What to Do with that Old Phone

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on January 21, 2016, How To Guides

If you’ve just got yourself a new phone (maybe as a generous Christmas pressie) you might be wondering what you should do with that old one. There are tons of options for old phones, some of which you might not have considered, so we’re taking a look at the top new uses for your old mobile.

Keep It!

Alright, our first option might sound kind of boring, but it is practical. Stick that phone in a drawer and keep it. It’s always handy to have a spare phone around, since you never know when you might lose your new one, or have it break on you. Plus, an older model is a good choice if you’re going clubbing, on vacation, or out into the woods. Having a back up can be a life saver sometimes.

Having said that, you probably don’t need more than one back up phone. So if you’ve already got a back up, switch it out for the most recent old phone you have, then do something else with the older model. Such as? Well…

A Handy Remote

One of our favourite and most useful ideas for that old phone is to use it as a remote. Maybe you’ve got Sonos speakers or a Chromecast, in which case your phone can be a great remote for those. But you can also use it as a remote for your TV by downloading a remote app like Unified Remote or Retune. As an added bonus, download a Find My Phone app and you’ll also never be able to lose that remote again either! And no, you don’t need a data plan, having the phone connected to your home WiFi network should be enough, so there should be no extra data bills to pay.

An MP3 Player

Look, MP3 players can be kind of expensive, especially if you want more than a couple of gigabytes of storage, so why not let your old phone do the work? You won’t need to clog up memory space on your new phone with music tracks, leaving you more room for apps and photos, and you won’t need to shell out for a new MP3 player either. Plus, your phone is already set up to play MP3s, so you won’t need to download any software or apps, you won’t need to be online, and you won’t even need a SIM card with most phones.

Just make sure that you have a cable to connect your phone to your PC, since that will be the easiest way to get music onto the device. Other than that, you’re ready to go.

An Alarm Clock/Music Centre

If you’re willing to spend a few pounds on a decent docking station or stand, an old mobile can be both a great alarm clock for the bedroom, and a music centre too. You’ve probably already got the important rooms in the house kitted out with speakers etc., but by putting that docking station and phone in the bedroom you’ll have music while you sleep. Or while you… do other things. And you get a great sounding alarm clock into the bargain too, because what could be greater than waking up to your favourite jams?

Be Safe and Secure

There are also tons of home security apps on the market now, which means that you can use your old phone to keep your house (or even just your room) safe and secure. One of our faves is SalientEye, which turns a phone into a surveillance camera and motion detector. It will even send you an email or SMS (to your new phone, obvs) if it senses something amiss.

You might also want to try out TrackView which lets you turn your old phone into a camera and then monitor the footage or record it on another device. Handy if you want to know what your cat’s doing while you’re at work (or, you know, if you don’t want to get burgled…). Both options are way cheaper than an alarm system.


Of course that phone can be used as a GPS unit if you like too, whether you’re a driver, a biker, or you just get easily lost. But if you want to avoid having a data plan and paying bills for that old phone you’ll need to download an app that has off-line GPS abilities (something like Maps.me or OSMand are good choices).

Sell It…

Finally, another rather obvious solution, but still one worth mentioning. You can sell your old phone and get some money back, which might be tempting if you’re on a budget. There are tons of ways to sell that phone, from taking it to a mobile phone shop to selling it through an online site or even privately. In general, the safer options (like taking it to a mobile shop) will net you less cash, but, you know, they’re safer and you stand less chance of getting ripped off.

If you’re looking at selling then there are a few things that you’ll need to do first. Remove your SIM card and SD card (if you have one), and delete all your data. The easiest way to do this is to hunt through the settings menu of your phone until you find an option to “factory reset.” Don’t forget to have a back up of all your data (though if you’ve already set up your new phone you probably have everything you need on there, but there might be some pics or something that you want to move to your PC). Then, give that phone a good clean, and replace it in its original box if you still have it. Don’t forget to include the charger and any accessories that you might have. Then, go find yourself a buyer!

There are plenty of ways to repurpose that old phone, so don’t feel like you need to leave it rotting in a drawer somewhere (unless you’re keeping it as a back up device). A new phone is great, but an old phone can be pretty handy too sometimes…