15 tips for reusing your old smartphone

Turn it into a retro video game

With a few emulators and an accessory such as a Bluetooth gamepad, your old smartphone can turn into a great handheld console capable of running Nintendinho, Master System, Game Boy, Game Gear, Mega Drive, SNES, Neo * Geo games. , Arcade and more.

And I don't need a lot of processing power to do that: I can emulate Mega Drive at full speed on a Motorola RAZR MAXX, a 2012 smartphone with a 1.2 GHz Dual-Core processor. If the old smartphone is a more powerful model, you can even be able to play more modern console games like the first PlayStation, PSP or Nintendo DS.

SoR3 Console
Going a match of Streets of Rage 3? / AndroidPIT

We have published a complete article that shows the step-by-step of this project. It's easy, fast, costs almost nothing and guarantees hours of fun. "Just click on the link below:

Use your smartphone as a remote control

We all know that smartphones can be used as remote controls, but how many of us actually use the "main" phone for this? Very few, I would say. But if you have an old phone that doesn't have to carry with you everywhere, you can use it as a permanent remote control, either for your PC, Media Center or even your TV and other gadgets.

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Control your computer or laptop with the help of Unified Remote / AndroidPIT (screenshot)
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You can use it to control iTunes, your PC, or even your TV, as these devices feature Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in most cases. As Unified remote You will be able to use your smartphone to control presentations, restart your computer, control multimedia content, and even replace a full keyboard. The app is compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux, and only requires that both PC and smartphone be connected on the same internet network or be paired via Bluetooth, a great option.

If you have a Media Center with Kodi (formerly XBMC), the Yatse An excellent remote control option. With it you have complete control over the navigation and configuration of your Media Center, and no longer need a keyboard or mouse plugged into it to navigate the interface. Those who upgrade ($ 5.99) can even stream video from Media Center to their smartphone.

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Yatse: Complete control of your Media Center with Kodi / AndroidPIT (screenshot)
<p>If your smartphone has an infrared (IR) transmitter, then you can use it as a universal remote control to control your TV, DVD player, home theater, air conditioner, stereo, etc. The best app for this the <strong>Mi Remote</strong>, from Xiaomi. It already comes with predefined settings for various categories of handsets, just choose the type, make and answer some setup questions on the screen. And the best: free and without advertising.</p>
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Mi Remote: Control various devices with a smartphone / AndroidPIT

Chromecast, the savior of smartphones

Chromecast was an unexpected success for Google: just plug in a little tail on your TV and install an app on your smartphone to put content on your TV from YouTube, Netflix, Spotify and many other apps that support streaming.

The trick is that Chromecast is "dumb", and needs to be controlled by a smartphone capable of displaying the content you want to watch on TV. So you can use your old smartphone at home to control it and access all your favorite services without having to spend on a "smart TV".

chromecast audio hero 2You can use your old smartphone to control your Chromecast / AndroidPIT

Old smartphone, new Google Home

Let's go to a more complex project. You can convert an old smartphone into a Google Home. But it needs to meet some requirements, so it may not be too old. The minimum requirement is that the device can understand the "Ok Google" commands, which do not work on all Android devices. Fortunately, most devices that have been shipped with Android 5.0 or higher are capable of this. But that's not all: you need a speaker to connect the device via cable or Bluetooth. And finally, your phone must have Google Assistant.

For the initial setup of Google on an old smartphone first check that Google detection is working. Take a look at Google Preferences: Settings> Google> Search, Assistant & Voice> Voice> Voice Match. Enable options Access with Voice Match and Unlock with Voice Match. If necessary, configure your voice by following the onscreen instructions.

Let's move on: the smartphone must be permanently connected to a charger (so that it recognizes "OK Google" even with the screen off) and a speaker, of course. Just connect the two cables and you are free to get started. Say "OK Google" and when the wizard comes up, ask a question. For example, say "weather forecast".

Some apps work well with this smart setting, but not all. You will need to open some applications manually and others will not support all features. You should go trying and see what works in your particular situation. But it's very useful for sending SMSs, viewing the weather, managing a shopping list, doing simple searches and much more.

AndroidPIT old phone google home It's easy to convert an old smartphone into a Google Home / AndroidPIT

Use your smartphone as an alarm clock

If your old smartphone doesn't have enough RAM even to handle some occasional games, you can still use it as a bedside clock. Get a good watch app, like the Timely, and spend a few dollars on a simple cell phone stand or use a speaker dock.

Be sure to turn on Daydream mode in screen settings, so you can also turn your phone into a digital picture frame or newscaster.

google daydreamDaydream mode offers several nice bedside clock options / AndroidPIT

How about a PC gamepad?

Do not want to play on the PC using the keyboard, but also do not want to spend money on a Bluetooth gamepad? Or maybe you have friends at home and a control is missing for a multiplayer match. No matter, with an app like Mobile gamepad You turn any Android smartphone, even your old one, into a PC gamepad, connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Android gamepad
Mobile Gamepad: Turn your old Android into a gamepad for PC / AndroidPIT

In addition to functioning as a generic control, the app also has specific profiles for various games, with specific button settings. Try it!

Turn your smartphone into a GPS

Your old smartphone can be a good GPS for your car. Thus, you avoid wasting the current handset's battery, or exposing it to sunlight and heat hanging from the panel. There are good options for navigation apps like Google Maps it's the HERE WeGo but one of the best for sure the Waze. This application is supplied in real time with information sent by other drivers, with data on traffic, accidents and works on the route.

If you are serious about taking this tip, choose buying a base to fit your device into the dashboard of your car as it is safer to avoid having to consult your device manually.

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Waze one of the best GPS of the moment / AndroidPIT (screenshot)
<h2 id=Smartphone as document scanner

We all need to rip some kind of document from time to time. But you don't have to buy an all-in-one to do that, as we have a great tip for your smartphone that is leaning against it.

scan tinyscanner
You really don't need a scanner / AndrioidPIT (screenshot)

O TinyScanner It's one of the best apps to turn your smartphone into a scanner, with great scan quality and really cool features. You take a photo of the document, mark the edges and it does the rest. Within seconds, you have a PDF that you can send to Google Drive, save to your smartphone, or email.

Below is our complete tutorial for scanning documents with Android:

Using your Android smartphone as a surveillance camera

Many older smartphones have better cameras than many surveillance cameras, so why not reuse your old smartphone and use it to watch your home?

Use an app like Salient eye to turn your old Android into a motion detector surveillance camera that can warn you via text messaging or email if an intruder is detected. Low cost home security!

Smartphone as sleep monitor

Many users like the idea of ​​monitoring the quality of their sleep with some application, but are afraid of overusing the battery at night and waking up with the device almost "zero". Instead, use your old smartphone, even without internet, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi as a sleep quality monitor. For this we indicate the app Sleep better, by Runtastic.

You can sleep with the device next to your pillow in airplane mode, and data is collected through sensors and microphones. When setting the alarm, for example, you can choose which factor most affected your day, such as: high caffeine consumption, alcohol consumption, stressful day, among others.

From the following nights, and through the above factors, Sleep Better consolidates a diary with collected information and indicates the best phase of the moon to sleep, which most harms your sleep, time and percentage when you slept or woke up. All of this information is delivered in graphical form.

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Sleep Better turns your retired smartphone into a sleep monitor / AndroidPIT (screenshot)
<p>Best of all, you don't have to worry about your main smartphone falling out of bed or eventually turning off at night.</p>
<h2 id=Convert it to a baby monitor

Baby monitors are ideal for parents who have just had a baby. Unfortunately, they are not exactly cheap. Some of these devices cost from 80 to over 2,000 reais. In fact, it would be cheaper to use an old Android smartphone with the help of an application to monitor babies.

The best app we tested the Baby Monitor Annie. The app is easy to install on two smartphones. One device defined as the transmitter and the second as the receiver. A practical feature that you can also use the transmitter smartphone camera to take a look at the baby.

But of course this requires some processing power. If your old smartphone can't handle work, you can leave the app in audio mode. If your baby makes loud noises, the app will inform you automatically.

The free Baby Monitor Annie app for 30 minutes of test monitoring and after that there are cheap subscription options. The app is also available iOS, so the two devices do not even need to be running the same operating system.

Use it as an MP3 player

Even in the age of streaming services, MP3 files are still the most common format for getting music on a smartphone. Put a good memory card in your old smartphone, stuff it with your favorite music and use a good player like Poweramp or the excellent Musicolet (that's free!) to play your playlists. For maximum battery life, put your smartphone in airplane mode, the brightness of the screen is at least usable and set its standby time to a very low value, such as 30 seconds.

AndroidPIT headphone jack vs wireless audio 3886You can use old smartphones to listen to music /

USB modem or Wi-Fi access point?

Do you usually travel and want to give access to networked devices? And you also have a SIM card with a good data plan? Then put this card in your old smartphone and turn it into an internet access point. To do this, open the app Settings and locate the section Wireless and other networks. Tap on More> Portable Sharing & Access> Wi-Fi Access Point. In Set up Wi-Fi hotspot you set the network name and password, and just tap the key that says Disabled at the top of the screen to activate the access point.

AndroidPIT wifi hotspot hero
Your old smartphone can provide internet to your laptop and other smartphones / AndroidPIT

In some cases you can also provide internet access to your notebook via a USB cable.

Using a smartphone for two-factor authentication

Passwords are no longer enough to protect an online account well. Many services (including Google and Facebook) already offer the two-factor authentication feature, which is based on the concept of "something you know" (your password) and "something you have" (your smartphone).

Here's how it works: When you log in to a site with two-factor authentication enabled, you'll need to enter a code, which changes with each login, that will be sent to your mobile phone. Most services have the option of sending the code via SMS, but this is not very safe.

An online account is as secure as its two-factor authentication. But where should the second factor be generated? Text messaging is an option, but most of the time you choose your main smartphone, but not a good idea. Instead leave your old smartphone at home, install an authentication app (like the Authy or the LastPass Authenticator) on it and use it to authenticate logins on Google, Facebook, Amazon and many other services.

AndroidPIT best android apps 1658
Google Authenticator / AndroidPIT

Yes, with this you will only be able to log in to protected accounts at home, but that means security breaches will only be possible at home as well.

Convert your Android smartphone to a file server

Want to access important data while you're on the go, but don't trust cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.? Then use your old smartphone as a server. You may no longer need your own NAS. It doesn't matter if email, FTP, dynamic DNS or DLNA – here are some applications that will help you: Ultimate Servers (the most complete), FTP Server, WebDAV Server.

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Turn your old phone into a server with Server Ultimate / AndroidPIT
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Many of the new uses mentioned here are not exclusive. Do you have any other suggestions on how to use your old smartphone? Let us know in the comments!

* Article made in partnership with Stella Dauer and Bruno Salutes, AndroidPIT Brazil editors and Kris Carlon, AndroidPIT editor.

. (tagsToTranslate) tips (t) old smartphone (t) old cellphone (t) used cellphone (t) tips for recycling old smartphones (t) utilities for old smartphones (t) remote control (t) security camera (t) PDF (t) monitor