Whether or not you believe Apple goes to lengths to ensure your new iPhone will be obsolete mere months after you buy it, the fact is we've all wound up with a stack of seemingly defunct pocket computers over time. But rather than let them gather dust in a junk drawer or redeem an insultingly low trade-in sum, you could be using them to improve your day-to-day life in unexpected ways.
The next time you find yourself with a post-upgrade brick on your hands, try upcycling it in one of these 14 different ways.
1. Use it as a bike or vehicle tracker
Rather than drop any cash on an official LoJack system, install a reliable, remote geo-tracking app and slyly stash your old iPhone in your car or on your bike. That way, should it go missing (or you feel the need to surreptitiously track your spouse or kid's whereabouts) you can keep an eye on their location from your current phone or computer.
2. Turn it into a digital photo frame
Refresh your desktop photos on the fly by keeping it flush with your favorite album and placing it on a special iPhone stand.
3. Use it as a dedicated e-reader Keep your Wi-Fi-only device's iBooks and Newsstand stocked with your favorite reads to enjoy novels and the news free of distracting phone calls or texts.
4. Set it up as a universal remote
Attach this special dongle to your old phone and you'll be able to control everything from your entertainment system to your automatic blinds, and even set up optional chain-of-command options that will engage a whole series of actions at the press of a single button.
5. Turn it into a next-level camera
Your current phone will work great for candid and unexpected snaps, but why not transform one, with state-of-the-art lenses and accessories, into the sort of camera you'd want while shooting something special. Photojojo has a whole spread of stuff to get you started.
7. Use it as a home security camera
To set up a surveillance system on the cheap, download this app and position your old pocket computer so the camera picks up the space you want to keep tabs on. As long as it's connected to your Wi-Fi network, you'll be able to watch live and receive alerts on your current device or computer when certain actions are detected.
9. Keep watch over your kids
Spare yourself the cost of a fancy baby monitor and instead use your old and current phone together via this handy app to make sure all's well from down the hall or across the house.
11. Keep it around for storage Using Dropbox and this app you can harness the storage capacity in your old phone and turn it into a drive to keep your photos, files, and other important documents.
12. Turn it into a wireless music receiver
Beam audio from your current phone (or Mac) to any speaker with an aux input by turning your old phone into a wireless receiver. Simply boot it up, download this app over your home Wi-Fi network, plug it into the speaker of choice, and boom, you're in business.
13. Turn it into a document scanner
Keep copies of your most important paperwork without stepping foot into a depressing Kinko's by setting up a special scanning center to snap photos of documents, sketches, notes, and anything else you'd be screwed losing a hard copy of.
14. Use it as a voice recorder While this one may only be useful to a select set, having a device dedicated to recording voice memos can be a huge help when you need to conduct interviews, record meetings, or want to perform some sly audio surveillance.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor and has a beat up 3G in a drawer somewhere if you need a loaner.
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