If you’ve clicked through to read this post, you’ve joined the unlucky broken smartphone club. That feeling of the phone slipping through our fingers while you frantically try to grab for it before that sickening crunch when it bounces off the ground is a memory you’d rather forget. After the initial shock wears off you’re faced with the question of what to do next. Of course you can always repair your phone, but you may be surprised at what else you can use a broken phone for if your plan is to replace it. Read on for my top 5 ways to repurpose a broken smartphone.
1. A dedicated white noise machine
I tend to have trouble sleeping when I travel, and occasionally at home as well, and have found that white noise helps me relax and fall asleep. Maybe you broke the screen on your phone, but if the speaker still works you can still use it as a dedicated white noise machine. Another great use of the speaker is to plug your broken phone into your home stereo using a $2 RCA to 3.5mm cord and suddenly your stereo is now ready to play any music you have on your phone or stream from your home Wi-Fi. Unless I’m in need a white noise machine, I leave my broken phone permanently plugged into my stereo and regularly listen to my favorite podcasts and streaming music this way.
2. A DIY baby monitor
New parents already know that baby monitors are an expensive investment. Many of the good quality monitors cast between $200-$350, but if you have a broken smartphone you might be able to set up your own system for a few dollars. This method assumes that the camera and microphone on your broken smartphone are still functional, but you can set up your broken phone on a dock plugged into the wall and set up a live stream from your device using one of many free apps available online. Then all you have to do is log in to view the stream from your new working smartphone and you can keep an eye on your young ones without investing in a new baby monitor system.
3. A portable hard drive
Maybe your screen is busted and so is the camera and microphone, but don’t toss that phone quite yet because as long as it powers on it can act as a portable hard drive! You may need to download an app or jailbreak the device before you can do this, but these are easy steps that you can find instructions for online. Once your device is set up to be a hard drive you can just plug it into your computer and load it up with pictures, music, videos, and even documents that you want to take with you or just back up in case something happens to the original. As an added bonus many apps that turn your phone into a hard drive allow you to transfer files to and from the phone wirelessly so you can leave those pesky cables at home.
4. Use it for whatever features aren’t broken
Your phone could have broken in any number of ways and many of the features could still work just fine. Maybe you speakers died but the screen is fine so you can use it as a casual web surfing device, or set it up to act as a universal remote for your TV. You can use it as a flashlight, or calculator, or notepad, or a small digital picture frame. There are so many things that smartphones can do now that I’m sure you can think about your phone and figure out what features it has that you can use without whatever bit that is broken.
5. Fix it yourself and learn a little bit!
No, this is not nearly as crazy as it sounds. You’re not the first person to break your smartphone and you won’t be the last. There is a cottage industry of small businesses that are eager to charge you a couple hundred dollars to replace the phone screen and refurbish your phone. Why not learn to do this yourself by buying a kit online? The last time I broke the screen on my phone I went online to buy a screen replacement kit and was shocked at just how easy it is pop off the old screen and plug in a new one when you have the tools the kit includes and clear instructions. Ever since I discovered how simple and inexpensive it is to replace my phone screen myself I’ve been much less anxious about dropping my phone, and I got the added benefit of challenging myself a little bit to learn something new!