

    To full your machine’s Game-Boy-like transformation, simply surf the Play Store for some video games — you possibly can even discover emulators for console-level techniques, if (ahem) you recognize the place to look — after which stage up by grabbing considered one of Moga’s common Android sport controllers, out there for $56 and up.

    22. Keep it useful for emergencies

    Any mobile phone could make emergency calls, even when it’s not related to energetic service. Keep an outdated cellphone charged and in your automotive or journey bag; if one thing unhealthy occurs and your energetic cellphone is both lifeless or unavailable, you’ll nonetheless have a method to get by means of to 911.

    23. Turn it into your private testing floor

    Android is a tinkerer’s dream. It usually doesn’t take an excessive amount of sorcery to root, or acquire system-level entry to, an Android machine — and when you’ve finished that, you open up a complete new world of prospects. You can set up highly effective root-only functions and even exchange your machine’s complete working system with a customized ROM filled with contemporary options and superior customization potential.

    Anytime you begin poking round below the hood, although, you threat screwing one thing up. And when the machine in query is your major cellphone or pill, that may be a frightening gamble to take (particularly since rooting a tool often violates its guarantee).

    That’s the place an outdated cellphone or pill can come into play. Put in your hacker’s hat and do a Google seek for “root [your device name]” after which “[your device name] ROM.” There’s an enormous neighborhood of Android lovers on the market, and also you’ll nearly actually discover some useful user-generated guides to get your self began.

    24. Sell it

    This one’s simple, proper? After all, what’s outdated to you is new to another person. You can go the common route and record your machine on Craigslist or eBay — or you possibly can examine in with a extra area of interest service like Swappa or Gazelle to get an immediate estimated value in your machine. Amazon and Best Buy additionally each supply buyback packages which may be price investigating.

    Whatever you do, ensure you head into your machine’s system settings and carry out a full manufacturing facility reset earlier than passing something alongside. You’ll in all probability additionally wish to take away any reminiscence playing cards you might need added, in case your outdated cellphone or pill has an exterior storage slot.

    25. Donate it

    Feeling philanthropic? Rest assured: There’s no scarcity of organizations able to put your outdated Android machine within the fingers of somebody who may actually use it.

    Just a few prospects price contemplating:

    Medic Mobile: This nonprofit group recycles outdated telephones and tablets after which makes use of the proceeds to buy new telephones for well being staff in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The staff use these telephones for issues like monitoring illness outbreaks and speaking in emergencies. You can print a pay as you go delivery label on the Medic Mobile web site.

    Cell Phones For Soldiers: This nonprofit sends outdated telephones together with free worldwide calling service to troops serving abroad from all branches of the U.S. army. You can donate a tool by discovering an area drop-off level or requesting a mailing label.

    Rainforest Connection: This nonprofit makes use of outdated telephones to guard threatened rainforests in Indonesia, Africa, and the Amazon. How? The units are fitted with photo voltaic panels for power in addition to specialised software program that makes use of their microphones to watch for the sound of unlawful chainsawing after which alert close by rangers to the exercise (sure, actually!). You can donate a tool by mailing it to the group’s California headquarters.

    So there you will have it: 25 intriguing choices for giving new life to your outdated machine. Figure out which one most closely fits you — and ship these gadget-dwelling mud bunnies packing.

    This story was initially printed in August 2014 and most just lately up to date in May 2023.

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