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What to Do with Old Phones, Cameras, Laptops, and Tablets

Electronic waste is a big problem, one that is getting worse: We now produce 21 percent more e-waste worldwide than we did five years ago. When it comes to gadgets like phones, your brand new model is likely to be replaced in a year, and sometimes not.

That is why it is worth thinking twice about what you do with your old gadgets whenever something new comes along. You may be surprised at how many ways you can reuse an old piece of hardware, even though it is many years old and has become too slow to properly perform its original function.

These are some of our favorite ideas, but there are many more – with a little imagination, you can come up with something new.

Make an Old Phone or Tablet With a Security Camera

When a smartphone comes to life with its usefulness, do not throw it away. There are many working tech out there that can fulfill other roles. One of these functions is as a security camera, providing an always in video feed that you can tap on using another phone from anywhere else in the world.

To set it up you will probably need some kind of tripod or mount, unless you want to be creative with books and ornaments. You̵

7;ll also need some software: Manything and Alfred offer both Android and iOS apps for work, and more. This is simply a question of installing the relevant app and following the instructions.

It works for tablets as well, of course, even setting them up and in position can be a bit tricker due to the extra size. Keep in mind that many phones and tablets are waterproof now, so it can work outdoors — even if your mobile device needs to stay connected to a power supply at all times.

Turn an Old Phone or Tablet into a Media Remote

Over the past few years we have seen a stir of new wireless streaming protocols that have come and expanded in scope. Think about how many ways you have to stream media wirelessly today, including Apple AirPlay, Google’s Chromecast system, the apps Sonos provides with its speakers, and more iba.

This means for your old phone or tablet you can use it as a dedicated media remote or hub. Keep an old iPad next to your Apple TV for lighting shows and movies, or keep an old Android tablet next to your dong Chromecast for streaming Spotify or YouTube playlists here.

It frees your phone from work, which means less than a strain on battery life, and it also means that everyone in the family can pick up the device and start streaming, without worrying about login or lock screens.

Control your Spotify devices with a dedicated device.

David Nield via Spotify

Use an Old Laptop as a Media Center

On a related note, old laptops can be repurposed as media centers, storing your videos and music, ready to be streamed around your home. This is an easy task, so it suits older hardware, and it means you can keep a lot of hard drive space free on your new laptop as well.

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