New Uses For Your Old Tablet

The tablet market is just heating up, but if you were an early adopter, you’ve probably already upgraded at least once. Even if you haven’t, plenty of people have purchased a tablet only to realise they don’t have a really good use for one. So what’s that old touchscreen good for anyway? Let’s take a look at some of the more clever uses.

Tablets of both the Android and iOS variety have been lauded for their portability and greatness as often as they’ve been berated for their uselessness. Regardless, lots of people have them, and lots of people upgrade. We’ve talked before about using your iPad as a creative tool, but what about the rest of us? If you don’t want to sell that tablet, you might as well find a creative use for it.

Use Your Old Tablet As A Dedicated Ereader

Few people would argue that tablets are good reading devices (not as great as an ereader, but good enough). With that in mind, MacWorld walks through the process of stripping an iPad down to its bare necessities for use as a distraction-free reading device. The same could be done with an Android tablet. While you’re at it, you might as well convert all your comics as well.

Macworld suggests you stick with the Kindle app and iBooks, as well as read-it-later services like Instapaper and Pocket. The article also suggests that you delete all the extra apps and turn off notifications so you’re not tempted to do anything but read on the device.

If you really wanted to convert that dusty old first-generation iPad to a reading device, we’d also recommend you jailbreak so you can delete useless system apps and install lighting app f.lux for a better reading experience.

You can apply the same theory to whatever productive thing you want to do with an old tablet. You can strip it down for use with Simplenote, or delete all the extra apps and use it solely for something else. Photo by

Turn Your Tablet Into A Dedicated Device For A Specific Location

As we mentioned when we were finding uses for old smartphones, a tablet can make a good dedicated device for one permenant part of your home.

You can load it up with cooking videos and recipe apps like Epicurious so that your primary device doesn’t get messy. If cooking isn’t your thing, you can convert it into an expensive alarm clock and stop relying on your phone to wake you up. Otherwise, you can mount it somewhere with Velcro for many other uses.

Use Your Tablet As A Portable Media Centre

If media is more your thing, you can convert your tablet into a completely portable media machine. For iPads, this means dealing with AirPlay or picking up an AV adaptor and futzing around with AirPlay Mirroring.

Android tablets have a lot more freedom and you’ll be able to use it nearly anywhere. With just one HDMI cable, an adaptor and a few apps, you’ll have a massive media library with you everywhere.

Turn Your Tablet Into An Arcade And Video Game Machine

For old-school video game fanatics, a dedicated retro game device is the logical way to go. We’ve shown you how to make your own, complete with emulators and controller support, and it’s without a doubt one of the coolest things you can do with a tablet. With just a little setup you can load up your old tablet with Nintendo, Super Nintendo and Genesis games (and plenty more). Then you need to hook up a controller and you can play games all night long.

If you have an old iPad you can also build your own arcade cabinet. Granted, you can do this with a new iPad as well, but a permanent installation might be more useful. Photo by Jake Metcalf.

Use Your Tablet to Control A Home Automation System

One of the coolest things you can do with an iPad or Android tablet is home automation. If your house is set up with a home automation service (there’s too many to list here, but here’s a partial and outdated list for Android and iOS), then chances are they have an iPad and Android app.

If you’re feeling incredibly confident, you can also follow DIY expert Alan Graham’s example and build your own home automation unit, complete with an awesome wall mount.

These are just a few of the more useful options you have for repurposing an old tablet. In reality, you can toss a tablet onto the wall and do just about anything with it if you put your mind to it.

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