8 incredibly useful things you can do with your old Android phone or tablet

Become a gadget necromancer and resurrect your old tech

What is dead may never die, apparently. We’re not so sure about that, but we do know that your old Android smartphone or tablet - the one left facedown in a drawer like a drowned mob victim - still has plenty to offer.

Well, unless its smashed to bits. But if it isn’t, then stop wasting its potential, because there is still so much it has to lovingly offer.

1) Wake Up

Most of us - namely those slaves to The Man - need to drag ourselves out of work everyday to go and scratch a paltry living. But not if you oversleep.

Timely is an excellent, beautiful alarm clock app packed to the brim with clever functionality. It’s perfect for a stand-supported tablet on your bedside table and its cloud-based settings work across multiple devices.

That means you can set an alarm on your phone before your third pint and it’ll sync with the tablet app. Clever, eh? 

2) Bump and grind

No, you don’t have to be Russian to have a dash cam.

They’re actually incredibly useful for capturing annoying accidents and knocks, proving that your excellent driving skills were never at fault. They’re also handy for capturing things like comets crashing down through the atmosphere.

Rather than fork out a hundred quid for one though, you can just download an app like AutoBoy Dash Cam, which supports continuous recording and plenty more. Happy… dashing?

3) Play hard

Did you know that you don’t have to have a Sony Xperia phone to stream PS4 games to your smartphone?

It’s relatively easy to use Sony’s Remote Play app on almost any Android device and you can use an actual PS4 controller too - though some phones like the Galaxy S7 may not support the controller.

It’s a powerful, instant cure for boredom, wherever you are and it’s well worth buying a PS4 controller mount for an even better experience.

Full instructions for setting all of this up can be found here

5) Make contact with aliens

Bionic is an app which transforms your spare Android device into a number-crunching brain that's connected to a neural network of other number-crunching brains.

In other words, it turns your device into part of a much, much larger crowd-sourced computer. It only works over Wi-Fi and when you’re connected to power and you can choose to contribute processing power to medical research or even to the Search for Extraterrestrial Life (SETI) project.

“H̉ͭ͆͐̎͑̅i͒̃ ̎ͤͧͥE͑a̚r̓ͫt͆̀ͩ͌̓h̑̆̽,̋̓ ͫ͐̊ͦlͤͮ͆͋ol͂̉̇̌́ͧ ̒͌ͬ̇̚uͫ̊̔r̍ ͊̇͐̃s̀̒͒ő͊̄̉ ͪ̃̈́ͨ͆̃̚p̄͂ͭ̑rͩͧͤ͐ͯ͋i̐ͯm͑̀ͤ̄ít͆ͨͪ̆ĭve̓̋̆ͫ ̈ͭ̋͌̒u̔̓ͭ ͫ̊̓̚h͑ăvn̅t̄̽ͭ̓̌ ̉ͨ̉͋ͪ̓e̚v̾̾̐n͆ ͂͋̋ͯ͒͋inͣ͒̇̑͊̽veñ̆͐̓̒ͤtͧ̍͗eͩ̀͌̔d ̅̂͒̂gͪ̽ͫ͑ͫl̋͒orͣ̓̿̀p͌͗ͦͤ̉ͥͬg̾͒̒ȏ̂ͤ̆ͭ͂l͊̅̋́̀̐̈́aͫͭ̔͋̆̒s͂̈̎͗͆ͭͫhͫͫ͑ ̒ͭy̓̊́ͧ͛ͪeͧͥ̽̋ͨt̓ͬ̽͌ͧ̆̌.͊ͤ r̿̌͌̆͋o͋ͥ̇ͪͮfl̔ͣͨ̑

͒̾̐͊̑k̏̇ͬ͌ ͯ͊̍ͫͣt̓̊̾ͧh̍̓͑xͭ̀͂͌̾ ͂ͩ̄̊̃bͤ̏̒ͣai̐̽̃͌ͬͤ̀ ͣ͗̿ ́̉ ̔ͯ̃ͥ̇

P̅̎S͛̓̔ͩͦͤ̚ ̀uͯ ̓ͨͫͮ̀̚h̄̽ͫ̉a͛̄͆̐̈́̽͌v͆ͬe̾ͭ̿ͫ̑ ̊̎ͨ̄͒́̈́u̔́ͣͯ̆nc̀̏̂lͬaiͥ͛ͯ̇m̈́ͥ͊e̊͊̐̍̐͌d pͦ̃̄̒͌́p̄ͤ̊͑͂i͑ͭ̍͗ ̚p̔l͒s̾̍̍̐̿ͨ͗ ̍́ͮ̔s͌̚eͩńdͫ̌̓͆ ͤ̔ͧmͣo͌̈̈ͬ̀n͗ͬ̂̈͋ͯey͐ͬͭ”͊̏̒̓ͣͥ̑

6) Make your dumb car smart

Android Auto - Google’s car-friendly OS skin designed to boost your car’s IQ - annoyingly only works if you’ve got a compatible car to plug your handset into. In other words, you can’t just mount a tablet and run it. Booooo, Google. Boooo.

Thankfully, there are a few decent alternatives that will work on any Android device, though this is best suited to an old tablet if you wan’t a more comfortable experience.

Car Dashdroid is one such app - it offers finger-friendly navigation, music and voice controls. See? No need to buy a new car after all.

7) Eye see you

You know, with every fibre of your being, that Leonardo DiCatrio is the one leaving dead mice on your pillow, but you can’t prove it.

The Meowntain is far too lazy to go out and hunt, but you can’t dish out the proper punishment without proof. You’re not a barbarian after all.

Thankfully, you can load up Perch on your spare smartphone or tablet to turn its camera into an internet-connected security camera that lets you check in on your abode when you’re and about - presumably earning money so that you can shower your feline companions with the finest cat food money can buy.

8) Boring but useful

Okay, so these suggestions are admittedly a little uninspired, but damn it, they are genuinely useful. You can even use your smartphone as a dedicated music player when you’re out on your run, commuting or on a long flight, saving your actual phone’s battery life.

The same goes for ebooks, because tablets can make perfectly decent alternatives to a Kindle.

Lastly, you can use your spare device as a dedicated sat-nav. Just load up offline maps in Google Maps, turn on the GPS and off you go.