Millions Of Australians Aren't Doing Anything With Their Old Phones. But You Don't Have To Join Them

02/01/2016 5:28 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Millions of Australians are letting their old mobile phone sit forgotten in a drawer, new research from a Deloitte mobile consumer survey has found.

Just under half of the Australians surveyed held on to their old mobile phones when they got a new one, while just eight percent sold them on.

"Almost 50 per cent of people said they put their old phones in a drawer, so they're not even sharing it with their family," report lead author Jeremy Drumm told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Our rate of onselling used phones compares poorly to Singapore (26 percent resell) and the United Kingdom (21 percent resell).

Drumm said Australians preferred to buy new phones which contributed to our low resell rate.

But since we’re just leaving them to moulder in a drawer -- what can you do to repurpose, reuse, or reinvigorate your phone?

Recycle, resell or retain

These are the most obvious things you can do with your old smartphone.

While Clean Up Australia actually recommends reusing your mobile phone before recycling it -- because that keeps the environmental impact of phone production as low as possible -- they also have facilities in place that let you recycle your phone to be broken down for parts.

For resale, there’s clear markets on Gumtree or Ebay -- just don’t expect the same premium you paid for the smart little rectangle to come back to you when you sell it on.

And of course, you can maintain the status quo by keeping it for the day you break or lose your current phone. It just won’t be of much benefit to anyone collecting dust in your bedside table.

recycle phone

Music player

One of the most common second lives a phone experiences is as a dedicated music or media player.

Most people upload their music collection onto their old phone -- no longer overburdened with selfies and cat videos -- to play in their car, on a jog, or around the house.

And while you won’t be able to connect to a 3G network anymore, an old smartphone’s still perfectly capable of getting online through Wi-Fi, meaning you can access music streaming services.

Of course, you can also access digital radio through your phone -- through things like TuneIn or standalone apps provided by individual stations.

mobile phone music player


Having your old phone as a cookbook allows you to draw from different apps and pull recipes off the internet too. When it comes time to cook everything’s in one place

If you’ve got a good app, you can also search through your recipes or by category if you’ve got a hankering for something in particular.

There’s another neat benefit of having a phone as a cookbook -- you can simply drop it in your pocket when you’re off to the shops for a readymade shopping list. Easy.

phone cookbook

Home security

Granted, if you’re really concerned about the security of your home one little phone isn’t going to be making much difference any time soon.

Despite that, you can turn your smartphone into a surveillance device, using the front-facing camera to detect movement in a room and record -- handy for working out if a housemate or family member’s going into your room unbidden while you’re away.

There’s a number of apps that achieve this, including AtHome Camera and SecuCam.

smartphone camera in room

Retro game emulator

Fan of Mario or Pokemon? You could be carrying them around in your pocket, but instead your phone is sitting at home to no great benefit.

It’s a little too complicated to explain here, but the folks over at Lifehacker have a great explanation here.

mario mobile phone

Not just on your phone. In your phone.


Got a shoebox? Got a magnifying glass?

You got yourself a projector, buddy.

It’s always more fun to have the full cinematic experience and once you’ve loaded up some movies onto your mobile you can build this projector in an hour to beam them over the wall of your home and have a movie night with friends.

Because you’ll still be able to connect to WiFi, you can also stream Netflix or YouTube too.

movie projection

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