Now what? 11 things to do with your old iPhone

Associated Press Modified: September 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm •  Published: September 12, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — The iPhone 5, out later this month, is thinner, lighter and has a bigger screen than its predecessors. For hordes of Apple fans who have some money to spare, the question is: What should you do with your old iPhone after you buy a new one?

The new phones will join some 244 million iPhones sold since the first one launched in 2007. Some have been lost or stolen. Some of us are still hanging on to our old gadgets in some futile attempt to resist the constant upgrade cycle that technology companies are forcing on us.

But it's fair to say that millions of iPhones are languishing in desk drawers or gathering dust. Here are a few things to do with yours to keep it from meeting that fate once you buy the iPhone 5.

1. Give it to your kids so they stop taking yours...

Every parent, aunt and uncle knows that no toy in the history of toys has ever been as appealing to a kid as an iPhone. They are shiny, they have games and grown-ups use them for important things. More importantly, they are either off-limits or doled out in limited quantities as a reward for, say, sitting still for a minute. Load up your old iPhone with games and give it to a deserving child in your life.

2. ...or to your mom so she can finally see the light

Alternately, if a Luddite adult has been thinking of taking the plunge into the world of smartphones, your old iPhone may help him or her get over the hump. If you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, you might also find someone who's still hanging on to an earlier model and give them the gift of an upgrade. You may just buy a friend for life (or at least until iPhone 6 comes out).

3. Use it as a teeny-tiny iPad

You'll be able to watch videos, send email and search Wikipedia for random facts to end cocktail-party disagreements with your decommissioned iPhone — as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. There's even a camera, which means you can avoid being that guy (or gal) at the concert who's turning heads for taking photos with an iPad.

4. Donate to charity

Several charities accept old phones for donation, though it's worth remembering that these groups likely won't physically give your old phones to people in need. Rather, they work with phone recyclers and sell your donated phones to them.

A nonprofit group called Cell Phones for Soldiers will take your "gently used" phone and sell it to recycling company ReCellular. It will then use the proceeds to buy calling cards for soldiers.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence works with another recycling group in a similar manner. About 60 percent of the phones it collects are refurbished and resold. The money goes toward supporting the coalition. The remaining 40 percent of the phones are recycled, according to the group's website. It pays for shipping if you are mailing three or more phones.

There are a few more suggestions from New York's Department of Environmental Conservation at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8818.html .

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