Technology moves on at a frightening pace these days. That shiny, new smartphone or tablet that you bought only a couple of years ago can soon lose its lustre when compared to new shinier releases. But rather than consign the old unit to a dusty draw we’ll show you how to find alternative uses for tablets that still have a lot to offer. Here's how to reuse an old tablet.
How to reuse an old tablet: Jukebox
That old Nexus 7 or original iPad might move at a glacial pace now, but they’re easily fast enough to play music either from internal storage or a streaming service. Try removing all the apps and data that you no longer use then replace it with your music collection.
Even if the battery is failing you can leave it permanently plugged into a charger to ensure uninterrupted sonic splendour. If you have any old PC speakers lying around, or better yet a dock, you can have a mini jukebox up and running without spending a penny.
See also: What's the best music streaming service?
How to reuse an old tablet: e-reader
E-readers are great, we love them, and if you have a smaller tablet that has seen better days you can turn it into one in a couple of minutes. Clear all extraneous apps off the system, download the Kindle app from the Google Play Store or App Store, and there you go. Instant e-reader.
Yes it won’t be quite as good as a Kindle Voyage or Kindle Oasis in direct sunlight, but it won’t cost you a couple of hundred pounds either. Plus, any books you buy on the Amazon platform can also be read on your phone, PC, or Kindle device as well.
See also: Best e-readers
How to reuse an old tablet: Digital photo frame
Thanks to digital media we now take more photos than ever before but hardly ever print them off. This means that these precious moments often end up languishing on hard drives or cloud storage services. Change this by transforming your old tablet into a digital photoframe.
Search the relevant app store for an digital photoframe app, there are lots of them, download your images to the tablet, put it on a stand, and there you go - instant portal to memory central.
How to reuse an old tablet: Recipe book
Kitchens can be hostile environments for electronic devices. There’s often liquids, heat, powdery substances, and sharp implements that can do much damage to a precious new tablet. So, take the old one in there instead. They make great digital cookbooks which can display videos of recipes, you can listen to digital radio via the BBC iPlayer Radio app, and you can even add items to your next shopping delivery as and when you run out.
How to reuse an old tablet: Smart TV
While most new TVs have some kind of internet enabled software these days, those with perfectly good older units that don’t want to replace them just yet can add this feature through a Google Chromecast (£30) and an old tablet. Simply plug the Chromecast into the back of the TV and you can send YouTube videos, digital pictures, plus a wealth of other content directly from your tablet to the TV.
See also: Google Chromecast 2 review
How to reuse an old tablet: Alarm clock
Thanks to the included clock apps on most tablets it’s actually easy to convert them into dedicated bedside alarm clocks. A quick trip to the app stores also reveals plenty of alarm apps that offer gentle, low light displays, a choice of alarm tones, and some that even present game-style challenges to turn them off.
How to reuse an old tablet: Home Security camera
Home security surveillance is a growing field in technology at the moment, but some of the solutions can be quite expensive. If you don’t want all the features of something like Netatmo or Canary, your old tablet can be converted into a makeshift security camera through apps like Free Wi-Fi Camera.
Just position your device where you want to monitor your home, make sure it’s connected to the internet (and maybe a power source) then you can see everything that’s happening when you're away by checking the app on your smartphone.
How to reuse an old tablet: Baby monitor
If you have a newborn or young child then your tablet can watch them while they sleep. Dormi is an Android app that can be installed on your old device (it supports Android version 2.3 upwards) and acts as a classic baby monitor, with the bonus of video feeds if you want them. The information is sent via WiFi to your phone so you can be alerted if they stir. It’s a subscription service that costs around £1 a month, and for those on iOS there is a similar service called Cloud Baby Monitor (£4.99).
How to reuse an old tablet: Make it a writing machine
With the simple addition of a Bluetooth keyboard you can turn any old tablet into a dedicated writing device. There are so many writing apps available for free on both the App Store and Google Play, including Google’s own office suite which offers enough functionality for any budding authors out there.
There you go, plenty of ways that your old tech can be put to good use. Now you have a great excuse to pick up the new one you’ve been eyeing up for the past few months. But before you do, be sure to check out our guide to the Best Tablets.