7 cool things to do with an old iPhone

You've got yourself a shiny brand new iPhone - but what do you do with your old iPhone? Here, we list some of the best ways to breathe life into your old iPhone, and give it a new purpose in life

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  • iPhone models
  • Trade in or recycle
  • Media player
  • Remote
  • Gift
  • Baby monitor
  • Security camera
  • Sports and rain
  • More stories
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Things to do with an old iPhone: iPhone models

You've got yourself a shiny brand new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus – but what do you do with your old device? While many iPhone owners will sell their old iPhone or give it to a family member or friend, there are many other options available to you - from trading it in for a few pounds, to using it as a security camera. Here, we list some of the best ways to breathe life into your old iPhone, and give it a new purpose in life. Also see: How to sell your old iPhone.

It's first important to identify your iPhone model - see our dedicated article, to figure out Which iPhone do I have.

In autumn 2016, Apple made the iPhone 4 obsolete, which means the phone will feature in its vintage and obsolete product list. This means the iPhone 4 will no longer be 'eligible for hardware service, beyond a few exceptions' - as mentioned by MacRumours.

Looking at the iPhone models and comparing them - here is our advice on what to do with each model:

1st gen, released 29 June 2007: If you've still got one around, it might be worth keeping it as it will become a collectors item one day!

3G, released 11 July 2008: An old classic - we suggest keeping it for a rainy/field day - as this model was one of the best ever built iPhones.

3GS, released 19 June 2009: Just like the 3G, the phone is built like a tank. Save this one for a tough mudder challenge.

4, released 24 June 2010: Recently made obsolete, we therefore wouldn't suggest it as a phone - as you won't get the necessary hardware or software support from Apple. Give the phone to a relative or use it as a media player (among other things mentioned in this article).

4S, released 14 October 2011: A well-built phone and step-up over the iPhone 4, but its time is soon coming - we suggest using it as a security camera of sorts - or a music player.

5, released 21 September 2012: Unfortunately this phone was just before the inclusion of TouchID, it would however make a great phone for a younger sibling or family member without a touch-based smartphone.

5C, 5S, released 20 September 2013: Solid phones, especially the 5S which features TouchID - we suggest keeping these phones as relatively cheap throw-away phones.

6 / 6 Plus, released 19 September 2014: A great phone with a huge list of functionalities - keep this as a secondary phone or use it as your primary one.

6S / 6S Plus, released 25 September 2015: The 2015 iPhones are widely used and highly respected - unlike the new iPhone 7 line, they have a headphone jack - and that serves it purpose on its own!

SE, released 31 March 2016: Also a fantastic phone to keep and use - either as a backup or as your primary phone.

7 / 7 Plus, released 16 September 2016: This is a brand new phone - keep it, unless you get tired of the removal of the headphone jack.

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You've got yourself a shiny brand new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus – but what do you do with your old device? While many iPhone owners will sell their old iPhone or give it to a family member or friend, there are many other options available to you - from trading it in for a few pounds, to using it as a security camera. Here, we list some of the best ways to breathe life into your old iPhone, and give it a new purpose in life. Also see: How to sell your old iPhone.

It's first important to identify your iPhone model - see our dedicated article, to figure out Which iPhone do I have.

In autumn 2016, Apple made the iPhone 4 obsolete, which means the phone will feature in its vintage and obsolete product list. This means the iPhone 4 will no longer be 'eligible for hardware service, beyond a few exceptions' - as mentioned by MacRumours.

Looking at the iPhone models and comparing them - here is our advice on what to do with each model:

1st gen, released 29 June 2007: If you've still got one around, it might be worth keeping it as it will become a collectors item one day!

3G, released 11 July 2008: An old classic - we suggest keeping it for a rainy/field day - as this model was one of the best ever built iPhones.

3GS, released 19 June 2009: Just like the 3G, the phone is built like a tank. Save this one for a tough mudder challenge.

4, released 24 June 2010: Recently made obsolete, we therefore wouldn't suggest it as a phone - as you won't get the necessary hardware or software support from Apple. Give the phone to a relative or use it as a media player (among other things mentioned in this article).

4S, released 14 October 2011: A well-built phone and step-up over the iPhone 4, but its time is soon coming - we suggest using it as a security camera of sorts - or a music player.

5, released 21 September 2012: Unfortunately this phone was just before the inclusion of TouchID, it would however make a great phone for a younger sibling or family member without a touch-based smartphone.

5C, 5S, released 20 September 2013: Solid phones, especially the 5S which features TouchID - we suggest keeping these phones as relatively cheap throw-away phones.

6 / 6 Plus, released 19 September 2014: A great phone with a huge list of functionalities - keep this as a secondary phone or use it as your primary one.

6S / 6S Plus, released 25 September 2015: The 2015 iPhones are widely used and highly respected - unlike the new iPhone 7 line, they have a headphone jack - and that serves it purpose on its own!

SE, released 31 March 2016: Also a fantastic phone to keep and use - either as a backup or as your primary phone.

7 / 7 Plus, released 16 September 2016: This is a brand new phone - keep it, unless you get tired of the removal of the headphone jack.

 

7 things to do with an old iPhone: Trade it in or recycle

The first option in our list of possibilities for old iPhones is probably the most sensible: trade it in, or recycle it. Apple offers its own trade-in service (aptly named the Apple Reuse and Recycle Program) where you can trade in your old iPhone (or iPad, Mac - even 'eligible' PCs and smartphones) either in store or online, which makes it an easy and accessible option. If you're looking to trade in your old iPhone, you may even make a few pounds towards your next Apple product.

Apple pledges to take any and all electrical devices for recycling, if you bring them to an Apple Store. They don't need to be Apple-branded. But if you've got an iPhone (or certain models of iPhone, at any rate), the company will give you a gift certificate so you can get a little money off your next purchase; it will also send you a prepaid postage label so you can send it to them for free. This applies to the iPhone 4 and later. 

The money you'll get varies from case to case (depending on the condition of the phone). Contact Apple via its recycling policy page and see what your old handset is worth.

If you've got an original iPhone, iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS, Apple will still recycle the device for you but doesn't offer any money, and you need to take it into an Apple Store. If that doesn't appeal, read the rest of our article for some more ideas.

 

7 things to do with an old iPhone: Use it as a media player

Another option for an aging (but still working) iPhone is to use it as a media player. The iPhone was described as an iPod that made calls in its early days, so why not indulge the haters and use an old iPhone as an iPod? Plus, why stop at storing music on the old iPhone? Depending on the storage available, it could store your music collection along with any movies and photos you want to keep safe.

Using your old iPhone as a media player is an interesting option because it will free up space on your new phone that’d otherwise be used to store your media, and also prolong the battery life of your new phone due to the fact you wouldn’t be listening to music/watching videos on it.

 

7 things to do with an old iPhone: Use it as a remote

While some Android devices feature an IR blaster that can be used to control TVs, the iPhone doesn't boast the same feature. While it may mean that your old iPhone won't double up as a TV remote, it can still double up as a remote for your Apple TV or iTunes library. Simply download and install the official Apple Remote app from the App Store and you'll be able to connect to and control your Apple TV - ideal for when you misplace the supplied remote.

It doesn't stop with the Apple TV either - the Remote app can also be set up to control playback via iTunes, meaning you have the freedom to wander around while still being able to control your music at the touch of a button.

 

7 things to do with an old iPhone: Gift it to friends or family

We’ve all been in situations where younger siblings (or children in general) have asked to play games on our iPhones, and deep down we all know we’re reluctant to hand over our prized possessions. Here comes the old iPhone to save the day – instead of handing over your brand new iPhone 6s, load up a handful of kids games and apps and hand them your old iPhone.

You won’t worry as much about what they’re doing, and the no doubt sticky state you’d get it back in. Couple it with a heavy-duty iPhone case and you’ll have a permanent solution in your pocket.

 

7 things to do with an old iPhone: Use it as a baby monitor

Of course, there are other options available to you that utilise the on-board hardware of your old iPhone. For example, many apps on the App Store (like Cloud Baby Monitor) can turn your old iPhone into a baby monitor, complete with a live video feed that can be accessed on another iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Depending on the app, you could set up motion and noise alerts, as well as play lullabies if/when the baby wakes up. Considering that baby monitors with built-in video and audio can cost upwards of £50, the combination of an old iPhone and a £3 app seems like a smarter, budget friendly option.

 

7 things to do with an old iPhone: Use it as a security camera

As well as using your iPhone for a baby monitor, why not use your old iPhone as a security camera? In a similar way, users can strategically place old iPhones around their homes in lieu of an expensive connected security system - all you need is somewhere to plug the charger in! Presence is a free iOS app that turns your old iPhone into a camera, and sends a live video feed to your new phone (along with notifications) that'll help you secure your smartphone while you’re away.

 

7 things to do with an old iPhone: Save it for a field day

Of course, even if you don't want to do any of that, you always have the option of keeping the iPhone in a safe place, ready for a rainy day. That way, if you ever break/lose your precious new iPhone, you can restore from an existing backup and not be away from a phone for (too) long. Just leave it somewhere safe - and don’t forget about it!

Read next: How to reset an iPhone

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