Adding Longevity and New Life to Aging Devices

Old Devices

The lifecycle of a computer or mobile device often keeps in line with Moore’s Law, which states that computing power will double every two years. For your average consumer, it means simply faster and newer features but for the tech-literate, it becomes a game changer because it introduces new technologies and capabilities for developing software and hardware applications.

Because computing technology is cycled so quickly, we are often faced with the dilemma to either hold out until a major upgrade or buy into the next iteration (seen all too frequently with the introduction of smartphones which make minor leaps and bounds compared to the previous model). All this constant shift in the marketplace and desire to acquire newer devices leaves a lot of waste in otherwise capable devices.

It’s very possible that you have at least one or two older smartphones or computers stashed somewhere in your house because you don’t know what to do with them; we hold onto them because they’re still a fantastic tool, but they’re no longer our primary device.

So what you do to preserve the longevity of a computer or mobile device so it’s not just lazily tossed in the trash or kept in one of the junk drawers we all seem to have in the kitchen?

I’ll tell you what…

Sell it

Computers and devices quickly lose their value as new models come out. By the second or third generation, you practically must beg someone to take it off your hands. iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and computer workstations do have value if you’re willing to part with them at the right time. Sometimes a company makes an announcement on the new releases that go sour with the userbase so they agree to stick with older models. Other times the older models are up-to-par with what a person needs so they’re willing to pay. You could, for example, do a look for “sell iPad”, punch in your model, get your quote, and then factor that into the price of the new model you’re seeking.


There are many impoverished individuals that are smart, but lack the computing devices needed to explore their interests. Consider donating your old devices to local charities or services which place those items in the hands of young individuals whom hold an interest in the industry; with these tools available we will certainly see an expanse on new-comers to the market especially women in tech along with people of color which create a dynamic community that will grow and generate the next wave of innovations for the industry at large.

Dedicated Media Player

one such use for older smartphones I’ve personally put in motion is to purchase a cheap SD card (to expand the memory) and use the now deactivated phone as a media player for the car or when attached to my bicycle during rides. Smartphones are also perfect when paired with WiFi so you could use them as a dedicated remote control for the many streaming apps. Too, you could keep the older apps and hand it off to the younger individuals in the household for game time (without the fear they’ll accidentally purchase in-game items since it’s now disconnected).

Testing Environment

Developers do have access to tools which allow them to test their creations on multiple devices within an environment, but the user experience is equally important in terms of touch and feel. An old device can be a great testing environment for new applications while also giving the correct feel of how it will be used rather than running it through an emulation program at the computer; it will aid in the development.

There are many ways to re-use old devices even if they begin to feel outdated. These devices are still as valuable of a tool as when you first got them – with the exception that they no longer have the flashy features of the newer models; they can still be given new life through dedicated apps, services, or used to move onto the next release without having to be chucked into the landfill so do consider this the next time you’re factoring in an upgrade and figuring out how to add longevity to older systems.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Adding Longevity and New Life to Aging Devices by Mattia Migliorini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Web Designer freelance, Ubuntu Member, Linux evangelist. Loves working on clear and minimal designs and wants to create beautiful things for different devices.

deshack wrote 82 posts

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