We all love to get new gadgets, but what to do with the old ones? As we increasingly move to mobile technology, more and more of us are building up collections of old, dated devices from both our work and personal lives. And more often than not, those devices do little more than take up space and collect dust. However, here’s a little secret: your old Android gadgets are actually virtual gold mines. You just need to find the right way to tap into their potential and give them a new life. Here are some clever ways to put your old Android phone or tablet to good use.
Use it as a wireless trackpad and controller for your computer
With the right software and a few minutes of setup, your old Android device can act as an on-demand controller for your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer. An app called Unified Remote and a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection are all you need to make the magic happen. The free version of the app gives you basic mouse and keyboard controls, along with specialized remotes for media playback and streaming-related commands, while the full version adds program-specific remotes for presentation control, along with other advanced features. Grab the version you prefer and download the software for your computer. Then toss your old device in a desk drawer and rest easy knowing that it will be there the next time you need to go wireless.
Turn it into a remote computer terminal
Do you want easy access to your home computer from the office, or vice versa? Your old Android phone or tablet can be a wonderful stationary display to keep a remote system at your fingertips. The newer version of Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop program oddly doesn’t support Android, but a third-party app called TeamViewer does. To get started, download and install the appropriate app for your desktop computer. Windows, Mac, Linux and ChromeOS are all supported.
Once the program is installed, open it and you will see a passcode and password for remote login. All you need to do is install the accompanying app on your Android device, type in the same credentials and within seconds you should be able to look at your desktop computer from your Android device’s screen.
You’ll find advanced forms of interaction (including locking or rebooting the remote system) in a toolbar at the bottom of the screen. You can bring up a virtual keyboard by tapping the keyboard icon in that same area, and if you need to use the computer’s mouse, you can tap once to click.
TeamViewer is free for personal use, so make sure you select the “personal/non-commercial use” option during the initial installation of the program.
Use it as a universal smart remote control
Even the most ancient Android device has enough power to serve as a smart remote control for your home or office. That can be a convenient way for you and everyone around to control your various smart devices without special access, or your own current personal phone.
Transform it into a freestanding security camera
Who needs a fancy connected camera when you have an old Android phone? Using a third-party app, you can monitor the home or office from anywhere with the camera on your dated device, and even perform advanced functions like video recording and motion detection. Just download the free IP Webcam app or buy the full featured pro version and follow the instructions. In moments, you’ll be peering through the lens of your device from any compatible web browser.