How to get the most out of your old iPhone

Oct 7, 2014

As the weeks pass since the debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, there are less opportunities to get significant money from your old devices. For those of you who are now using a newest model iPhone, there is no reason to sell your older one for peanuts or shove it into a […]

As the weeks pass since the debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, there are less opportunities to get significant money from your old devices.

For those of you who are now using a newest model iPhone, there is no reason to sell your older one for peanuts or shove it into a drawer. Get creative, and realize that long in the tooth iPhone 5 (or event) ancient iPhone 4 has more computing power in it than just about anything you’ve ever owned. In fact, iPhones released within the last four years have more computing power than supercomputers had 20 years ago. Further, that old iPhone 4 you have lying around has four times the processing power as NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover. This is strong stuff!

Just because a phone is no longer connected to a cellular plan doesn’t mean it can’t connect to the Internet or other networks via WiFi. And you can still enjoy the majority of the apps and games, and basically all of the songs and videos you purchased from iTunes and/or loaded on older generation devices.

Here are the four best ways to get the most out of your old iPhone.

Home entertainment remote control center

As we mentioned, the vast majority of apps and other media downloaded to an older iPhone is still operable. An old iPhone basically has the same functionality as an iPod touch. In addition to plugging headphones into your phone for a workout or viewing and listening to shows and songs from the device, you can wirelessly connect to most home speaker systems, an Apple TV, or other Smart TVs. I use older iPhones and iPads as remote controls for my Apple TV. This has a better and more controllable interface than the still not ready for prime time pre-installed Apple TV software.

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A process called AirPlay Mirroring allows me to transmit anything on my iPhone 4 or later and iPad 2 or later to Apple TV. Android phones work similarly with Google’s Chromecast interactive TV chip.

For music, I can run Spotify, Pandora, Songza from iPhone through my home entertainment system. For television, I love to use Showyou, which is a free app that showcases all the videos shared by your Facebook and Twitter friends (along with other channels from major and niche broadcast networks).

Home Security

Did you know that you can turn your old iPhone or iPad into a video camera that can monitor any point or room in your home throughout the day while you are at home or away? You can use this for general security, monitoring pets, or keeping an eye on the kids.

An app called Presence – Smartphone Security lets users set this up without fuss. Free to download with monthly subscription fees, Presence needs to be installed on at least two devices for it to work properly. Download it to the newest device you carry around with to see video feeds in real time. The feeds come from one or more older iPhones you have situated around the house, which is far less creepy and more cost effective than hidden cameras in stuffed animals. Note that all of these devices will need to be connected to WiFi (or in the case of your new phone a cellular network) in order to work reliably. Also make sure that the older phones serving as cameras are fully charged and/or plugged in somewhere.

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Learning Tool

Many kids salivate at the availability of an older iPhone as they can play all of the games they enjoy on the iPod touch. While we are big fans of fun and games, know that iPhones (like iPads) are revolutionary learning tools. There are tens of thousands of educational apps available for early childhood, K-thru-12 and higher learning. Like with the iPad, many apps are designed to teach students specific lessons around Common Core State Standards, Advanced Placement Tests, and college entry exams. The trick, of course, is finding which apps are the most relevant for your kid, and his or her grade level and areas of study. At appoLearning, we showcase the best iPhone apps for learning by age group, and publish expert evaluations and report cards for all of our selections.

Second Screen Experience

Many of our favorite television shows invite viewers to contribute to the conversation on Twitter and other social networks. Viewing what others are saying on a second screen is also great for topical events like the upcoming elections, awards shows, or sporting events. Let your old iPhone serve as a viewing companion of sorts to learn what others are saying about what you are watching on the bigger screen.

In addition to Twitter and Facebook, fun “second screen apps include Beamly TV (play along games tied to what you’re watching), Team Coco (bonus footage from Conan O’Brien’s show), and Shazam (identifies songs, casts, and other information from shows and commercials you are watching).

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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