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7 amazing hacks to breathe life into your old iPhone

If you’re planning on landing yourself a new iPhone 7, you could soon have an older Apple device lying around gathering dust.

What should you do with your old iPhone? Well, you could give it back to Apple or trade it in to your old network for a bit of cash, but the chances are that you’ll never get paid its true value.

Alternatively, you could hold on to the device and keep it as a spare for when you inevitably drop your new phone and cobweb-shatter the screen so badly that even the guy in the Apple Store lets out a gasp.

We prefer that last option, although you don’t have to let it sit idly in drawer. Instead, prolong its working life by taking inspiration from these 7 great uses for your old iPhone.

Watch: iOS 10 tips and tricks

Reuse your old iPhone – Security camera

You don’t need to fork out a couple of hundred quid to keep your house secure. By just downloading a free iOS app such as Presence, you can turn your iPhone into a security camera.

Presence will let your iPhone live stream video to any number of viewers, so you can always monitor your home. It’s also a motion-detection system that will send you a push notification if anything moves near your old iPhone.

What’s more, it’ll work on models all the way back to the iPhone 3GS, so there’s a chance you might own more than one old iPhone that can be turned into a home security system for keeping an eye on your precious items.

Check out this guide to how to turn your old iPhone into a security camera

Related: iPhone 7 – Your complete guide

Reuse your old iPhone – Retro games console

Super Mario

That’s right, you can use your old iPhone to play your favourite Mario games, and much, much more. It’ll take a bit of effort to get this one done right, though.

You’ll need an iPhone 4S or newer, emulation software and the right cables to connect your device to your TV – or you can use AirPlay if you’ve got an Apple TV. You could even add an old-school controller, but that’s not necessary to play the games.

The software is the tricky part. There are loads of different emulators available, and different ones emulate different consoles. There’s no do-it-all emulator, unfortunately.

Check out this guide to how to turn your old iPhone into a retro games console

Reuse your old iPhone – Sat-nav

TomTom sat nav

Don’t bother paying out for a sat-nav when you can just turn your old iPhone into a permanent dash-mounted navigator.

To do this, your old device does need to have a network connection, so unfortunately you’ll have to pay for one again. Happily, a SIM-only deal with plenty of data is pretty cheap nowadays, so it’s unlikely to break the bank and we reckon it’s worth the benefits.

Sure, you could just use your new iPhone for this job, but your older model can become your dedicated car device, saving the battery and data of your everyday phone.

Your old iPhone makes for an even better car companion when you enable Find My iPhone, effectively making it Find My Car. Similarly, you can fill it with tracks for roadtrips or, even better, stream directly from Spotify or Apple Music.

Check out this guide to how to turn your old iPhone into a sat-nav

Related: iPhone 7 vs iPhone 6s – Should you upgrade?

Reuse your old iPhone – Remote mouse or trackpad

Magic Mouse

This one’s a pretty easy hack. It only requires a couple of downloads and could be the solution to putting your computer at the heart of your home entertainment system.

First up, you’ll need to download a mouse app from the App Store. Mobile Mouse comes highly recommended and is free, although there is a paid version with more features. Then you’ll need to download some software for your Mac or PC.

Very quickly and easily you’ll have a phone you can use as a mouse as well as a mini keyboard.

Check out this guide to how to turn your old iPhone into a mouse or trackpad

Reuse your old iPhone – Secondary monitor

iPhone 6S Plus

OK, so this one is probably better suited to any old iPads you having kicking about, but that’s not to say it won’t work on your iPhone – especially if it’s the chunky 6S Plus.

It’s a bit of a faff to set up and some of the software comes at a price, but having two displays can be priceless when working. Plus it’ll still be cheaper than buying a second monitor outright.

Check out this guide to how to turn your old iPhone into a second display

Related: Amazon Echo – What you need to know

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Reuse your old iPhone – Baby monitor

Let your old iPhone help you keep an eye on your youngster. Simply download an app, set up the iPhone with its camera pointing at the baby and then live stream the video feed to your spanking-new iPhone 7.

There are loads of apps available, so it’s worth taking a bit of time to work out which one will be best for you. Consider whether you’ll need it to work when not connected to Wi-Fi (using data via a SIM) as well as checking the privacy settings of the app.

Check out this guide to how to turn your old iPhone into a baby monitor

Reuse your old iPhone – Smart home controller


Again, there are loads of apps – Manything, Bemo and Rico, to name a few – that let you turn your old iPhone into a smart home hub.

The success of this project will come down to the number of smart objects that you own. If you love your Philips Hue light bulbs, smart thermostat and more, this could be perfect for you.

We’re pretty big fans of IFTTT, which integrates all your smartphone features – and much more – into one app. 

Related: 26 brilliantly useful IFTTT recipes

Watch: The refresh – The best tech gossip this week

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What’s your best hack for an old iPhone? Let us know in the comments below.

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