Your iPad plays a lot of different roles in your life. It can be your entertainment center where you stream music or watch Netflix, or act as your favorite casual gaming platform. It can also be an office assistant, an organizer and a scanner if you have the right utility and productivity apps.
Android tablets are multipurpose gadgets. Your tablet can be your television, your gaming console, your eBook reader, your cookbook and your office assistant. You could easily get lost in browsing the Play Store for apps, but we’ve got some recommendations that have garnered high reviews and earned their popularity.
We all get our share of robocalls and unsolicited telemarketing calls on a daily basis. You know how it goes. Your phone rings, you don't recognize the number, but you answer anyway, and you hear dead air and then a voice says "Hi! We've been trying to reach out about an important matter ..."
Face it, there will always be groups of cybercriminals looking to take advantage of us. We hear of data breaches, malware attacks, ransomware and phishing scams constantly - it seems like we are under attack around the clock. And it's true, online threats never stop.
Technology is always marching onward, but that doesn’t mean old devices have to end up at the recycler or gathering dust in a dark corner. There are plenty of creative ways to repurpose an outdated Android tablet once it’s retired from regular service.
With decluttering being all the rage, you may have come across an unused tablet in a drawer. That's good news. It can help out around the house by becoming a cool piece of decor, a key part of your home security system, or the perfect way to wake up in the morning.
Even gadgets with outdated operating systems can be put to use. Check out these five ways to make that old tablet feel young again.
1. Use your tablet as a digital photo frame
A classic re-use for an old tablet is to turn it into a digital photo frame. It can display a static photo that you can change out whenever your feel like it, but it’s even more fun to go for a slideshow with a selection of your favorite snaps. You can simply use the slideshow option in Google Photos, or download a fancier app fit for the purpose.
There are quite a few digital photo frame apps available in the Play Store, but check outFotoo, which has picked up quite a few positive reviews. This flexible app lets you set photo transition effects, display the weather and schedule auto-play times. You can load the photos from a variety of sources since it supports your tablet’s photo gallery as well as Google Photos, Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive.
2. Use old Android devices as surveillance camera
Your tablet can become a watchful eye for your home. TheAlfred Video Surveillance appis popular for a good reason. It’s a favorite of Android fans and is compatible even with older devices, so long as they’re running Android 2.3 or up. You can use it as part of a home security system, or as a pet-cam to check in on Fluffy while you’re at work.
Alfred lets you stream live video remotely and set up motion-sensor alerts. There’s also a walkie-talkie mode so you can interact with people or pets through your tablet. The app is free, but you can pay to upgrade to remove ads or subscribe to a monthly premium service for more advanced features like HD viewing and recording, zoom and motion-detection scheduling.
3. Make your tablet an eBook reader
Your old tablet could be perfect as a dedicated e-reader. Take a few minutes to clean off any extraneous apps that may still be lingering on it and leave just what you need for accessing eBooks. The Google Play Books app is one to keep, but you can also load theAmazon Kindleapp for Android. TheOverDriveapp for borrowing books is another great idea if your local library supports it.
4. Re-purpose your old tablet as a digital alarm clock
Your old Android tablet can become your new bedside companion. This can be a big upgrade from an old-school alarm clock. You could use the tablet’s built-in alarm features, or you can download an app. Here are a few fun, free and effective apps:
AMdroid Alarm Clock for Heavy Sleepers:This is the app for anyone who is definitely not a morning person. While it’s highly customizable, one of the more interesting features is the ability to challenge you with math problems to encourage you to fully wake up instead of just hitting snooze over and over again.
Alarm Clock Xtreme Free: This app has a lot of overlap with the Alarm Clock for Heavy Sleepers, including the math problems feature. You can use this app to wake up to your favorite music and put a limit on the number of times you hit snooze.
Alarmy:Alarmy proudly proclaims itself as the world’s most annoying alarm clock app. It has quite a few tricks up its sleeve that will get you up and moving. Photo Mode, for example, requires you to get out of bed and snap an image of a preset location in your home to get the alarm to turn off.
The best part about using your old tablet for an alarm clock is that you won’t fret if you accidentally knock it onto the floor while flailing for the snooze button.
5. Detect earthquakes with your retired tablet
Here’s an unusual use for your old tablet if you live in an area impacted by earthquakes. You can contribute to the University of California at Berkeley’s earthquake research by downloading the free MyShake app developed by its Seismological Laboratory.
The app uses your tablet’s accelerometer to detect earthquakes. You can just install it and leave your tablet in an out-of-the-way location and let it do its thing, or check it to see what sort of data the MyShake network has been reporting.
UC Berkeley hopes the app could one day contribute to an earthquake early warning system. You can find out more through theMyShake website.
"5 Ways To Repurpose Your Retired Android Tablet." The Kim Komando Show, 2019, https://www.komando.com/tips/529843/5-ways-to-use-your-old-android-tablet.
Your iPad is living a secret life. You probably know a lot of tips and tricks you’ve picked up just from using your tablet, but there are some less well-known options and features you can tap into. You just have to know where to look and which Settings to tap.
As we’ve downsized our technology onto portable smartphones, scanners have become less common in homes. That might not be an issue most of the year, but we’re coming up on tax time and you probably have a stack of documents you would like to digitize to make tax prep easier. It’s time to break out your iPhone and discover how it can be used as a document scanner.
There is more than one way to harness the power of your iPhone’s camera to scan documents. You can either use its built-in abilities or download an app. Apple introduced a nifty document scanning feature with iOS 11 in 2017, but you have to know where to find it.
While scanning is great for gathering your receipts and other critical tax-time paperwork, you can use it year-round to help you declutter your paper piles, capture back-up copies of important documents, and for sharing files with colleagues or clients. Let’s start scanning!
Use the Notes app
Apple’s Notes app is already set up to work as a document scanner. Start a new note, or open an existing note. Touch the plus-sign icon and choose Scan Documents. If you don’t see the plus sign, make sure you’re running iOS 11 or higher and that Notes is turned on in your iCloud settings.
The scanner should be set to Auto mode. Point the camera at the document to be scanned. It will automatically seek out the corners of the documents and scan an image. In manual mode, you can adjust the focus and hit the shutter button. You will then need to adjust the corners of the document and save it.
The scanned document will now be inserted into your note. Tap on it to open it. The small square with the curved arrow lets you reorient the document. The overlapping three dots let you put the document into grayscale, black and white, or treat it as a photo. You can also crop the document further or share it through email.
The sharing button, which looks like a rectangle with an arrow pointing upward, also lets you turn the scan into a PDF, print it, copy it, or use the Markup feature. Markup lets you draw on the document, add text, or add a signature.
The Notes document scanner is simple to use and will get your documents digitized fast. If you need more capabilities than it gives you, then check out our recommendation for a powerful scanning app, CamScanner.
CamScanneris one of the highest-rated document scanning apps in Apple’s App Store. If you need more features than you can get through Notes, then this is the app to try. It’s a free download.
As with Apple’s Notes, CamScanner has an auto feature that finds the corners of your document and crops it automatically. You can quickly turn your documents into PDFs, making it easy to store and share them.
One particularly useful feature is OCR, optical character recognition, where CamScanner will recognize and extract words inside your documents. This helps with searching and editing documents. Just keep in mind that OCR isn’t perfect and doesn’t always get the words right.
CamScanner manages to pack quite a few more features into the app, including the ability to mark up a document and make template-based collages. There are also some fun extras, like a greeting-card wizard and a QR code scanner.
If you like CamScanner, you have the option to upgrade for a $4.99 per month subscription. You get more cloud storage space, no ads and the ability to export PDF files without a watermark.
Apple’s Notes app is a great starting point for basic document scanning. It’s capable and ready to go, but you can always check out CamScanner if you need to up your game. Either way, you’ll be ready to tackle your tax documents well before the filing deadline.
"Use Your Iphone To Scan Documents." The Kim Komando Show, 2019, https://www.komando.com/tips/527578/use-your-iphone-to-scan-documents.
All the boxes are out from under the tree, the wrapping paper is off the floor, and everyone is happily playing with their new toys. That’s another great Christmas in the bag. But of course, now that the thrill of giving and receiving has worn off, there’s the step-by-step of getting your new gadgets up and running.
The new iPhone is going to be one of the hottest gifts for the holidays. Maybe you’re new to the world of Apple or maybe it’s been a while since you’ve upgraded. Either way, let’s get your new device up and running as quickly and painlessly as possible.
We’ve got great tips for you to get the basics out of the way. Then we’ll cover how to get up and running with your old information if you’re an iPhone vet, or how to get going if you’re new to the world of Apple.
Starting your iPhone: The Basics
Before you really dive in, it’s a good idea to plug your phone into the wall or a USB port just to make sure it’s charging. After all, who knows how long it’s been sitting in that box?
Once it’s plugged in and has a good charge, hold down the power button. You’ll see the black-and-white screen with the Apple logo, then you’ll be greeted by the Setup Assistant. This is a program that takes some basic information that your phone needs to operate before you really dive into the big stuff.
First of all, you'll set up your language, then your country or region. That helps set up your time, contacts and more.
Then, you’ll set up your Wi-Fi, configure a passcode to get into your phone, and set up Face ID or Touch ID if your phone supports it.
You’ll set up and sign in with your Apple ID, set up your iCloud account,turn on Find my iPhone(you definitely want to do this!), andget to know Siri, who may very well be your new best friend.
Finally, you'll set up Screen Time and configure updates for your iPhone.
Don’t worry about getting anything wrong or not having some information. You can always go into Settings and change that information or put it in later if need be. Apple phones are pretty hard to mess up permanently, so don’t worry about that.
Tap Get Started and you're ready to go. Pro Tip: Back up your data right away in case you run into any glitches along the way.
Setting up your new phone for iPhone vets
If you already have an iPhone, the migration can be pretty painless.
Make sure you have an iCloud or iTunes backup that’s current for your old device, then choose Restore from iCloud Backup or Restore from iTunes Backup. You’ll need to put in your Apple ID and password and wait a little bit, but all your stuff will be there when it’s done.
If your phone is new enough to run iOS 11 or 12, you can also use Quick Start. Remove your SIM card from your old device and put it in the new device. Bring the new iPhone close to the old one and you’ll be prompted to use the same Apple ID. Choose Yes, enter your password, and you can pick and choose what to move over.
Setting up your new phone for iPhone newbies
If you’re just getting started on iPhone (or want a fresh start), you’ll choose Set Up As New Phone when prompted. If you’re coming over from Android, there is aMove to iOS Appon the Google Play store you can use to bring your old data over.
Everything can’t make the jump—many apps only work on iPhone or Android, not both—but that will take care of things like your messages and pictures.
Otherwise, it’ll be a matter of following the prompts and punching in information when the iPhone asks for it. Your Apple ID should be an email you use frequently since that’s the keys to the kingdom: it’s your login for iTunes but also handles things like iCloud and even helps with things like recovering your account if you get locked out or recovering your phone if you lose it.
Now have fun with your new iPhone!
"Set Up The Iphone You Got For Christmas." The Kim Komando Show, 2018, https://www.komando.com/tips/518498/set-up-the-iphone-you-got-for-christmas.
Don't throw away your old Android! I know, it's tempting now that you got that longed-for new device for Christmas!
But don't just toss out your old smartphones. If you're like most people, including me, you've got junk drawers full of old digital devices. Seriously, if you dig around long enough you might find a pager in there. You'll almost certainly find older Androids that are just collecting dust.
Well, we've got several suggestions for getting a lot more value from those old smartphones. Of course, you do want to keep a spare one in your house.
You might need it if you lose your phone, it's stolen or a friend from another country doesn't want to rack up roaming charges. Keep that phone somewhere you'll remember and just activate it when you need to by calling your cellphone provider.
For the other Androids, here are five ideas that will surprise you and will save you money. Please don't skip No. 4 - It'll make your day!
Universal Remote Control
Smartphones are great, aren't they? Just when you think you've tapped out their many uses, you discover a new one.
For instance, maybe you've started using your smartphone to open the garage door. Or perhaps you're using it to turn the lights on before you get home.
But have you used your smartphone as a TV remote control? If you haven't and you have an old Android just lying around, you can easily turn it into a universal remote control for your TV, cable box, DVR and other components.
Nothing is more precious than your home. It's where you keep an eye on your family and know they're safe.
But what happens when you're not there? You might be on a business trip and you still want to make sure your family and possessions are safe.
Or perhaps your kids are away at college and your spouse and you go on a long-overdue vacation. You have a choice to keep your home safe: You can ask a friend to do it, hire a house sitter, buy a home security system, or set up a FREE home security camera.
Just take your old Android and download a FREE app likeIP Webcam. It will turn your old Android into a security camera so you can monitor your house from any internet-connected device.
Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing
Have you heard of BOINC? It's the University of California at Berkeley's ongoing research initiative to find cures for diseases and solutions to seemingly impossible problems, like reliably predicting earthquakes.
UC Berkeley and many other universities use thousands of computers and smartphones to perform incredibly complex computer problems. These problems use loads of computer processing power.
In fact, they use so much processing power that the university is asking for volunteers to share some of theirs. All you have to do is download the freeBOINC app(or similar apps).
Then choose the research study you'd like to help with. Keep your old Android plugged in and hooked up to Wi-Fi.
What's your view when you're sitting at your desk? If you're lucky it might be Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Central Park in New York City or the Pacific Ocean from downtown San Diego.
Unfortunately, you're probably staring at your cubicle wall for eight hours a day. That's just life, right?
Well, no matter where you work, you can have an incredible view. Would you rather be at the Eiffel Tower or right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of London?
Whatever you'd like your view to be, you can have it. Just prop up an old Android on your desk. Plug it in and make sure it's connected to Wi-Fi. Then, use your browser to find a livewebcamfrom your favorite vacation destination.
Digital photo frame
It might be a little small, depending on your old phone, but why not convert it into a digital photo frame? All you need is a stand, Wi-Fi and a place to plug it in, and you've got a great way to look at your old photos.
Plus, if you use Google Photos, you can fire up a slideshow from the upper right corner of the app. It will cycle through all your photos (or a folder of selected photos you can set up) and you can relive sweet memories.
"5 Great Uses For Your Old Smartphone." The Kim Komando Show, 2018, https://www.komando.com/tips/421084/5-uses-for-your-old-smartphone.
I don't know about you, but I've never had a cellphone battery that lasts as long as the manufacturer says it will. Apple says its iPhone Xr is good for up to 15 hours of internet use, its iPhone 7 can handle up to 14 hours of talk time, and the 6 will play video for up to 11 hours.