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10 things you can do with your old Android phone

So you’ve decided to upgrade and you’re unsure what to do with your old Android smartphone. You could sell it, donate it, or repurpose it. We’ve got plenty of ideas for you right here.

Published onApril 25, 2014


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Smartphones could be the fastest growing technology we’ve ever seen. More than one in seven people worldwide currently own a smartphone. Some of us have already upgraded our smartphones several times over the years. The technology just keeps advancing and the top manufacturers are adept at convincing us to upgrade. The question that always crops up is: “What should you do with your old Android phone?”

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You’ve got lots of options, some obvious, some generous, and some imaginative. Let’s take a look.

1. Find a buy-back service

For a hassle-free time you can try an online service that buys used smartphones. In the UK Envirofone is good, stateside you might want to try Gazelle or Swappa, but there are plenty of others out there. The basic premise is that you can check on the site what they’ll pay for your phone and send it by freepost. They’ll test it and, assuming it is as described, pay you the agreed price. You can usually opt to be paid in various ways.

They are obviously aiming to make a profit out of this arrangement so you won’t get the best price possible and they won’t buy any phone. Try a few services to find the best price.

2. Sell it online yourself


If you don’t mind a bit more work arranging the sale then you can probably get a better price by selling somewhere like eBay, Craigslist, or Gumtree, but never send the device until you have been paid.

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3. Trade it in

You’ll find a lot of big online retailers and even manufacturers run buy-back programs where they offer a guaranteed return for specific models of smartphone. The catch with these deals is that you have to buy a new phone or something else from them. These deals usually pay a bit more than straightforward buy-back programs because you’re buying a new device (but don’t assume this is the case).

Samsung offers a deal like this where you send them proof of a new Samsung Galaxy device purchase and they’ll give you cash for your old phone.  There’s also Amazon’s Electronics Trade-In which pays out in Amazon Gift Cards. It always pays to compare the prices offered in a few places before pulling the trigger on a deal.

4. Give it to a relative

If your old Android smartphone is out of

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contract just buy a new SIM and you can give it to one of your kids, your partner, or even one of your parents.

Assuming they aren’t well equipped with a smartphone already this is a nice way of getting a little extra life out of your device and spreading a little joy.

You could even just forget about using it as a phone and let your kids have it as a gaming device and mini-TV.

5. Donate it

There are various options if you want to turn your old Android smartphone into a charitable donation. In the U.S. you’ll find campaigns like Verizon’s HopeLine which supports victims of domestic abuse, Hope Phones which is dedicated to health workers, or Cell Phones for Soldiers.


There are also schemes to equip the elderly with smartphones for emergencies and you’ll also find that many schools will accept working smartphones and repurpose them for use in education.

There are lots of other options worldwide and many established charities will accept smartphone donations.

6. Recycle it

Since e-waste is a growing problem some governments have put pressure on manufacturers and carriers to take responsibility for the devices they sell.


You’ll actually find that the majority of manufacturers and carriers do offer some kind of recycling scheme, but they don’t always go out of their way to publicize it.

By returning your device through one of these recycling schemes you can ensure that it is disposed of safely, that as many components and materials as possible are reused, and that landfill is kept to a minimum.

7. Use it as a remote

With the right apps you can control your computer, console, or home theater gear. You could even look into home automation. Your old Android phone can be a really handy remote control that will work from anywhere in the house. You could also use it to stream content to other rooms with the right set up.

8. Use it as a hotspot

If you need Wi-Fi access somewhere you don’t currently have it then your old Android smartphone could always serve out its days as a hotspot.

9. Turn it into a server

You could use it to stream content and share files, or even make it a proxy server to secure public Wi-Fi. If you can find a use for a portable webserver then your old Android phone is up to the job. You can find a tutorial on how to do it posted on YouTube by XDA.

10. More ideas for your old Android phone

Since smartphones are great convergence devices with loads of functionality you can make your old phone into a dedicated device for any one of those features – gaming, reading, photography, music, navigation, or even use it as an alarm clock. You could keep it in the car for entertainment, or as an emergency device. You could use it as portable storage. It could become a decent Wi-Fi phone with Google Voice. You could even use it as a baby monitor or a webcam.

The majority of features are likely going to be available on your new phone too, but what about situations when you don’t want to risk your new phone? An old Android phone could be great for working out or for outdoor activities where you’d rather leave your new device safely at home. You can just switch your SIM card for the day.

That’s it for now, but you have other suggestions for what to with an old Android phone then share them in the comments.

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