5 uses for an old tablet

Hey remember when Apple introduced the iPad? It was the company’s fastest selling product for several years. Everyone had to have one. And then… not so much. I’m not saying no one buys a tablet anymore, far from it. Apple still sells a ton of them, and so does Amazon. There are a few companies still trying to make Android tablets happen, too. The ecosystem hasn’t disappeared. But let’s be honest about why you probably don’t touch your tablet much anymore.

Back in 2010…

When the iPad was introduced in 2010, its 9.7″ screen made you see the world in a new way. Yes, there were obviously larger screens on computers, but it was the largest “mobile” device you could get. The largest iPhone screen was a paltry 3.5″. Androids clocked in a little bigger, but not much.

Today of course you can easily get a phone with a 6″ screen. For a while we called these larger phones “phablets,” because they were phones almost as big as a tablet, but the name didn’t stick. Today we just call them “phones” and we call the smaller ones “ridiculous.”

Having a bigger screen on your phone means a lot of the tasks you were using your tablet for just aren’t necessary. So, if you still have one sitting on the charger just gathering dust, here are 5 uses for an old tablet.

Use #1: Nanny cam monitor

Having an audio-only baby monitor is so 20th century, don’t you think? Today, parents put a camera in Junior’s room, with night-vision enabled. That way they can see what’s going on all the time. If you’re the sort of person who likes to watch your baby sleep but are afraid of waking them up, just set that tablet up with the camera app and put it in the living room. You can watch on a larger screen to your heart’s content.

Idea #2: Visit sketchy web sites

From time to time, we all have a need to go to a web site that we might not 100% trust. There are some very legit reasons (and some sleazy reasons too) that you might need to do this. Using a tablet will mean keeping malware off your phone or PC. Just set up a guest network on your Wi-Fi first (most routers will let you do this) for maximum security. Connecting the tablet to the guest Wi-Fi will guarantee that bugaboos won’t jump from device to device. iPads are practically immune to malware, so this is a great solution for them.

Idea #3: Second Screen for Mac users

If you use a Mac, you probably know that the latest version if the MacOS and iPadOS operating systems now have a system called Universal Control. This will let you use the same mouse and keyboard for both your computer and tablet. You can put something like Teams or Slack on your iPad and then have the whole screen free for getting actual work done. This gives you a way to essentially have a dual monitor setup even when you’re traveling.

Idea #4: Big screen GPS

I was surprised to find that my cellular-equipped tablet worked with Google Maps even when I had cellular turned off. Turns out that a lot of tablets have GPS radios in them, even the ones that don’t have any other cellular radios. It’s worth finding out if yours does. Just take it for a drive and see if Google Maps still works.

An iPad, mounted on the dash, is an excellent GPS device, and probably better than the one that was installed in your car. You get an awesomely large screen experience and it will make you never want to use your phone that way again.

You should know that if you don’t have a cellular connection, you should cache the maps for the areas you are going to drive to. Google Maps does allow you to do this.

Idea #5: Donate it

There are a lot of struggling organizations that would love to take that tablet off your hands. Some will give you a nice evidence of donation that you can use to save a little on your taxes. Religious organizations, private schools, and day cares all love having tablets because kids respond to them so well. It’s a perfect home for a tablet that you hardly ever touch.

Need a new tablet (or anything else?)

You can get a cellular-equipped tablet by calling the folks at our Signal Connect division. We’re AT&T dealers and can do anything that mall kiosk guy can do (and more.) The number is 888-233-7563. For anything else you need to live your best digital life, shop at Solid Signal!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.