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Tablets can be very fun devices to have for everything they do. They don’t necessarily have the same short shelf life smartphones do, but after moving on to a new tablet, there are a number of ways to get more life out of an older one. You could certainly look to sell it, trade it in or hand it down to someone else. Or you could put it to work in some other useful ways.

Not every smartphone manufacturer makes a tablet, and the sizes and shapes of tablets don’t vary as much, either. And where there are multiple models of phones, most tablets usually come in two different screen sizes. Rarely will it be more than that.

Selling it or trading it in

This might be a good option as a way to make up some of the money you will spend on buying a new tablet. Classifieds sites are always full of ads selling iPads and other Android-based tablets because there is a demand for them. If you want to part with yours that way, it is always an option.

Except not every used tablet is in demand, so you may be disappointed with the offers you get. And as I noted in a similar article about reusing smartphones, not having the original box and all accessories lowers the pricing expectations further for some prospective buyers. Any damage, as minor as it may be, could lower the asking price further.

The most popular devices can still draw decent value. The better the condition it’s in, the higher the asking price.

Trading it in for credit towards a new device is another way to go. Much like a used smartphone, it’s not always easy to find good value. Best Buy’s trade-in program includes tablets, where the value can be put toward a new purchase or taken as a gift card for anything else.

Reusing it as a prop

The fact that tablets have bigger screens makes them inherently useful in static situations, of which there are numerous examples. Using a magnetic or sticky mount you can have it up on the refrigerator to follow a recipe, or just prop it on the counter or kitchen table using a stand. Since it’s not your primary tablet, you won’t mind keeping it in the kitchen as often as you would.

Maybe you have a video baby monitor or home security camera, and you want a constant visual feed available to you at all times. While you could always access those apps on your regular tablet, you wouldn’t want to use it to have the screen fixed on one thing. The battery may not last too long with the screen always on, but when plugged in, you can leave it running for as long as you need it to.

iPad as photo frame.jpgIf you flip it around, you can use the tablet itself to act as a camera to do those things. For home surveillance, it is possible to prop up the tablet, point it where you want, and use an app that can record movement when detected. Some of the ones I’ve come across include Manything, Home Security Spy Camera and Presence.

Another static case that could be useful is a digital photo frame. You don’t have to do this on a daily basis, but in cases where you might have company over, it’s an easy thing to set up. You can run a slideshow or shuffle photos using any main photo app. Sitting there on its own, the photos can display with passing glances from others, or the tablet can be passed around without having to worry about anything you might already have stored on your regular tablet.

Reusing it more actively

If you want to ditch your TV remote, you may have a solution with your older tablet. Using a Logitech Harmony Hub, you can turn the tablet into a full-on remote that controls all your home theatre components, and some of your smart home elements, too.

If you listen to music a lot and want the tablet close to where you’re more likely to play it, you can always stock it with tunes or stream from whatever services you like to use. The flexibility here is pretty neat. If you have a Bluetooth or AirPlay speaker in a particular room at your place, you can play music from the old tablet, utilizing as much of its storage as you like, so as not to take up more than you want to on your regular device.

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In that sense, it can be your music hub, where everything you listen to at home is only a few taps away. And if you have speakers in different rooms, it can work with all of them, via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or a simple Aux-In cable to the headphone jack. If having the radio on in the background is something you like, using an app like TuneIn or any other radio app of your choice is a good place to start. Use a Chromecast Audio if you’ve dusted off an older pair of speakers or want to use Wi-Fi to stream from compatible apps.

Kids who love to play games on tablets are probably better served by having a hand-me-down. Especially if they’re younger and more prone to possibly damaging it. The number of games available on iOS and Android is astronomical, making it easy to keep them entertained. In fact, why not bring it along for a longer drive to keep them occupied in the back seat?

Recycling it

If the older tablet is finished and isn’t worth repairing, then it’s best to send it to an electronics recycler or drop it off at a Best Buy location where it can be handled responsibly and stay away from landfill.

Don’t let an old tablet gather dust and be forgotten or discarded when it might be useful in a support role doing something else. All of these examples above are good ways to stretch the life of most tablets, so if you can, give it another shot.

Ted Kritsonis
Editor Cellular/Mobile Technology
I’m a fortunate man in being able to do the fun job of following and reporting on one of the most exciting industries in the world today. In my time covering consumer tech, I’ve written for a number of publications, including the Globe and Mail, Yahoo! Canada,, Canoe, Digital Trends, MobileSyrup, G4 Tech, PC World, Faze and AppStorm. I’ve also appeared on TV as a tech expert for Global, CTV and the Shopping Channel.


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