Five genius ways to give your old tech a second life

The step to throw away your old trusted electronics is quite a big one. If the devices are still working properly, it seems like a waste, right? It certainly is, because there are still plenty of things you can do with your old collection.

Electronic waste is increasing every year. In 2020, the world’s population was already throwing away more than seven kilograms of electronics per person and this number is only expected to increase. The EU is currently even working on a universal charger in the fight against e-waste. You too can keep your garbage bag a bit emptier, with the help of our five tips.

Give old electronics new life with these five tips

You can do these cool things with old equipment. However, you have no idea what to do with your old gadgets? Then there are still plenty of people who can use your stuff. For larger electronics like phones, PCs and tablets, it’s worth looking at organizations like Computers with Causes. This is a charity that collects and distributes devices to low-income families.

1. Use your old laptop or tablet as a second screen

An extra monitor can greatly increase your viewing area while gaming. It gives you a better overview and you work a lot more productively. Depending on the model and the availability of the software, old electronics can be used as a second screen. If you’re using an old Mac, it’s even easier thanks to the native Sidecar feature. Android devices have similar solutions like SuperDisplay.

MacBook Pro 13-inch
MacBook Pro 13-inch The 13″ MacBook Pro – Image: Apple Inc.

2. Help scientists explore space and cure cancer

If you have an old device with a working processor, instead of throwing it away, use this computing power for something good. By connecting to a distributed computer network, you let your PC communicate with millions of other electronics. Together they form a kind of large supercomputer, which tries to solve the world’s biggest problems. The devices work together on, for example, medical, astronomical, biological and mathematical projects. All you need to do is turn on your device, connect to the internet and enable this app in the background.

3. Turn your old tablet into a digital photo frame

Old tablets are perfect to use as digital photo frames. This is often done within a few simple steps. All you have to do is put old photos in your tablet’s photo app and set your gallery to ‘slideshow’ mode. Then turn off the screen’s sleep function and enjoy all your favorite photos.

iPad ninth generation
Display True Tone (Image: Mark Hofman / WANT)

4. Use your old phone as a security camera

Now that most smartphones have decent cameras, it’s more effective than ever to turn your old phone into a security camera. Depending on the app you use, you can have a phone camera live stream remotely. In some cases, you can even store footage in the cloud. While this is primarily true for home security, you can also turn your electronics into a dash cam. Applications, such as Drive Recorder, make it possible not to miss a glimpse of the roadway.

5. Turn old electronics into private media servers

If family photos and videos take up too much space on your ‘new’ computer, you can easily drop files on the server of your old electronics. Once the hard drive is on your network, you can access it from anywhere in your home. Even remotely. Connect it to your TV and use Plex to give your old PC the upgrade you want. You could also apply this method to old game consoles.

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