What to Do With Your Old Cell Phone or Tablet

cellstackIt seems that newer and faster mobile devices are released every month, and most people are right there ready to pick up the latest and greatest.  This usually leaves whatever was THE hot device, now sitting in a drawer collecting dust.

Almost everyone has an old (or not so old) phone or tablet that they have more-or-less abandoned for something newer and better.  Some people have many of these types of devices laying around that are still functional.  So what can you do with these devices?  Well, believe it or not, you have several options that are even available to many of the older smartphones.  Everything from donating and recycling, to selling for cash, to re-configuring them to serve a new purpose around the house.  Below are several options along with some links to instructions (where available):


Consider donating your old phone to a charitable organization.  A quick Google search will pull up several pages of organizations that will take your cell phone and either give it to someone in need, recycle it to make money for that cause, or something else along those lines.  The condition or age of the phone necessary for donation varies depending on the organization.  Some examples include:

www.ncadv.org/takeaction/DonateaPhone.php – National Coalition Against Domestic Violence


Along with donation, you can recycle your old device.  Depending on the device or organization, you may even get money back for your device when you recycle it.  Most cell phone service providers and electronics stores will also offer to recycle/trade-in your old device.  Older, non-smartphone type cell phones are also usually accepted.  Some examples include:


Sell It

If your device is new enough, selling it might be a good option.  There are several websites that will buy your cell phone outright, even if broken.    A quick Google search should pull up several companies you can sell to, and that number is growing daily.  Make sure you research any company before sending your device to them.  A few examples:


Emergency Only Device

Even without service, a cell phone can still be used to make calls to emergency services.  You can keep it in your car or give it to an elderly family member who might need one.  There are even applications you can download that make the process a little easier.  You can even use those really old non-smartphone type phones.

Home Media Remote

There are countless apps out there that allow you to use your phone or tablet as a remote to control just about any one of your home media devices.  Most new TVs, DVRs, Receivers, etc. already come with apps that you can download and communicate with your device over WiFi, though these often just control that one item.  There are also Universal Remote apps you can install that will control multiple media devices such as SURE Universal Remote or AnyMote.  While most of these apps communicate over WiFi, some only use IR communication.  Whatever app you decide to go with, make sure your mobile device and your media device both use compatible methods with the app.

Children’s Toy

I’ve done this several times with both tablets and phones.  This can be done as easily as downloading an app that locks the OS into a “kid friendly” screen or flash a completely different ROM that really locks things down.  The new versions of Android also allow you to setup different user profiles which can be restricted to certain apps on the phone.  This is probably the quickest and easiest method and can even be done on your current device.  Downloading a special app like Kids Place or KIDOZ are great alternatives that offer tons of options.  Keep in mind that some of these apps my require you to upgrade to a “Full” version to get all the bells and whistles.