5 uses for old Android and iOS devices

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An illustration of a tablet in hand with an ebook open, a person using an old tablet as an ebook reader
Design by Bisma / TechEngage

With smartphones and tablets going on sale frequently, there are times where you might find yourself with an extra Android or iOS device that isn’t being used.

Rather than letting that device go to waste in your drawer, here are 5 cool uses for an extra Android or iOS tablet or smartphone.

An eBook Reader

A photo of the tablet with an ebook opened, placed inside a blue book
Image by sik-life on Pixabay

I have a Nexus 7 (2013) which has absolutely horrible battery performance and heats up easily when used with Wi-Fi. I also had the problem of having my books ruined in my bag during commutes, classes, etc.

One day, a friend of mine was using his new Kindle. While setting it up for him, he mentioned how he had a mountain of books to catch up on. This made me realize that all the books I had to read were available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble as e-books.

I bought Moon Reader Pro for $1.99 on sale, then bought my entire backlog of books for $20 with the help of sales and coupons. Now, I can read for 2-3 hours a day before I have to recharge the tablet on the weekend.

Moon Reader lets me choose white or black page colors for outdoor and indoor reading, bookmarks my pages, looks up words, and more. You can also download a plethora of free e-books legally from websites like Project Gutenberg.

Yes, paperback or hardcover will always be the best way to read, but not when your 900-page book looks like a bulldog ravaged it after a day in your bag.

A dedicated bedside smart home device

A photo of Google Pixel 3 Xl showing Spotify running on a bedside table
Photo by Joshua Oluwagbemiga on Unsplash

With Google Assistant easily available on Android and iOS devices, you’re never more than a button away from access. This is especially useful for tablets. This way, you can continue using your phone while still being productive and multi-tasking.

All you have to do is buy a folio case for your tablet (which can be as little as $5) and put it in a resting position. From there, you can just press the power button to wake your device and ask Google Assistant to perform a range of functions.

As a dedicated bedside device, the possibilities are endless! Set your alarms, reminders, schedule, look up the weather – all from the comfort of your bed. For best results, make sure your tablet is using the same Gmail address as your main device so you can sync them.

In addition, if you have a compatible tablet, you can also set up your smart devices, smart security devices, and more and use it as the master controller for your home.

A smart mirror or car dashboard touchscreen

A photo of smart car dashboard showing inside of a luxury car
Photo by Kenny Luo on Unsplash

If you are especially brave and willing to have a go at it, have a look at the many YouTube videos on making your own smart mirror.

Now, if you are ESPECIALLY daring, and possess the advanced ability to tinker with your car, you can make your own Android auto-enabled dashboard touchscreen tablet.

Keep in mind that this requires a lot of patience, manual labor, and a decent level of tech expertise. This should ONLY be an option if you have watched the videos end to end and have understood the journey you’re about to embark on.

A digital photo frame

A photo of iPad on a table with lockscreen ON
Photo by Christopher Beddies on Unsplash

If you want to add a touch of tech to your living room, you can have plenty of apps run a slideshow of your family photos. This will really turn heads when you have friends or family over. Piktures is only one of the many free apps you can use to do this.

Keep in mind that this won’t be a fixture without constantly having it on charge. It would be embarrassing to have a low battery icon pop-up when showing off your photos. Constantly having the screen on and looping images WILL take a toll on the battery.

A backup security device

An illustration of a phone with security symbol
Design by Bisma Ilyas | TechEngage

Whether you have lost your main smartphone or need to access your multi-factor authenticator apps, a backup device can be a lifesaver. You can install apps like Google’s Find My Device to remotely locate, ring, erase, and protect your main device from intruders – or just locate it in your house.

If you are a security nut like me, you might hate reaching for your phone to enter the code for 2-factor authentication. If you have a good app (I recommend Authy), you can instantly enter your 2-factor code without needing to leave your comfortable bed, disturbing your phone on charge, or switching apps.

These are just a few of the things you can do to make use of your old device. We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.

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