7 ideas to re-purpose old Android phones you have laying around

It’s been more than a decade since the original iPhone propelled smartphones into the mainstream devices that they are today, which means plenty of us have old devices stuffed in drawers or loaned out to family members while we get the latest and greatest the tech world has to offer.

If you’re like me and you have a handful of devices laying around, you may be wondering what new and creative ways you can use these put-to-pasture smartphones again. Some of these are handy while others are downright silly, but don’t knock it until you try it!

1. Create time-lapse photos & videos

Time-lapse photos and videos are one of the more interesting uses for your old smartphones, especially if you want to create a time-lapse of something in a static location like the construction of a nearby building, traffic at a certain intersection, or even track your own weight loss progress by taking a photo every day.

Instead of forcing yourself to remember to do this with your everyday carry phone, why not set up your old smartphone on a tripod so you’re guaranteed to get the same shot each and every day. Then you can connect it to WiFi and set up an app like Tasker to take a photo and video at the same time every day for a specified period. Then you’ll have the perfect series of photos to put together into a time-lapse.

Be sure to check out our quick guide on how to take perfect time-lapse photos and videos with an Android smartphone.

2. Turn it into a GPS nav for your car

There’s nothing more annoying than the little dance you have to do to get your everyday driver into the smartphone cradle that you use in your car. Ever spent a car trip with your phone open to Google Maps on your knee while you’re driving? Well, you can alleviate that by turning your old smartphone into a “dumb” GPS system.

Download the area where you do most of your commuting in Google Maps, so you can navigate while offline. You’ll have to connect the phone to WiFi and redownload the maps every 30 days to keep them accurate and you won’t get up-to-date traffic info if the phone doesn’t have a WiFi connection, but in a pinch your old phone is great for navigating without eating into your everyday carry’s battery time.

3. Turn it into a dash cam for your car

Prefer to use your current phone with its updated maps and up-to-date traffic info for GPS? That’s cool. But you could repurpose your old smartphone into a dashcam for plenty of cool purposes. Taking a road trip and want to create an amazing time-lapse? Want to have video proof in case of an accident for insurance purposes? Your old phone can serve that purpose very well.

There are a handful of apps available on the Google Play Store that make this easier. These apps feature the ability to start recording upon movement detected, capture video, photos, and even re-map your entire journey. It’s best to use a phone that features a microSD card slot for this purpose, that way you can save long videos and go through them should anything happen while you’re driving.

Check out our guide on how to turn your old Android phone into a dash cam for tips and tricks on getting started.

4. Use it as a Chromecast remote

Google Cast is being built into more and more of our everyday appliances that we use. TVs, soundbars, speakers, and more can all be casted to with just the touch of a button and what better way to control it all than your old smartphone? This is especially handy if your old smartphone features an IR blaster, because then you can control all your devices together.

A handful of apps available on the Google Play Store can make this a reality for you. If you have a Roku or a similar Android TV player there are universal remote apps that allow you to control them from a smartphone as well.

With smart devices becoming more prevalent in today’s homes, the list of devices you’ll be able to control with a smartphone is steadily growing.

5. A standalone music player

This one is pretty obvious, but any phone with a decent internal space makes a great MP3 player. There are a ton of great material design music player apps that will display your tunes in glorious detail while you’re at the gym, all while conserving the battery on your every day carry device.

The best part is you can fill your old phone full of music and use it in your car, while you’re working out, or walking home. It probably has a 3.5mm headphone jack too, so you can still use your favorite pair of analog earbuds or headphones as we march into our jackless future.

For a few tips and tricks for getting started, check out our guide on converting an old Android phone into a standalone music player.

6. Make a portable hotspot

Plenty of carriers offer data-only SIMs that you can throw into your device in order to use it as a portable hotspot for your other devices. Granted, these plans are still pretty expensive and you’d want to use them sparingly, but sharing the connection from your phone is still a lot better than dealing with the janky hotspot that you’ll have to pay or sign up for a two-year contract to get from a carrier.

If you’re looking at your data-only options and you don’t use a ton of data per month, be sure to check out Google’s Project Fi. If you’re already a Cricket subscriber, getting a data-only SIM is relatively easy. Verizon also offers data-only SIMs but their prices are less than reasonable when you consider what you’re getting for what you’re paying.

7. Use it as a confiscation decoy at school

This one is for teenagers who go to schools with strict rules about being caught with cellphones out. The idea comes from redditor memgrizz72, who says he attends a high school where phones are confiscated if they go off in class or you’re caught using them. To avoid this, he carries around his old HTC M8 smartphone to hand over in case a teacher wants the phone, so he can continue using his Sony Xperia Z5.

I chuckled a bit when I read this idea, but it makes great sense if you accidentally leave your smartphone on while in a class and you don’t want to lose it to a teacher. Hand over the old smartphone and continue using your current one of the rest of the day, collect the old one at the end of the day, and smile because you actually got away with something.

How to turn off that annoying Google Maps popup navigation

Google Maps is great. For most folks — especially those with Android devices — it’s their go-to when navigating to new destinations. With the recent introduction of Android 8.0 Oreo, the new firmware update is off to slow start but about to hit a lot more devices. With that, I wanted to highlight an Oreo feature that could potentially drive you crazy: Picture-in-picture.

This feature display a tiny floating window for specific apps whenever you leave them. It works great with Netflix or YouTube so you can continue watching a video while checking your email, or shooting off a quick message. The problem is that picture-in-picture isn’t always ideal for every app, Google Maps arguably being the worst.

For whatever reason, you wont find a setting inside of the Google Maps app to turn this feature off — and since PiP is enabled by default — you’re going to need to know how to turn it off if you find it getting in the way. And it does. A lot. Don’t worry, the feature is just buried deep inside the Settings app. Here’s where you’ll find it:

How to turn off Google Maps popup mini map

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap on Apps & notifications
  3. Tap on Advanced
  4. Tap on Picture-in-picture
  5. Tap on Maps
  6. Turn OFF “Allow picture-in-picture”


  1. Long press the Google Maps icon (on your home screen or inside app drawer)
  2. Tap the “i” icon
  3. Scroll down to Advanced and select Picture-in-picture
  4. Switch “Allow picture-in-picture” to the OFF position

90% of Google users are not using two-factor authentication but here’s how you can get set up

At a recent security conference in California, a Google software engineer revealed that less than 10% of Google account owners use two-factor authentication (2FA) when it comes to keeping your account secure. This number is particularly alarming considering how many threats we deal with on a daily basis, even from the most unlikely of sources.

This brings up a great question as to what exactly 2-factor authentication is, and how you can set it up for your various accounts. Thanks to Ashley, there is a wonderful explanation of what 2FA is, and how it works, while keeping your accounts protected and out of the wrong hands. However, here’s the TLDR version:

Standard 2FA asks for something that you know (username + password) and something that you have(code generated on smartphone).

Thankfully, Google has made life extremely easy for those who want to keep their accounts even more secure, as the company has a landing page to get 2FA activated on your account. In order to do so, you’ll need to head over to Google’s 2FA landing page, and then once you click the ‘Get Started’ button, you’ll be walked through a few steps.

Once you’re ready to proceed, you’ll need to enter your current Gmail or Google account password before continuing. After you have logged in, there will be a variety of options for you to set up as your “second step” in the authentication process. You can choose from the following:

  • Google Prompt
  • Authenticator app
  • Voice or text message
  • Backup codes

You’ll need to select the option that works best for you, and while someone like myself is using the Google prompt and Text Message options, others may opt for using the Authenticator application. If that’s the path you want to follow, then you’ll want to check out an app like Authy or LastPass, which works cross-platform, regardless of whether you are using an iOS or Android device.

Once you have selected the method that works best for you, then you can rest a little bit easier knowing that your account cannot easily be accessed in the event of someone getting ahold of your password. For those of you who want even more security, you can set up a “Security Key”, which essentially lets you log into your Google account using a USB thumb drive, but you’ll want to make sure that the thumb drive is secured and on your person at all times.

Finally, there is an option for using a Backup code. Google will generate a single-use code which will allow you to access your Google account even if you happen to be offline, but need to log in for whatever reason. However, once this code has been used, it’s invalid and you will have to generate another code if necessary.

While this may seem like a daunting task at first, there’s nothing to fear and the whole process should take just a couple of minutes. If you run into a snag, hit us up in the comments below, and we will be more than happy to help walk you through the process!

Lost your Android phone on New Year’s? Here’s how you can find it

New Year’s is the one time of the year where literally anyone can find a reason to go out for a night on the town. Most nightlife veterans are already accustomed to keeping up with their most important belongings — typically your phone these days — but we wouldn’t blame those who are less savvy for slipping up.

People are bound to have their phones out much of the night, what with all the selfie action, live streaming, and other social media distractions to entertain. That’s why cases of lost phones tend to spike on New Year’s. If you have the misfortune of misplacing yours, not all hope is lost.

As we’ve shown you in our guide on how to find a lost or stolen Android phone, finding your phone after a long night doesn’t have to result in an immediate call to your carrier or insurance company for a replacement.

Is it guaranteed to help you find the happy ending that results in retrieving your device? No, not always. A dead battery could doom your search before it even gets started.

If you do lose it, you’ll want to act as soon as possible, because the longer you wait, the less likely you are to find it. Having said all that, hurry your way to the article to see what you can do to locate it, and keep your fingers crossed that it isn’t too late!

How to Find a Lost or Stolen Android Phone

Pixel 2 Update: Things Worth Knowing

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL officially launched two months ago. In that time, there have been hundreds of articles, editorials, and guides posted about the phones. If you’re a Pixel 2 owner, you may have missed some of the biggest stories and our best content. Let’s catch up.

This post is an update on all things Pixel 2. We’ll get you up to speed on all the news and community content you should know about. If you have the Pixel 2 or are still considering picking one up, consider this a crash course.

Pixel 2 News

Some Pixel 2 owners report problems with included 3.5mm adapter

Some Pixel 2 owners are reporting a problem getting the included 3.5mm adapter to work properly with their headphones. Google is investigating the issue.

Pixel 2 and 2 XL camera app gains access to AR Stickers

The Google Pixel 2 (running Android 8.1 Oreo) will gain access to AR Stickers inside the camera app. To kick things off, Star Wars The Last Jedi sticker pack is being released just ahead of the movie.

Android 8.1 comes out of beta, official factory images and OTA files are live [DOWNLOAD]

Android 8.1 is official and now ready for download. Google made the factory images and OTA files available, so if you don’t feel like waiting for the official rollout to hit, you can flash the update manually.

Pixel phones are getting Lens in Google Assistant today

If you have a Pixel or Pixel 2 smartphone, look out for Lens in the Google Assistant today. Google has begun making the feature available more widely.

Some Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices are randomly rebooting

Some users are experiencing random reboots on both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL when connected to LTE in an area with poor signal.

Pixel 2 and 2 XL’s Preferred Care warranty drops deductible, as long as you don’t damage them

Google is doing Pixel 2 and 2 XL customers a solid by removing deductible costs from their Preferred Car extended warranties, but there’s a catch.

Pixel 2 Recap

40+ Pixel 2 Tips & Tricks

Stock Android phones like the Pixel 2 have a lot of neat tricks. Here are over 40 tips and tricks to get the most out of your Pixel 2.

12 First things every Pixel 2 owner should do

If you just got the Pixel 2 or are thinking of picking one up, here are the first things to do!

Best Pixel 2 Cases

The Pixel 2 has a glass panel on the back. A simple drop could crack the glass or leave a nasty scratch on the back. The best way to protect your phone from drops and dings is a case.

Best Pixel 2 Accessories

If you really love your new phone, some accessories can go a long way towards keeping it pristine and adding some valuable functionality.

Pixel 2 XL Battery Life Review

Battery life is one of the most important aspects of a new Android device and we’ve put the Pixel 2 XL’s to the test. Find out what we’ve been getting, including charging times, in our Battery Life Review!

Pixel 2 Battery: 0 to 100% in 96 minutes

People like to point to the battery capacity as the one and only thing that matters, but there’s more that goes into the equation. One part that often gets overlooked is how quickly the phone can be recharged.

Best of Pixel 2 Forum

We’ve published a lot of Pixel 2 content on Phandroid, but there’s also a community of Pixel 2 users over on AndroidForums.com. There you will find even more tips and tricks, suggestions, support, and much more. If you’re not already a member, we highly recommend joining. Download the Forums for Android app to get started!

Here are some good threads to get you started:

Best Pixel 2 Apps & Games

Every week, hundreds of new Android apps and games are submitted to the Play Store. If you’re not paying attention 24/7, it’s easy to miss some of the best stuff. Our weekly Download This series includes the best apps and games you should be downloading on your Pixel 2. Check out the lists below to get started.

Best Pixel 2 Accessories

Best Pixel 2 Case

The Incipio Carnaby is one of the most stylish cases around. It features a rigid design with soft TPU covering the buttons. The back is covered ins a super soft cotton fabric with a heathered texture. It’s a little thicker than I like, but not too bad. The case comes in heathered blue and heather gray for $34.99. [Buy from AmazonIncipio]

Read the full list of Best Pixel 2 Cases

Best Pixel 2 Charger

The PowerCore Fusion gets its name by fusing together wall chargers and portable chargers. You can plug it into the wall and use it as a typical wall charger, but it has a battery built-in. That means you can unplug it and take it with you like a battery pack. It’s really cool and handy. [Buy from Amazon]

Read the full list of Best Pixel 2 Chargers

Best Pixel 2 Screen Protectors

Gorilla Glass 5 is the newest version of Corning’s tough glass. It’s still resistant cracks, but it’s not great against scratches. Some people still like the peace of mind that comes with a 3rd-party screen protector. It’s much easier to replace a screen protector than to live with a scratched display.

Best Pixel 2 Headphones

One of the most important accessories for any phone is a good pair of headphones. The Pixel 2 doesn’t have a headphone jack, so you better be ready to hop on the Bluetooth train. The Anker SoundBuds Slim are only $20, but they sound great. The slim design makes them easy to wear and they have a handy module for adjusting volume and play/pause. [Buy from Amazon]

Read the full list of Pixel 2 Accessories

Looking ahead…

Pixel 3 Rumors

There hasn’t been much talk about the Pixel 3 yet. Most of the rumors we’ve seen came out before the Pixel 2 even launched. One rumor claims Google could be working on 3 models of the Pixel 3. A report claimed LG would be making the Pixel 3, but LG refuted those claims. There was also a story about manufacturers vying to make the Pixel 3.