Writer's Choice

3 Ways To Use Your Old iPhone After You Brought New iPhone


If your smartphone is shattered or short-circuiting, you can guiltlessly put it out of its misery and upgrade to the new iPhone 12. If, however, your old device is just a little passe, upgrading might leave you feeling conflicted. Are you really going to bury it alive?

Matty Benedetto, founder of the popular “Unnecessary Inventions" YouTube series, is eyeing alternatives. To motivate himself out of bed, he said, he’s considering stashing his old iPhone across the room as a backup alarm clock. Or, using it as a recipe reader to avoid coating his sparkling new device in cumin. More ambitiously, he wants to test the old phone’s water-resistance by using it as a shower speaker. Here, seven other ways to avoid being haunted by iPhones past.

1. Keep Your Media Libraries Secure

What’s an old iPhone if not a 64-, 128- or 256-GB hard drive? Malta-based site manager Adam Lumb keeps music backed up on a 32-GB phone as a way to safeguard songs from his youth—ones by local bands he bought on CDs, now largely unavailable on Spotify. “In most cases I have lost or broken the CDs, so it helps me guarantee that my library of old songs isn’t lost," he said.

2. Combat a Source of Travel Anxiety

If you’ve ever been pickpocketed in Rome or left your bag on a U-Bahn in Berlin, you know how quickly a lost phone ruins a vacation. Annalisa Nash Fernandez, a tech strategist in Greenwich, Conn., always keeps an old phone in her suitcase. “Buy a SIM card from a newspaper stand in Madrid and your future is reinstated," she said. “It restores lost access to your money, your reservations and your contacts."

3. Watch Out for Intruders

Instead of installing a pricey security system that beeps and blurts every time you leave your home, mount your out-of-use phone on a tripod near your front door to monitor activity. Webcam apps like Alfred Home Security Camera (premium for $30/year) can channel what they see to your new iPhone 12 and send motion alerts while you’re away without taking up storage space. The same apps can also function as higher-tech baby monitors than the static-y monstrosities of the past.