Do it yourself
    27 December 2016


    Uses for your old phone

    Got a new phone for Christmas, but still attached to your old one? Here are 10 ways to keep your ex-device in your life.

    Got a new phone for Christmas, but still attached to your old one? Here are 10 ways to keep your ex-device in your life.

    Now that you’re the owner of a brand-new phone, you either can’t wait to put your old device in a drawer and never see it again – or, you feel a twinge of guilt at the thought of heartlessly discarding it. You’ve been through a lot together.

    Either way, we don’t believe that old phones belong in drawers. There are plenty of things you can do with the phone you’re no longer using as your primary device to make your life easier, safer and more fun.

    Here are our 10 suggestions:

    1. Turn it into a security camera 

    Your old phone can help you keep an eye on your home while you’re away. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection, a bracket or stand, and the right app. See our instructions here.

    2. Repurpose it for your child

    You might not have any use for your old device, but your kids (or perhaps one of your employees) would love a capable smartphone of their own. Giving them your old phone is probably the cheapest way to give them what they want. But make sure you back up your data, encrypt your phone (if you're on Android - iOS phones are automatically encrypted) and then either perform a factory reset (Android) or 'erase' your device (iOS) before handing it over.

    3. Use it in the kitchen

    Don’t you hate using your phone while you’re cooking? It’s a dangerous environment for a phone, with all that heat and water and mess and tiled floors. Plus, you keep getting WhatsApps in the middle of reading a recipe, and then have to keep flicking between apps with your hands full of onion juice, and you end up wishing you’d just printed the recipe while you were at work.

    Using your old phone as a dedicated recipe tool will remove all of your smartphone-cooking anxiety.


    • Buy a stand for your phone so that it can sit upright on the counter.
    • Delay your screen time-outs to as long as possible so you don’t have to keep swiping to refresh (this will put a bit of strain on your battery, so you might need to keep it plugged in when you’re not using it).
    • Remove all unnecessary apps – you may want to keep iTunes, or Deezer if you’d like your phone to stream music while you cook, too (remember to make sure it’s connected to Wi-Fi while streaming).
    • Install your favourite recipe apps. We find Pinterest really useful, and Yummly is both popular and highly rated.
    • Install a note-taking app such as Evernote so that you can keep a record of your own or family recipes.
    • Then, get cooking!



    4. Keep it for emergencies

    Keep your old phone charged and in your cubby hole so that you always have access to a phone that can dial 082 911 (which you can do without having a SIM card inserted), even if your ‘real’ phone is out of battery.

    5. Reserve it for video chats


    Your family will thank you for virtually unfettered access to their grandchildren – at least, over video chat – when you set up your old device solely for Skype.

    Keep it plugged into the charger and always connected to Wi-Fi (so you’ll hear it ‘ringing’ when your folks phone without an appointment), remove unnecessary apps, install Skype, and you’re good to go.

    You could even do away with your landline phone completely!


    6. Use it as an MP3 player in the car


    If you don’t want to drain your phone of power while you’re on the road by using it to play your music, or if you want to free up some space on your phone’s memory, use your old device as a music player that you keep charged up and in your cubby hole. Get a cheap air-vent phone holder, load up your old phone with all your tunes and podcasts, and then use it as on-the-road entertainment instead of your new phone, the radio, or your car CD player.


    7. Use it as a TV


    Did you know that you can download series and movies off ShowMax? With the ShowMax app, you can download up to 25 movies or series at a time to watch while you’re offline. Download them to your old phone, and you’ll have a dedicated portable TV to take with you on holiday. It’s the perfect way to keep your kids occupied on a long road-trip or flight, so they won’t need to hijack the phone you actually use.

    While you’re connected to Wi-Fi, browse the huge catalogue on ShowMax, download the shows you’d like to watch to the app, and then, when you’re offline, you’ll have access to the ones you’ve downloaded, and you can watch for free!


    8. Make it your dedicated e-reader


    Are you a voracious reader who doesn’t have a Kindle? (We can sympathise – the one thing about real books is that they don’t break when you’re toddler stands on them, or when you drop them in the bath.) Simply download the relevant Amazon Kindle app on your old phone and use it as your e-reader. You can also get the Pocket app if you prefer to read long-form journalism or online articles offline – simply save them to Pocket while you’re connected to read later.

    The one downside to this approach is that your device’s screen will be backlit, whereas Kindle and other e-reader screens are not, to protect your eyes from glare. Do your best to adjust the screen brightness so that it’s not too harsh while still being legible.


    9. Turn it into a digital photo frame


    Remember when digital photo frames were all the rage? We can’t remember the last time we saw one, other than the old one we’ve got at the top of the cupboard in our home office, literally gathering dust.

    Using your old phone as a digital photo frame is much niftier than a clunky frame with a memory card in it because, with the right app, your phone will connect to your accounts on various online platforms and stream your photos from there. This means you’ll get only the images you edited and deemed fit for public consumption – instead of all the duds on a memory card – streamed in a constant slideshow.


    • Buy a stand for your phone.
    • Download the right app: Dayframe on Android and Digital Photo Frame on iOS.
    • Sign in to the app and follow the prompts.
    • Keep your device connected to Wi-Fi.
    • Now, enjoy a trip down memory lane.



    10. Sell it


    Okay, this won't keep your ex-phone in your life, but sometimes cash trumps sentiment. There’s a pretty good market for used phones on sites like Gumtree and OLX, especially for the more recent versions of high-end devices, like the Samsung Galaxy or iPhone. But remember to back up your data, encrypt your phone (Android) and then perform a factory reset (Android) or 'erase' your device (iOS) before selling your phone to a stranger so that they can’t get hold of your personal data. With the cash you'll get for the sale you can top up on data bundles for your new device!


    If you’re not yet the owner of a new phone, check out our great-value Summer Deals. You’re sure to find something you like. Shop on Vodacom Online today »