Like many of you (okay most of you), I eagerly await the arrival of the next generation of iPhones. We hear a lot of rumors, speculations, and hopes about the newest incarnation of the iPhone. What will it look like, feel like, and what cool new features it will have. But the truth is we just don’t know. What we do know is that a new iPhone is coming, hopefully, sooner rather than later.
My daydreaming about the new iPhone got me thinking about my current iPhone—my soon to be OLD iPhone. What will (or should) become of it? Should I sell it for cents on the dollar or find a new purpose for its existence?
Unless you have an iPhone Forever Plan (and even if you do), we all should give some thought as to what we should do about the iPhones that we no longer use.
- 1 Will a Robot Recycle or Renew?
- 2 What should I do with my no-longer-used iPhone or iDevice?
- 3 What does a Genius really do?
- 4 Hold on, What Did You Say?
- 5 It’s Time to Find a New Purpose
- 6 Creative Ways to Repurpose iPhone (or another iDevice)
- 7 Here’s a short list of some of the best ways to repurpose iPhone
- 8 Summary
Will a Robot Recycle or Renew?
Relatively recently, Apple replaced its’ “Repurpose and Recycle” trade-in program with a comprehensive program called “Renew.” The new program aims to give new life to the entire fleet of Apple products either by reuse or recycling. Along with the announcement of “Renew” came the unveiling of “Liam,” Apple’s 29-armed robot. Liam automatically disassembles returned and non-functioning iPhones. The goal is to salvage as many components as possible, so things like screws, batteries, cameras, and SIM card trays are precisely separated. This keeps the precious metals that make up these components away from the landfills. Once separated these things are viably recycled and made into something else. And that’s how we get to “Renew.”
“Liam” is really cool. And hopefully “Liam” will be a game-changer and inspire more companies to invest in this type of technology. As I write, “Liam” is in the prototype stage. That means that it’s an experiment in recycling technology and not a reality—yet. So that brings me back to my original question:
What should I do with my no-longer-used iPhone or iDevice?
That question danced around in my mind for the last few days, kinda driving me crazy. So finally this afternoon, I hit the pavement and visited my local Apple Store to find out how to “Renew” my iPhone, when its’ time comes. Here’s what I discovered:
What does a Genius really do?
The Apple Genius assured me that every iDevice turned in has its memory erased. So technically we don’t have to worry about someone getting our private info. I’m still resetting my iDevice, should I turn it into this program. I think you should too.
Depending on the state of the iDevice
- It might be sold again as second-hand
- It might end up with some of its components partially recycled
- It might get sent directly to a shredder
Hold on, What Did You Say?
Wait, a shredder? I don’t like the idea that my iPhone, iPad or any of my iDevices end their lives in a shredder. Most of us are turning in and recycling iPhones that work, that have potentially many more years of life. We just really want the new phone. And that’s okay. I want it too. But I also want to be responsible—to the environment, to society, to the universe. So what’s a girl to do when her good intentions of responsible “renewing” end up in the shredder, basically the wasteland of electronics?
The answer is so utterly simple. Instead of recycling, think of repurposing
It’s Time to Find a New Purpose
The most obvious way to repurpose iPhone is to give it away. Gift it to your child, to a friend, to a grandparent/parent, to a neighbor, to a charity…the list goes on. It’s easy to forget that your old iPhone is a New-To-You iPhone for someone else.
Reusing your old iPhone as an iPod Touch is another great way to repurpose—connecting via WiFi only. By reusing in this way, your old iPhone, now your New-To-You iPod Touch is extra storage for all those photos, videos, music, and other files you want to save somewhere. To repurpose iPhone this way, check out our article!
Creative Ways to Repurpose iPhone (or another iDevice)
Once I started to think about ways to repurpose my iPhone along with asking all my Apple ToolBox colleagues, all my friends, and pretty much anyone I meet what they do, really fresh and creative ideas began stacking up.
Here’s a short list of some of the best ways to repurpose iPhone
Ways to Repurpose iPhone at Home
- Go old school and use it as your music player like an original iPod! Use it at home and in the car without draining your phone battery
- Use it as a baby monitor using the Baby Monitor 3G or Cloud Baby Monitor app and similar. Even check on baby via your Apple Watch!
- Keep an eye on your home and use it as a security camera by using third-party apps
- Keep it bedside for watching late night movies, listening to the radio/music/sounds during bedtime, or use as your wakeup alarm clock and even as a sleep monitor
- Track your workout, diet, blood pressure, weight, and other health information with health monitor apps
- Keep it in the kitchen as your digital cookbook, shopping list, and calorie counter
- Use it as a remote control for your TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and other entertainment devices
Ways to Repurpose iPhone on-the-go
- Record all your thoughts, notes, memos, and lists with a voice recorder app or record conversations with your loved ones, so the next generation gets to know their ancestors and record videos of them too! Just remember that videos take up A LOT (I mean a lot-lot) of storage space
- Use it in the car as a GPS, even without a data connection by downloading maps onto your device via your WiFi network before you hit the road. Use apps such as Google Maps, Tom Tom USA, CoPilot GPS, ForeverMap, NavFree USA, and Hudway (which displays your route by reflecting onto your windshield at night or in low visibility conditions)
- Make it your dedicated e-Reader with apps like Kindle, OverDrive, iBooks, or Nook
- Use it as a game and entertainment station for your kids—you’ll want to set-up restricted access, so you don’t find yourself with an outrageous bill from the Apple app store or from let’s call them “suspect” websites
It’s fun to think of ways to repurpose your iPhone or another iDevice. Gifting it to someone in need, a person you know or a person you don’t know reaps good karma and a lot of feel-good. Finding a new function within your life is also great and keeps the iDevice out of landfills, e-waste dumps, or worse end-of-iLife settings.
However you decide to repurpose your iPhone or another iDevice, just make sure you reset it, so the kind of private data you want on your phone or other iDevice isn’t on your New-To-You iDevice. Even if you are keeping it at home as your new e-Reader or as the baby monitor, you still want to reset it and THEN download only the apps you will need for its new life as your _______ (fill-in-blank.) Why? Because you really want to limit the many ways your private and personal data reaches the rest of the world. We use our iPhones for so much in our lives and in those machines exists so much data about YOU, why risk it getting lost or stolen on devices that don’t need that type of data anymore. Be smart and reset it before you repurpose it.
Just remember RePurpose=ReSet
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.