We probably wouldn’t be responsible adults if we didn’t mention that you can give your old iPhone to your kids or a charity. We definitely wouldn’t be fiscally sensible if we failed to point out that you can get a little trade-in value on your old device. Now that’s out of the way, though, here’s how you can make that phone do a brand new job just for you.
Actually, make that many, many new jobs. Each of which is free, comes with a subscription you use elsewhere, or is extremely low cost.
This is a computer you’ve got here, this is a miracle of technology and the only difference between your old iPhone and your new is that one has a SIM card in it. There are limits: the older the phone, the harder it is to get software that runs on it. So you need to know both what iOS version an app needs and what the latest iOS is that you can run on your phone.
Phones back as far as the iPhone 6 can run the current iOS 12 but older ones can’t. As a guide, the latest that the iPhone 5 can run is iOS 10.3.3, while the iPhone 4’s ceiling is iOS 7.1.2. If you’ve still got an iPhone 3GS then it’s running no better than iOS 6.1.6 and it might be troublesome to get software for it, but not impossible.
If you are used to shoving all your old iPhones into storage, though, try popping one in your window instead.
You can now buy extensive and expensive home security systems that will let you setup multiple cameras. Those cameras stream over the internet so wherever you are, you can check to see what they’re seeing. Or if you go a little fancier, a little more upmarket, you can have audio as well as video.
You can have motion detection so that the camera switches on when someone comes to your door. Or you could just use your old iPhone.
It’s not going to be feature-film video quality but for a security system —and for free —this is more than enough to give you some peace of mind while you’re away. Presence is a free-to-try app one that you install on both your old iPhone and another device like your new iPhone or your Mac.
When they’re both on and both logged into a Presence account, you’ve got a security system.
Presence is really the start of a security system. You can pay $2 to upgrade to a higher-quality video or $49.99 for an annual subscription to a service that offers longer recordings and storage. Presence: Video Security requires iOS 6.0 or later.
The company also sells motion sensors, smart plugs and entire security systems. You may well get tempted further into Presence’s products, but the free app running on your old iPhone is a steal.
Just keep in mind that iPhone batteries don’t last long even on new devices so your ancient one isn’t going to hold a charge while you go off on a European tour. You need to run a Lightning cable to the mains.
That’s true for anything where you want to be certain the iPhone stays on continuously, or at least for many hours, such as a baby monitor. Maybe it seems like your child doesn’t ever sleep for many hours. Maybe you’d gladly trade places with him or her, but at least this way you won’t risk waking them by going to check.
There are dozen or more baby monitor apps for iOS: this one, Baby Monitor 3G, also has an Apple TV app. It requires iOS 9.0 or later.