5 ways to make your Old Smartphone useful again

Most of us replace our smartphones every 18 to 24 months. Personally I changed every 24 months because I “binded” to the contract with a local telco. I use a iPhone 5S now but I still have my iPhone 3GS and 4S with me. As you would have know by now I’m an Apple “Fangirl” but that might change with my Moto360 coming next week. Anyway, I diverged. Back to topic.

Singapore has earned a reputation for being one of the most mobile-savvy in the South-East Asia region. We have high mobile penetration rate and many of us are carrying the latest smartphones.

With this in mind, what are we doing with our old phones? We can either contribute to the e-waste or make it useful again. I’m sure you can see where I heading…


So here are 5 ways to make your Old Smartphone magical again

1. Turn your Old Smartphone into a smart security device

Rico is a Kickstarter project that turns your used smartphone into a smarthome device. Although our old smartphone seems ancient to the ones we are using now, but the technology and the sensors that were used are still relatively useful. So the people at Rico decided to make use of that. [Video]

Caution: the problem with Kickstarter projects are that they are often delay so if you are looking for a quick solution, read on :P

2. Emergency Phone for your Car

I found this on reddit not sure if it would work in Singapore (I did not try) but the idea sure comes in handy.

Although you old phone does not have any signals, it does has the ability to make emergency calls. Why not put the phone in your glove box and if you get into a situation, you can still make an emergency call. And according to this site, “When using an international mobile telephone with a roaming provider dial 112 (GSM phone) or 911 to be redirected to the 999 emergency number.” so it might just work.

3. An old phone is still a phone

I love this the most. What I did was to install Skype on my iPhone 4S, I purchased US$10 credits from Skype and now I can start making calls to friends overseas via wifi even if they are on landline. I frequently call Shanghai (2cents/min) and (2.3cents/min) so my credits last me quite a while.

protip: If you called US often, go for Google Hangout. It is free.

You can make calls through Hangouts in Gmail, Google+, and the Chrome extension if you have a Google Account. Calls made to the U.S. and Canada are currently free. Calling isn’t available in some countries, such as Mexico and India. link

4. Old Smartphone as a smart alarm

Different people have different idea of having the perfect sleep. Why not make use of your old smartphone as a smart alarm so you can wake up feeling refresh and ready to change the world.


Sleepbot is a free app on both iOS and Android. The app monitors your movement using the sensors and its “proprietary” algorithms so that it wakes you up during your lightest state of sleep, instead of when you’re in a deep sleep. This way, you don’t feel as discombobulated when you wake up.

If you are thinking, why do I not use my primary phone for the smart alarm app? I could think of two reasons.

  1. Because my primary phone is charing overnight
  2. I owned a 16GB iPhone, need to keep some space for other apps :)

5. IP Webcam

** Dedicate to Android users **

Keep an eye on your home, office or kiddos by transforming your device into a Web-connected security camera. Just download the free IP Webcam app and you’ll be able to monitor through your device’s lens from any computer browser.

Thanks for reading. My name is Sally, I just joined Intraix. Green Voices is our site where we talk about stuff that makes your home smarter. But sometimes we diverged, you can ask me anything you want here