Community Challenge 6: New Year, New phone... What do you do with the old phone?


I use the old phones for security cameras. I have a total of four and have them placed in windows around the house. That way I can take advantage of BOTH front and rear cameras on each phone. I have four outside views, and four inside views. Using the Android app “Athome”, I can monitor the “security cameras” from anywhere as long as I have a data signal. It was very interesting to watch the happenings around our house from 250 miles away during hurricane Florence after we had to evacuate.


How I use my old phones:

  1. Turn them into WiFi-enabled home monitors to watch my mailbox and front porch so I know when I got a package/mail delivered. I use the free version of IVideon (
  2. Use the phone as a camera when working on the car. I can reach my phone into places where my head can’t go and start shooting pictures. I am not worried about dirt and oil when using the old phone or if I get butter fingers and drop it.
  3. If the phones are still able to connect to Republic, I have set them up for relatives (think my folks, grandparents,etc) and let them try it for a month as a pretty cheap way to see if they take a liking to it and if they have good connectivity where they live.




If I had a Defy XT, there are two things I would want to do with it. First, I would want to turn it into a wifi extender for my house. My bedroom is a floor up and at the opposite corner of the house, so there are times where I lose wifi on my phone or computer and have to reconnect. The second thing is somehow make it into a file server. I like how accessible services like Dropbox and Google Drive are, but having my own little cloud storage would be pretty cool. I doubt the phone has a lot of space, so I would have to figure out how to give it some storage so it could function as a cloud server. How exactly I would go about this I don’t know, but given enough research I could probably pull both off fairly easily.


–Use for old apps
Sometimes apps won’t run on newer OS’s. Keep it around to use your outdated apps.(I kept one for our Christmas countdown timer in case the app goes stagnant)
–911 spare
Keep in area you might fall, in a glove compartment, or a place you meet in case of fire.
–Security Camera
I used an app called peephole that actually took pictures and emailed you when it sensed motion. There are other apps that take video but I liked the full resolution photos personally.
–Time lapse camera
A few apps will take time lapse videos (great for snow)
–Land fill pollution
Not a good idea!


Living in an area with no FM stations to my liking, I’ll wifi stream through the aux port on my stereo my favorite internet radio stations.


Well, for “best use” I’ll tell you what I DID with my first ever (awww!) smartphone…my original Moto X. I kept it for as backup phone when I bought the OG Pixel (still love it!). Thing is, my brother (unknown to me) was researching getting his first smartphone last year and being the uh, Thrifty (we’re cheap) kinda guys we are. He found Republic Wireless (like I did)! So I offered him my Moto X to try!
I now have no backup phone because my bro loved the Moto X and being on the old Refund plan so much he wanted to keep it. Well That’s kind of a happy ending lol… at least for my bro and RW :yum:


There are a few models that I think are best as skeet by now.


I’ve got plenty of uses for old phones
First I’ve reused 2 ‘dumb’ phones as kid phones. I’ve reactivated them on pre-paid services so that my kids can have phones that do not have internet access and still be able to call us.

At home I’ve replaced the landline phone with old smart phones using VOIP. Either Republic or Google Voice over wifi only.

I also use the old phones as remotes for ChromeCast or Android TV.

I also allow the kids to hack older phones, trying ROMS and what not.

Finally, once the phones are too old to do anything really useful, they become part of the decor of my nerd cave, a history of smart phones from the OG Motorola Droid forward. These tips get harder as phones no longer have replaceable batteries.


When my newborn would get fussy, I used to have to leave my iPad or phone in the room with her to have lullabies playing, leaving me either without my iPad or phone. Not long after, my phone started having battery issues, so I upgraded. I was so excited that I could leave my old phone plugged in in her room to play lullabies while she slept without having to be without my phone or iPad, which I used to catch up on things while she slept.


Best option for old phone? Consider donating them to your local school. I have pulled together donations of old phones and discounted virtual reality headsets to create a VR kit for my classroom! My students can use Google Expeditions and 360 videos online to visit places around the world and events in history.


I have eBayed more than a couple of the old ones.

I saw that some folks used them as remotes for Chromecast.

They’ll also work for Roku boxes. And if you have a newer Roku or a system that supports Miracast you can also cast to a TV to watch movies or other content.


I turned my old smart phone into a zone phone for work. To do this I downloaded the app Avaya one-X. Now my old phone works as a zone phone with the hospital’s zone phone network. It sets up the phone directory in my phone with in the app. I can make outside calls within the app so even though I am calling from my old cell phone it appears to the person on the receiving end that I am calling from my work’s number. It is a lot smaller than the zone phones my employer offered and I am able to use the WiFi and internet on it which is super convenient. If there is a subscription fee for Avaya one-X I am not sure. My employer would pay that.


I use my old MOTO X for a mini tablet.
First I reset it to wipe out everything.
Second, set it up with no phone, but only wi-fi use.
Set up NordVPN
Set up Facebook
Removed Facebook from all other portable / wi-fi devices
Now I can use facebook without it (successfully ) tracking my location and telephone activity etc. (What do you mean, ‘Paranoid’ ? )
For most ‘casual’ use, I find the MOTO X Camera more usable than the one in my new MOTO Gs Plus. Sometimes, more pixels can be a hindrance when you really don’t need that level of resolution.
The MOTO X remains an excellent unit with its only shortcoming (to me) being its lack of micro SD Card support.


My local library collects old phones to donate. They are given to senior citizens and people who could not otherwise afford a phone. I believe there is also a collection site at the police department.


I thought about using an old phone as a dash cam in my car. The only problem is most of the apps require android 4 and above, so that eliminates the Defy XT which is on gingerbread (2.3x).
The only thing I worry about using these old phones is all the security exploits they entail. It is one of the reasons I recently upgraded. Great contest, I have learned a lot from the other community members!


Thanks for all the great ideas shared here. I am a teacher and like to promote community service and environmental awareness to students, so one way to support a good cause and help the environment at the same time is to donate old cell phones to a charity. The Wounded Warrior Project makes donating easy, and you’ll get free shipping if you send 3 or more phones. See:

It is so important to keep phones (and other electronics) out of landfills or from being shipped to China to be recycled where e-waste is a health disaster in the making.


I’ll enter into Option 2.

I’m a computer programmer by hobby and trade (well, soon, hopefully). My idea for a DEFY XT would be to install a full, working version of Linux on the device. Then, I can use it to program in C and C++ (using the gcc compiler), create BASH shell scrips, and maybe even program in Python if there’s enough space left on the disk for Python. I have an old Bluetooth keyboard that I’ll connect to type. I’ll be able to use the device as a full computer, but on a tiny and portable device! This is a pretty interesting and slightly complicated project that I’ll be able to complete if selected!


I would try to put a Defy XT to use. As a teacher, there are times where an extra WiFi device could be helpful in the classroom. After making sure this device was secure and safe (lock it down with a filter of some sort) and connecting it to WiFi, it could be used for a variety of purposes in my classroom. It could be used as a reward for students who finish work early to use educational apps (if they are able to run on this phone). It could also serve as a supplemental camera for video/photo projects for students. Sometimes during review time, if we do a Kahoot challenge it helps to let students in the back of the room use a device like this to help them answer questions more quickly. These are some ideas I have for potentially putting a Defy XT to use in a classroom.


I would keep my old phone as a back up. I might try to test out some cool uses like turning it into an ip cam or something or a web cam.