It seems like just yesterday we were all being promised amazing new technology and the best phone yet with the release of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. But like youth, technology is fleeting. And so here we are again, this time on the verge of complete iPhone 7 pandemonium. Anxious Mac-lovers are already plotting lineup survival at their local Apple stores so they can be among the first to get their hands on the new devices when it goes on sale September 16, effectively stashing away their old ones to gather techno-dust.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If you’re among those who are looking to upgrade your phone, here are just a few things you can do with your old device.
Transform it into an alarm clock
Naw, we’re not talking about just setting the “Clock” function every night. Download one of the many alarm clock apps out there, and personalize it depending on what kind of a sleeper you are. Need to know that the apocalypse is coming in order to wake up in the morning? There are now apps that won’t stop ringing until you take a picture of a predetermined object, walk around, flip the phone a certain way or scan your toothpaste barcode. Alternatively, if you’re feeling okay with your morning routine you may want to consider beefing it up with some personalized music, a progressive alarm or a voiceover reminding you of all the big things you have coming up that day. The possibilities are basically endless. Invest in a cool little stand or decorate the device to match your room, then prop it up on your night table to explore them all.
The universal remote
Technology is pretty crazy these days—at least, we think it is, given all the things you can now control from one little device. Think about it: you can turn on your TV, program your PVR, adjust the temperature, close your blinds and set some mood music all from your couch. If you’ve been looking to get rid of all those clunky remotes hanging around your coffee table, maybe now’s the time to sync everything up on your phone once and for all. You’ll be the Phil Dunphy of your neighbourhood in no time.
A voice recorder
If you’ve ever wanted to keep track of a conversation or pull a Louis Litt and send yourself or your assistant voice memos, here’s the perfect opportunity to put those dreams into practice. Audio Memosis a pretty cool (and free!) app that allows you to attach pictures, edit specific parts of your memo and share them fairly easily with anyone who may need access. Meanwhile, Voice Recorder (also free!) allows you to trim your recordings, skip backwards or forwards and even slow down the recording if you ever need to make a transcription.
Got a new bundle of joy in the house and need to keep track of him or her? Why sink another couple hundred dollars into a baby monitor when you can just as easily transform your old phone into one? Plus, it takes up much less space in the diaper bag when you’re on the go. All you need to do is download an app on the old phone (Cloud Baby Monitor is about five bucks), plug it in to preserve battery life and then place it in the nursery or wherever your child happens to be. Sync it with the app on your new phone and presto! Watch that baby from anywhere—work, the gym or on the road (it should go without saying that someone still needs to be home, of course). For safety reasons, just be sure to verify all of the app’s privacy settings before putting it into practice and make sure your network has a strong password.
Maybe you don’t have a kid but you want to keep an eye on your house? No one would blame you—after all, you probably have a lot of technology and personal items in there that needs protecting. But instead of investing tons of money on a fancy security system, transform your old phone into a security cam instead. The Manything app is free and it allows you to access your video either on your new phone or online through its website.
A digital camera
Sure, sure… the new iPhone has a much better camera, but how often have you said there are way too many photos on your phone and not nearly enough space? If you dedicate the old phone to camera-only purposes you’ll free up loads of space for other cool things on your new phone. Plus there are tons of cool camera lenses out there you can invest in to really beef up the quality of your pics and videos. (And they cost a lot less than a whole new camera with accessories.)
Why purchase a GoPro when you can use your old camera to capture all of your crazy stunts instead? After all, if it gets damaged who cares—you’ve got a shiny new phone to play with. Strap it onto a helmet, buy a waterproof case and start snorkelling, walk beside a swimming pool… basically, do all the things you were afraid to do with your phone before you got a new one. You’ll feel like such a daredevil, you crazy kid, you.
A permanent cookbook
How many times have we found recipes that we’ve loved, and swore we’d print them out but never did? Or we did take the time to print them out, only to have them mould from the leftover butter that got on the corner of the page? If you like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and constantly source recipes, consider transforming your old phone into a permanent cookbook. It’s less bulky than the books that would take up your counter space, and you can clean it a lot more easily with one little wipe. If you do go this route, keep us in mind the next time you’re cooking up a storm and save us some leftovers, pretty please.
A less clunky lamp
Who needs to buy an actual lamp when you could plug your old phone in and light up the room instead? Seriously, have you ever turned the flashlight function on in a dark room? It works. An iPhone is less bulky than your traditional lamp, which means it won’t take up unnecessary table or floor space. Plus there are plenty of cool accessories out there that can help transform your former phone into a new talking piece. That way, every time you flip it on you can invoke your inner “Anchorman” and quip “I love lamp.”
A vehicle tracker
Feeling particularly stalker-ish? Want to keep track of an ex, a friend, a spouse, child or friend? Or maybe you’re just feeling paranoid about your car getting stolen and want the reassurance that you can find it in a pinch. Whatever your jam, you can use your old iPhone as a vehicle tracker. All you need to do is download the “Find My Phone” app and then hide the device somewhere in the car (or in plain sight if you’d prefer). Presto! A vehicle tracker for all your tracking needs. (Editor’s Note: we’re not actually endorsing stalking here, just saying that it’s merely a possibility.)
Create your own museum
Maybe you’re the type of person who has upgraded your phone every single time a new one has been made available. Either you have a lot of money to burn, or you have a serious addiction to cool new things. No judgement, but if you love the phones that much, why not showcase that love with your own mini iPhone museum? Grab a shadowbox, a shelf, a giant picture frame or any other display-type piece and arrange the phones in order by release date. If you’re feeling particularly crafty you could even create little placards for each one. Hey, art is expensive—you might as well adorn your walls with the things that you truly love.