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Old technology ends up in silicon graveyards. Not our problem? Wrong. It’s very much our problem

 Jun 22, 2015    iPhone news & reviews  silicon graveyards, recycle your old phone, recycling the iphone, smartphone waste

Technology moves so quickly that today’s technology soon becomes yesterdays within just a few months.

This happens with everything, computers, tablets, and especially smart phones. Despite these items having an operating life span of years if looked after well, they simply end up in massive silicon graveyards in other parts of the world. Not our problem, hey? Wrong. It’s very much our problem, because we are contributing to a massive waste problem that exists throughout the world.

Silicon graveyards.

Imagine your family working in these silicon graveyards dismantling these used devices, trying to extract useful components and metals from the waste. Imagine how sick they get, how much poisoning they receive from the toxins within these components. It may not be your family, but it’s somebody elses family, and the sad thing is there are many villages in China where these dead devices are laid and extracted.

It’s sad, but it is so easily preventable. Do you really need the next latest thing? Take the example of smart phones again. What would a new device do that your old one cannot? Most of the time, the new device may operate a little faster. It might have a better camera on it. It might have a new special feature that sounds fantastic, but when you get it, you use it a couple of times for the novelty, and then never use it again.

Great, eh? And now you’re stuck in another contract, paying a new phone off over two years, for essentially the same thing you already had.

Ideas of what you can do with a used iPhone.

You’ve a few options. This article is going to give you several ideas of what you can do with a used smart phone. There’s plenty you can do with it if you put your mind to it. These ideas may generate new ideas for you to implement in other areas not discussed here. Keep an open mind. 

Idea 1

Ok, firstly, you can be sensible, look after your device, and keep it running for years. It does the same thing the new one does. It can text, allow you to keep up with your social media, it can enable you to surf the web, you can play games, run a few simple apps, and it can even let you make phone calls! A new phone can do that just the same too. Don’t get rid of your phone, keep it til it really dies.  If it does die or play up for any reason, get your phone repaired.

Idea 2

Or you have the next option. You can be selfish. You can buy a new phone, and be cool for the couple of days until every other person catches up. And you can throw your old phone away. Give those poor kids in some far away country some work in dismantling your perfectly fine phone, and contribute the demise of the planet. Who knows, your throw away phone may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back…

Idea 3

Idea 2 is a waste though. A serious waste. There’s so much else you can do with your old phone. You can give it to a member of your family. Or you could be really nice and donate it to a charity that deals in distributing used phones to more needy people. There’s plenty around, but if you go this route be sure to completely wipe the phone clean so none of your personal info remains.

The best way to do this is to firstly encrypt your phone. In Android devices, you can do this under Settings / Security. You’ll enter a password and then the data will be scrambled. Even if the next step, performing a factory reset doesn’t wipe everything, anyone trying to access what’s left will have to enter the password to decrypt what’s left. If you want to go further, load the newly reset phone with dummy data, and then repeat the previous steps. The more crap you put on it, the harder it becomes to find any relevant info. Anyway, this is beside the point, but security is important if you’re handing your phone on.

The next few points will go on to suggest keeping your phone and using it for other purposes. You’ll be amazed at what you can do with an old smart phone. So the biggest advice is to keep your phone.

Idea 4

A music system. The thing with older phones is while you are using them, storage is at a premium. Not only do have some tunes on the thing, but you have your apps, your contacts, your photos and so on. But, once the phone is no longer your main phone, wipe the memory, get as many apps off as you can, and then bundle as much of your music library onto it as you can.

Once done, you can pick up Bluetooth music systems to stream from the phone to the system, or simply plug into an existing hi-fi or amplifier, and you have a dedicated music system handling your entire collection.

You can even go a step further and put other media forms on as well depending on space, and your media system hook up. Stream movies directly to your tv from it, or set up a photo slideshow on your tv.

Idea 5

Camera system – add more and more around your home as your collection of iPhones increases. There are several apps that can be used to set up a home security system with any number of smart phone devices. What’s more, often these apps are non device specific, so if you do go from iPhone to Android or vice versa, you will still be able to monitor things.

For example, you could set an old iPhone up to stream your front room. An old Android phone could be set up to monitor your front yard. Another phone to monitor your kitchen. On your new phone (and any other phones your family members have), you can set up to receive these feeds, meaning you can be anywhere and still be able to keep an eye on your property. The beauty of this is it is totally free.

The applications are endless. Not only can you use it as a home security system, you can use it to keep an eye on your pets. How often have you come home to find a cushion destroyed? If you have more than one dog, you may wonder who the culprit is. With this system, you can keep an eye and finally find out.

A business owner can use this system to keep an eye on their business, and employees!

One of the best apps for this is the AtHome series. You’ll need the streamer (to record) and the viewer to see the captured video stream.

Also, you can use it as a baby monitor. Simply place a phone near the crib, and you’ll be able to check in on baby and make sure everything’s ok. Cloud Baby Monitor is one of the best apps to use for baby monitoring, and is available for a small fee.

Idea 6

Sick of using your scanner to scan documents? It does take a while and is very laborious as well as slowing your computer down.

Well, why not use an old phone instead? There’s some great apps out there that will allow you to use the camera on the phone, and then enable you to file the captured document away. Doc Scan and Genius Scan are just two apps that can enable you to achieve this goal. They allow you to photograph the document, then you allocate keywords and categories, where the docs are saved so you can find them again. You can upload these images to your computer or cloud space, and they will always be accessible to you wherever you are.

A true mobile filing cabinet.

Idea 7

How about using it as a media device for bedtime, where you can read books, play games, etc

They may say never look at a bright screen or tv before bed as it can upset your sleep pattern. What do they know? Next year, it’ll be the best thing you could ever do. Anyway, having an old phone next to you in bed can give you a lot of extra stuff to do. You can keep your entire book collection on it, play games, and even watch tv. Get yourself a Chromecast, or a smart tv and stream Youtube from your old phone to it via wi fi, or Netflix and Hulu.

And of course, if you and your partner are having a debate, google will be at hand to answer any question you are debating over!

Idea 8

Finally, if you have an older iPhone and can install iOS8 on it, you can use it as a line extension of your current phone. You will need to set it up on the same wi fi as your main iPhone, but then place the iPhones throughout your home, and whenever you get a call, even if your iPhone is somewhere else, you’ll be able to answer any of the other iPhones you have set up on your network.

There’s plenty of other things you can do with your old phones. The point is, although technology is changing continually, there’s really little wrong with your old phones. They can still have a use, and they can still provide quality usage. Why not explore some of these ideas, or even consider what else you could use your old phones for. You may be surprised, and not only will you be saving money, but also the environment too.