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10 things to do with your old cell phones and how to get rid of data

Use them, donate, recycle or make some cash
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Posted at 12:39 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 16:34:21-04

Chances are you have a drawer in your home with an old cell phone and you just don't know what to do with it.

Americans trash about 150 million of them each year, but what if you could turn that phone into something useful?

"You can use it for a lot of different uses that have nothing to do with a cellular network," said Ken Colburn of Data Doctors.

Colburn says old phones can still connect to WiFi, opening up new options like a security camera or baby monitor.

"You can connect to your WiFi and then remotely use it to check on what's going on in your home," he said.

Apps like Alfred Camera, Nancy Baby Monitor, and Ahgoo Baby Monitor allow you to plug in the old phone as a monitor then check it out wherever you are.

You even have audio to communicate.

Old phones could be your dedicated device for Zoom meetings.

You could use it with apps to text or email.

Use it for reading, for gaming, or as the first mobile device for your child.

"And you have more control over how it gets used because it can only be used with wifi," Colburn said.

You can check for trade-in values on sites like Amazon, Apple, Nextworth, and Maxback. But likely, unless it's new, you won't get much for an old phone.

Colburn says another option is to donate.

"There are programs that help soldiers overseas who can make calls without being charged an exorbitant fee," he said.

That's done through groups like Cell Phones for Soldiers, AmericanCellPhoneDrive.org, 911 Cell Phone Bank, or Medic.

You can also recycle.

All Data Doctors locations will take your electronic devices and do just that.

Whatever you do, Colburn says please, don't throw your phones away.

"These phones are full of toxic materials and thousands are ending up in our landfills," he said.

And before you do any of these things, make sure you get rid of all the information you have on that phone. You can do that through a factory reset in your settings.

This story was originally published by Joe Ducey at KNXV.