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A Pocket-Sized Wireless Router

10 Uses for Old Smartphones
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A small handful of Android devices (mostly the Nexus line), Jailbroken iPhones, and other rooted Android phones are all capable of being used as WiFi hotspots without the need to enable a hotspot service with your cell carrier. This may seem kind of pointless for a deactivated smartphone, but it’s not.

WiFi Tethering essentially turns your smartphone into a wireless router. When your phone has a data connection, it can share that connection with all of the other devices connected to it. When it doesn’t have a data connection, it still functions as a wireless router – or more accurately, as a switch.

In this sense, you can use WiFi Tethering to connect other wireless devices to each other, in other words, creating a quick and dirty LAN (Local Area Network). You can use this network to share files, play multiplayer games, and anything else you’d normally do with a LAN.

With a Jailbroken iPhone, the app you’ll want for this is MyWi, found in the Cydia app store. Rooted Android users will have the best luck with Android Wifi Tether. And for those lucky few on Android devices that don’t need to be rooted, simply go into the tethering settings and enable Portable Wifi Hotspot.

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  • 0 Hide
    math1337 , April 24, 2012 12:00 AM
    A router is pretty useless, because almost all modern computers can form an ad-hoc wireless network
  • 0 Hide
    quantumrand , April 24, 2012 12:23 AM
    math1337A router is pretty useless, because almost all modern computers can form an ad-hoc wireless network


    Keep in mind that ad-hoc wireless networks are a bit of a pain to set up (going in and manually setting ad-hoc mode, SSID, etc for each computer). You also cannot bridge an ad-hoc connection with a LAN connection, so if, for example, you wanted to use your old phone to create a wireless internet connection using perhaps an old laptop and a modem, you could; however, an ad-hoc network could not.

    It's certainly not the best use for an old smartphone, but if you find yourself making ad-hoc networks often or know you'll have the need for a portable router in the near future, it can be practical.
  • 0 Hide
    razor512 , April 24, 2012 2:26 AM
    ad-hoc networks are horrible to use in a home setting. Performance is poor, there are many more points of failure, and it is not very secure.

    if you feel your router is useless then you probably did not get around to installing tomato or dd-wrt yet

    Routers are basically low powered computers.
    with a proper firmware, you can get many useful functions.

    I currently use my router to also run a media server, and also download torrents along with functioning as a VPN server that I can connect to when on the go or if I need to use a untrusted wifi hotspot, I can simply openvpn into my home router and have a secure connection.

    In addition to all of that, I also have an external hard drive connected to it (the tomato firmware storage driver allows for the spinning down of hard drives, so I can leave that connected and perform whole disk backups using acronis true image.

    The main feature I am waiting for them to add to tomato, is USB host support, kinda like what netgear uses for their routers for print sharing (the netgear print share is basically a USB host which simulates the device being directly connected to your PC, because of this, you can do things like build a poor mans slingbox by connecting an easycap to your router, then using the fios tv web remote app, VPN into your network andd watch live TV (can handle around 6MB/s of data so low bandwidth USB devices will work)



    still think a router is useless :) 
  • 2 Hide
    jolakas , April 24, 2012 2:28 AM
    What´s the meaning of this? Remind us exactly the functionality of a phone. Don’t dump your old phone, just use it like before.
  • 0 Hide
    christarp , April 24, 2012 6:56 AM
    Can someone remind me how keeping my old phone somehow removes the ability to do all of this on my new phone? Apart from the emergency calls I really don't see a point.
  • 0 Hide
    quantumrand , April 24, 2012 7:35 AM
    christarpCan someone remind me how keeping my old phone somehow removes the ability to do all of this on my new phone? Apart from the emergency calls I really don't see a point.


    The main thing is that keeping your old phone makes it so that you don't HAVE to use your new phone to do these things. For instance, you don't have to fiddle with your new phone every time you get in the car in order to hook it up to your car dock for GPS/music (heck, if you already have a car dock for you old phone, it means you don't have to buy a new one for your new phone). You can keep your old phone by the side of your bed as an e-Reader or use it on a trip so that you're not draining your new phone's battery. The same holds true when using it as a gaming device.

    Plus, who's to say you're the one using your old phone? A lot of people might have kids (other family, friends, etc) that could get use out of a deactivated smartphone.
  • 0 Hide
    razor512 , April 24, 2012 8:01 AM
    jolakasWhat´s the meaning of this? Remind us exactly the functionality of a phone. Don’t dump your old phone, just use it like before.


    think about it this way, if you get a new phone and stop using your old phone, then it becomes useless. But if you upgrade to a new phone but still use your old phone as your primary phone, then your old phone will remain useful.... hmm that doesn't seem right :) 

    anyway, if you have an old android phone with GPS, then get a copy of navigon software for it, it does not require a data plan and it is in my opinion, the best GPS app for android. with that, you can just get a dash mount for the old phone then you have a GPS for your car that performs better than any of the currently available PNA's, A android phone + nagivon software is cheaper and offers a faster CPU and more RAM than a overpriced PNA
  • 0 Hide
    hoofhearted , April 24, 2012 3:41 PM
    Maybe this is just specific to me, but the iPhone 3GS is pretty useless. I have 5.0.1 on it, and when I take the SIM card out, it puts a message "No SIM Card Installed" and continually reboots every two minutes. And then if I plug in my daughter "phone only" SIM card, AT&T automatically adds a $30/month dataplan to your bill, which take much fighting to get removed.

    Does jailbreaking or unlocking take care of this? Does anyone else offer SIM cards without a monthly fee besides tmobile? Ideally a pay one price sime car with minutes on it and you pay more when you want to add more minutes.
  • 0 Hide
    teddymines , April 24, 2012 6:18 PM
    This statement shocked me: "Most of us replace our smartphone every 18 to 24 months."

    With the economy the way it is, high smart phone prices, and some plans being close to $90/mo (I'm looking at the actual balance due on the bill), how can this be? Either some people are making pretty good money, or the news about the economy is exaggerated.
  • 1 Hide
    ShahJahan , April 24, 2012 6:50 PM
    I loved all the 11 of the 10 Uses for Old Smartphones.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 24, 2012 11:21 PM
    A phone that capable of to do those things properly ought not to be an old gadget already...
  • 1 Hide
    Northwestern , April 25, 2012 7:48 PM
    12: Storage Center

    If you can't afford a new or larger memory card then simply use your old phone's (Providing it is modern). Keep large media such as video and music on the old phone for storage and have easy access while saving the gigabytes on your primary phone. This is also useful when you are trying to do something on your primary phone like text or make a phone call while watching videos on your old phone.
  • 0 Hide
    quantumrand , April 25, 2012 10:58 PM
    teddyminesThis statement shocked me: "Most of us replace our smartphone every 18 to 24 months."With the economy the way it is, high smart phone prices, and some plans being close to $90/mo (I'm looking at the actual balance due on the bill), how can this be? Either some people are making pretty good money, or the news about the economy is exaggerated.


    It's because carriers subsidize smartphones when you sign that two-year agreement. It's a silly game the carriers play: every 18 to 24 months, you're eligible for an upgrade. You can buy a "$599" for just $199. Most people think it's an extreme bargain, and it would be if that $599 price weren't ridiculously inflated.

    Heck when it comes to the iPhone, people who are only a year into their contract the day it comes out will buy a second line just to get the two-year pricing. They don't even stop to think that the money they saved is pissed away in just 5 months, with a minimum of 7 months left to go on their original contract.

  • 1 Hide
    quantumrand , April 25, 2012 11:01 PM
    hoofheartedMaybe this is just specific to me, but the iPhone 3GS is pretty useless. I have 5.0.1 on it, and when I take the SIM card out, it puts a message "No SIM Card Installed" and continually reboots every two minutes. And then if I plug in my daughter "phone only" SIM card, AT&T automatically adds a $30/month dataplan to your bill, which take much fighting to get removed.Does jailbreaking or unlocking take care of this? Does anyone else offer SIM cards without a monthly fee besides tmobile? Ideally a pay one price sime car with minutes on it and you pay more when you want to add more minutes.


    This YouTube vid might be of help to you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V9rocy9AqQ
  • 0 Hide
    army_ant7 , April 28, 2012 3:02 PM
    I'm uneasy that it was recommended as an emulator in this article, for copyright infringement reasons. Not really trolling, but it could've been mentioned that you should at least have a legal copy of the game and a console (which your emulating) of your own. Even though it sounds like it defeats the purpose, you at least get the portability.
  • 0 Hide
    deicided , May 1, 2012 3:04 AM
    army_ant7I'm uneasy that it was recommended as an emulator in this article, for copyright infringement reasons. Not really trolling, but it could've been mentioned that you should at least have a legal copy of the game and a console (which your emulating) of your own. Even though it sounds like it defeats the purpose, you at least get the portability.



    This would be true if emulators weren't for sale by the companies themselves and the games...then again nintendo have their own nintendo emulator on the droid app store or atleast they used to
  • 0 Hide
    army_ant7 , May 3, 2012 3:25 PM
    Nice idea! Also Sony has it's own for the Xperia Plays and other to come (maybe just even an app itself for any Androids) not sure if this out yet though. I appreciated how they got some PS1 titles back for the PSP and PS3, but it's still not enough sometimes. *sigh* How we can only dream...
  • 0 Hide
    13felev , May 9, 2012 3:33 PM
    I'm planning to get the Samsung Galaxy S3 but keep on using my iPhone 4 as a back-up phone and as a mp3 player, cause I have so much music saved in it (including ringtones and similar) that I don't want to transfer to my new phone. Also I guess it will be easier to deal with iTunes with an iPhone, but I might be mistaken here.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 12, 2012 1:51 PM
    I'm using my old HTC not like server, but like rendere.
    I've installed there ArkMC program https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.arkudadigital.arkmc.gm ,then I've connected HTC to my Hi-Fi, and now just sending media from my PC to my HiFi. It works fine.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 13, 2012 6:36 AM
    oh here's one more thing you can do with your old cell........you can turn it into a wireless remote detonator....with a small soldering adjustment you can add a few wires and use the battery as a electrical charge. say for example you have an old tree stump in the backyard and you wanna try your homemade gelignite but don't wanna stand nearby while it goes off......you now can safely do it from the relative safety and comfort of 100's of km away
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