As of 2017, India has clocked over 340 million users who are hooked to their smartphones - and a whopping 11% as of 2012 that carry multiple devices.
We sure have come a long way from our trusted Nokia 1100s. Our pockets can barely contain our many devices, spanning Android, Gear, iPhones, iPads and the like.
And, as you’ve probably noticed, new ultra-affordable, feature-filled phones that could put your 13MP selfie-clicking, Dolby audio-boosting, octa-core multi-tasking beast to shame usually hits the market just a day after you've brought home an awesomesauce piece of tech.
What comes next?
Well, to buy more!
But What About the Old Phone?
You could put up an ad on OLX. You could give it to your younger sibling, who’s probably used to hand-me-downs by now. Or, and this is what is most common, you could chuck it into a drawer and let it gather dust or into the garbage.
And this is what turns old, still-functional phones into e-waste, which is a huge environmental hazard.
To combat it (and to make the most of the money you spent, honestly) here’s how you can make the best of the outdated but reliable devices you move on from.
No matter whether you used an Android or an iOS device, there is more than one way to go about reusing it. Six to be precise.
1. Child's Play: A Truly Kid-Friendly Device
Kids can’t go wrong once you’ve set up a device safe for them to mess with!
One of the most important features of modern day and even legacy devices is the option to 'Child lock'. With an older iPhone this is relatively easy.
Tap Settings > General > Restrictions > Set a passcode > Turn restrictions ON
You can no turn off access to all things unsafe - Browser, Camera, Location services, App installs/uninstalls, In-app purchases.
And on an Android device, you could simply create a new account with restrictions applied.
Tap Settings > Users > Add User/Profile
Now create a restricted profile and toggle OFF all things you wish to restrict.
Alternatively, in the Playstore, you could head to Settings > Parental Controls and limit what content they can view and download.
Then, make it a little more fun by filling the homescreen with apps you think they'd like. Also maybe a tempered glass screen protector and a rugged case. There you go, a kid-friendly device!
2. An Old School MP3 Walkman
A mix of all your favourite music in one app on one device. Remember the Walkman?
An old phone isn't just an old phone - it is an essential part of your personality and an even bigger reminder of your past. A great deal of images and music lying idle on that wonderful vintage thing? Make use of it! Move all the data off your new device that keeps 'running out of space' and onto that old device with a massive microSD and some decent inbuilt memory.
Make it memorable by keeping a balance of your old collection of music mixed with your latest favourites.
This will give you an incredible Walkman experience like never before - a dedicated MP3 player!
3. Digital Radio Delight: On-Demand Music Streaming
More on the lines of audio, we have numerous digital radio stations, via radio and streaming apps, that are mostly free. Use your old phone for this!
Try not to restrict yourself to mainstream apps like Spotify, Play Music, TuneIn, and the likes. Dig a little deeper into underground apps that are specific to your taste. For starters, electronic music lovers could try my personal recommendation, Digitally Imported, a great electronic music app that is well-curated for every mood.
4. The Ultimate Handheld Mobile Gaming Device
A Wikipad android tablet gaming device designed for graphic-intensive gaming.
If you're all but done with touchscreen gaming, and are the kind of person who loves the speed and preciseness of actual physical buttons, go buy yourself a gamepad or joystick! Android users have an added advantage here, with a huge range of third party bluetooth controllers available to pair with, in comparison to the ones that work only with the iPhone.
Using an alternative device for your gaming needs ensures that you have battery aplenty for other more adult needs on your primary mobile phone.
5. The next Level of Mobile Security: CCTV Camera Action
One of the most underrated aspects of the phone in daily life is the ability to capture movement on the go.
Now apply this concept to your home, via a phone mounted as a CCTV camera and controlled through a security camera app. Certain devices and apps can even be used to record using a motion trigger - especially useful for when you have to keep an eye on a pet at home, for starters.
For all you know, your roomie may have already tried this on you.
6. Extreme Privacy: End-To-End Secure Communication
You get a device without GPS, SIM-usage and devoid of more than 1 or 2 necessary apps.
As a bonus, the sixth and most obscure use of a legacy device is end-to-end secure communication. One of the advantages with a phone, after it’s been emptied of files and apps, is that it can be incredibly efficient in running the sole app installed on it.
You can use this quality for privacy. Not so surprisingly, celebrities, journos and certain businesses use encrypted devices like these for secure and worry-free communication.
But if you think all this is too much of an effort, there are several great new startups that would love to lay their hands on your e-waste for a nominal cost, or for free.