16 ways to use your old iPhone after you upgrade

Here are 16 ways to use your old iPhone now you have invested in a brand-new smartphone.

Apple, iPhone, iOS, iOS 11, old iPhone, How to
REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Here are 16 ways to use your old iPhone now you have invested in a brand new smartphone.

You could sell you old iPhone

Apple’s iPhones hold their value really well. A 2-year old unlocked iPhone 6S with 64GB capacity still fetches $200-plus at some reputable stores and will likely yield even more cash if sold privately. Flipsy provides a useful online tool to help you figure out the value of your old device. Here’s what to do before you sell your old iPhone.

Or use your old iPhone as a music system

You can still use your iPhone if it doesn’t have an active SIM card inside it. When you do, you can hook it up to your Wi-Fi network and your Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, or any other music service you might want to use, hook it up to your system using Bluetooth or AirPlay, and use your old smartphone as a shared music and radio playback system.

Or to help you make your own music

Hook your iPhone up to a MIDI interface, then install your favorite amp emulation app and your old smartphone can become your very own guitar effects unit. The latest MIDI interfaces even hook up to the iPhone 7.

Perhaps it's a shared in-car computer?

While most iPhone users are likely to use their current device to provide music and other playback in their car, some may want to leave their old device permanently hooked up inside their vehicle for audio playback. That way everyone who may drive the car will be able to share your precious Vanilla Ice B-sides collection.

Or keep the kids entertained

Put your old device into a tough case and install some of the latest kid’s games on it, and you’ll have an instant way to keep children entertained that doesn’t involve them borrowing (and subsequently smashing) the iPhone you use yourself.

Use your old iPhone for movies or as a remote control

If you use an Apple TV, then you are probably a little frustrated at the continued lack of an Amazon Prime movie playback app on your favorite front room device.

Worry no more: Your old iPhone can become a brilliant movie playback device, as you can stream Amazon movies (and TV series) direct from the handset to your Apple TV using AirPlay.

This should work for any video app. Alternatively, just download the relevant remote control app for your television and use your old iPhone to control the TV.

Or just us it as an Apple TV remote

Alternatively, just keep your old iPhone around as a spare Apple TV remote control using Control Center.

Perhaps you want to be more secure?

Your old iOS devices can become part of a network of remote home security cameras. There are several available apps that can do this, including Presence. It monitors your space and begins filming if motion is detected, notifying you at the same time so you can check to make sure miscreants aren’t raiding your den.

Check on your baby

Explore the App Store, and you’ll find apps such as Cloud Baby Monitor, which may let you use your old Apple smartphone as a baby monitor, checking live video of your charges while they sleep and when they wail.

Use your old iPhone in the kitchen

Do you like to cook? Why not leave your old iPhone mounted in your kitchen and use the device as your recipe book and measurement calculator? That way you can make sure the device you use never gets greasy, wet or dropped to smashing smithereens on your hard kitchen floor. Activate "Hey Siri" on the device, and you won’t even need to touch your iPhone to get the recipes you need. And Safari integration between your deivces means you can find recipes on your Mac or other iOS devices and then find the relevant page in Safari on your spare system.

Or use it as a telephone

So long as it’s on your WI-Fi network you can use your old iPhone as a spare telephone line around your home. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, FaceTime and other services all let you use your iPhone for voice and video calls, but I quite like a lesser-known Skype feature that lets you rent a phone number people can use to make voice calls to your Skype account from any telephone. This costs money, but it is a good way to use your old iPhone as an office or home telephone system.

The camera that's always with you

Have you ever considered how little power your iPhone uses if it isn’t using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or network coverage and isn’t running any background apps? That’s why an old iPhone makes such a good spare camera, for backup or for use by friends or other family members. You can fill your device up with camera-related apps and back all those images up to the appropriate Photos collection once you get the device back to Wi-Fi. (You can even hook it up using the Hotspot feature on the iPhone you use if you want to share those images fast.)

Your old iPhone can become a traveler’s aid

If you are traveling, it may make sense to put a pay-as-you-go SIM for the country you are visiting inside your old iPhone. You’ll save a little money when taking and making calls and be able to use location services at lower cost. And you can leave your current device safely in the hotel safe while you get to know your way around the place you are in. Some travelers may prefer keeping a spare device for use when traveling in order to protect enterprise or personal data from prying eyes at immigration control when visiting some countries.

Use your old iPhone on your bike

Do you really want to use your valuable iPhone 8 Plus as a bike computer, running the risk of rain, mud, vibration or other forms of damage? Probably not — but with apps like Runtastic Mountain Bike or Strava installed on your old iPhone mounted on your handlebars and your current device safely in your pocket providing a Hotspot, you get all the advantages of a full cyclist’s computer while keeping your device safe.

Use your old iPhone as a backup drive

You can also use your old iPhone as a backup device. Empty it of everything you don’t need and install the free USB Flash Drive app, and you have a Wi-Fi connected flash drive to use as backup storage. It’s kind of cool because it also integrates with third-party file storage services, including iCloud Drive and Dropbox. You can also use it to play a wide number of different video formats.

One more thing...

You can sell your old device if you want to, but have you considered donating it? You can gift it to friends and family, or visit sites such as American Cellphone Drive or Medic Mobile to explore different ways your old smartphone could make a positive difference.

Got any more ideas of what to do with an old iPhone? Do let us know.

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