What to Do with Old Cell Phones? 22 Clever Uses Few People Know

2024-03-05 16:10:49/Posted by Kitty Parkerto Android Backup Topic/Follow @ MobiKin

Technology advances at an astonishing rate. With each new release of smartphones, consumers are left with a pressing question: what to do with old cell phones after switching? Whether upgrading to the latest model or parting ways with outdated tech, finding a purpose for these devices is of great importance.

OK, this article aims to address these concerns by presenting 22 practical and creative solutions for repurposing old cell phones. Let's now discover the myriad possibilities for repurposing old cell phones in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Part 1: Should I Just Throw Away My Old Phones

NO! Improperly disposing of old phones by tossing them in the garbage contributes to e-waste landfills, posing a significant threat to the environment. This can get harmful chemicals leaching into the soil or carbon dioxide emissions if incinerated, exacerbating global warming. But what can you do with old cell phones? Thankfully, there are many options available for recycling, ensuring they're properly disposed of and potentially refurbished for reuse.

If you're going to give your phone to someone else, ensure you back up your phone, including contacts, photos, videos, and other important data stored on the device. Once the backup is made, it's crucial to wipe the data on it to prevent unauthorized access.


back up your old phone

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Part 2: What to Do with Old Cell Phones [4 Main Purposes]

1. Recycle your old phone

What do I do with old cell phones after backing them up and wiping them out? To start things off, try to recycle it as below:

  • Many cities have designated recycling centers where you can drop off electronics, including old phones. (Note: Remember to remove the SIM card and any memory cards before that)
  • Some mobile carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, have recycling programs in their stores where you can drop off old phones.
  • Many electronics retailers have recycling programs where you can drop off your old phone. Examples include Best Buy and Staples.

2. Pass your phone on to your kids

What do you do with old cell phones if you don't want to recycle them? You can repurpose your old phone for your kid without cellular service. Connect it to Wi-Fi for them to use the camera, Internet, apps, Wi-Fi calling, games, etc. Ensure security with a case and screen protector. Next, confirm with tech-savvy help that unwanted capabilities are disabled to avoid accidental calls or subscriptions. Morever, teach them how to make important calls, like 9-1-1, emphasizing these phones are for play only.

3. Resell your old smartphone

* Resell your phone online

One of the common options of uses for old cell phones is selling them. Various online services accept mailed-in phones for recycling, such as Gazelle and Decluttr. Selling your old phone can provide quick cash to offset the cost of upgrading to a newer model.

* Resell your device to the manufacturer

Some manufacturers have trade-in programs, allowing you to exchange your old gadget for credit towards a new one. Often, you'll need to mail your old phone for a rebate. Refer to the user manual or seek assistance from a tech professional to clear your data before sending it.

4. Donate your old phone

Instead of keeping old phones in a drawer, consider donating them to charities or specific projects run by cell phone companies.

  • Donate your old smartphone to support causes like Medic, which funds healthcare software for underserved areas.
  • Cell Phones for Soldiers offers free service to military personnel, with each donated phone equating to 2.5 hours of talk time.
  • The 911 Cell Phone Bank refurbishes phones for emergency use by vulnerable citizens.

donate your old cell phone

In many countries, including the United States, donations to registered charities are tax-deductible. Be sure to obtain a receipt from the charity for your donation, as you may need it when filing your taxes. Also, some charities accept non-working phones, as they may still be able to salvage parts or recycle them for funds. Check with the organization to see if they accept non-working devices.


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Part 3: What to Do with Old Mobile Phones [Other 18 Ways to Repurpose Them]

What can be done to old mobile phone for other purposes? Well, good question! Here are some extended use cases for how to use an old phone to maximize its value:

  • TV Remote: Use your old phone as a dedicated remote control for your television, cable box, or streaming device.
  • Security Camera: Transform your phone into a home security camera to monitor your property remotely.
  • Media Player: Turn your old cell phone into a dedicated music or video player for listening to music or watching videos without draining the battery of your primary device.
  • E-Book Reader: Convert your phone into an e-book reader to enjoy reading digital books and documents on the go.
  • Alarm Clock: Utilize your old phone as an alarm clock or bedside clock with customizable alarms and clock faces.
  • Wireless Webcam: Set up your phone as a wireless webcam for video conferencing, live streaming, or monitoring purposes.
  • Video Chat Device: Repurpose your phone for video calls and chats with friends, family, or colleagues using various communication apps.
  • Baby Monitor on Call: Use your old phone as a baby monitor with live audio and video feed, allowing you to keep an eye on your little one remotely.
  • Game Player: Transform your phone into a dedicated gaming device for playing mobile games or retro emulators.
  • GPS: Turn your old phone into a GPS navigation device for navigating while driving, hiking, or biking.
  • Monitor Heart Rate: Utilize your phone's sensors to monitor your heart rate during daily activities.
  • Measure Stuff: Use your phone's built-in sensors and apps to measure distances, heights, or weights of objects.
  • Emergency Phone: Keep your old phone as a backup emergency phone with essential contacts programmed in case of emergencies.
  • Hold Medical Insurance Card: Use your phone to store digital copies of your medical insurance card and other important documents for easy access.
  • Scan Docs: Turn your phone into a portable document scanner for digitizing paper documents and receipts.
  • Find Your Car: Utilize your phone's GPS and mapping apps to remember where you parked your car and navigate back to it later.
  • Remote Computer Terminal: Access your computer remotely using your old phone to perform tasks or access files from anywhere.
  • Video Conferencing Station: Set up your phone as a dedicated video conferencing station for attending virtual meetings or classes without using your primary device.

Extra Tips: What to Do before Getting a New Phone

Getting a new phone can certainly spark joy and enhance the vibrancy of life. However, prior to that, it is essential to prioritize the seamless transition of data from your old device to the new one. MobiKin Transfer for Mobile (Windows and Mac), a tool specializing in the enhancement of mobile solutions, offers reliable assistance in transferring a wide range of data efficiently, regardless of the OS you are using.

transfer data from android to android via mobikin

Furthermore, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the following precautions before making the switch to a new phone:

  • Research various models, considering specifications, features, and reviews.
  • Check compatibility with existing accessories and apps.
  • Make a list of essential apps and accounts for easy transfer.
  • Note customized settings and preferences for replication.
  • Prepare for SIM card activation or transfer.
  • Consider purchasing accessories like cases or chargers.
  • Compare offers from different retailers or carriers for the best deal.

Calling It a Wrap

In conclusion, while it may be tempting to discard old cell phones, it's essential to consider the environmental impact and potential value they still hold. By exploring the 22 ideas presented in this article, you can now find meaningful ways to repurpose your devices, contributing to sustainability efforts and unlocking new functionalities. So, before bidding farewell to your old phone, take a moment to explore the possibilities and embark on a journey of innovation and sustainability.

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Kitty Parker
Kitty ParkerSenior Editor
In 2018, Kitty Parker graduated with a B.S. degree. After getting technical article writing training, she participated in MobiKin Team. She has spent years testing, studying, and writing professional articles on fields such as Android Backup, Android Recovery, and App Management. Proficient in creating diverse content, she regularly shares posts on social platforms to help those in need.
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