What Do I Do With an Old iPad?

Can you believe it? It’s been more than half a decade since the first iPad saw the light of day and today we not only have several generations of 9.7” iPads, but also the tiny iPad Minis and the colossal iPad Pro.

For those of us with a crippling Apple addiction this means there may already be three or four iPads lying around the place. They don’t need to gather dust on a drawer somewhere, though. These older tablets may not be good as daily drivers anymore, but there are lots of neat things you can do with your old iPad that can also make your life a bit easier.

A Room With a View

One of the coolest things you can do with an old iPad is to use it as a second monitor for your computer. In fact, I also do this with my current iPad, but using the old one as a dedicated extra monitor is also a great idea.

How this usually works is that you download a client app for your Mac or PC and then another app for your iPad. Usually you only have to pay for one or the other. Then, depending on the specific software, a WiFi or USB connection is used to turn the iPad into another screen.

You can use this for all sorts of things, such as keeping your email open while you work, or anything else really. Some of these programs also turn your iPad into a touch interface that works with the computer, which is pretty cool.

The USB second screen apps work the best and are the most reliable. Duet Display is a pretty good one that’s fast, simple and reliable.

The place where this really shines is when using a laptop out on the road. While a dual monitor setup is pretty common for desktops, it’s an amazing thing to have while working away from home.

Fully Booked

E-ink readers are great devices, but reading materials that need color such as comics and magazines are just not pleasant to read using these devices. The App Store has some great apps such as Marvel Unlimited, Kindle, Zinio and many more. Even if your old iPad has very little storage, you can fit a lot of reading material on there. Now, I’m not saying you should permanently install it next to your toilet, but I’m also not saying you shouldn’t.

Home Security

These days IP cameras from companies like D-Link are cheap and easy to use. Most also have apps that let you monitor them live over the LAN (and web) while setting up motion and sound detection. If you already have an old iPad, simply buying some cheap IP cameras is a much more economic option than buying a dedicated CCTV system, so it is well worth considering.

Kitchen Capers

With a wall-mount arm, an iPad makes a great kitchen accessory. From amazing apps like How to Cook Everything to YouTube guides, there’s no doubt that a tablet that’s dedicated to the kitchen space can be very cool. At the very least you can watch some Netflix while you wait for stuff to cook. Speaking of which…

Are You Not Entertained?

Netflix, Hulu, Apple Music and Amazon Prime Video are just some of the great entertainment apps available on iPad. Why not combine your old iPad with a decent speaker dock and install it somewhere you could use a little entertainment. Home gym or guest room? Why not?

My Batmobile

Have a car that could use an injection of tech? There are quite a few decent car mounts for iPads out there and it is a versatile in-car entertainment and navigation tool. At the very least you can load some movies from iTunes on it when parked in the garage so the kids or other passengers have something to watch as you drive to a holiday destination.

Thank You Jarvis

Home automation is getting more and more mainstream. Why not permanently install an old iPad on your wall to control all those Bluetooth lights and smart thermostats? You too can live your Iron Man fantasies.

Ground Control

Lots of devices now let you control them via WiFi or Bluetooth. This means that you can use an iPad as a sort of universal remote that has all the companion apps for things like your Playstation 4 or media center software.

Great Outdoors

The thought of harm coming to your old iPad may not fill you with the same dread that it did when you first unwrapped it, which means now may be the time to take it on an adventure. Why not go hiking, or out on a boat with it? Take it with you when camping and everywhere else where taking a new iPad would have turned you into a nervous wreck. You may find all sorts of useful apps that can help you in those places.

It’s especially useful if you are into astronomy and can now risk a bit of inclement weather. There are a bunch of great iPad astronomy apps that can really make the hobby easier to get into.

He Who Dies With The Most Toys Wins

I have an article on this site that reviews some of the coolest iPad toys(LINK), but you may not want to use your shiny new iPad as a drone remote or pet entertainment device. Why not use your old iPad as a dedicated toy controller?

Breaking the Law

Have you always been too chicken to potentially brick your pride and joy? Well now that you have something new and shiny, what have you got to lose? A jailbroken iPad can be used to do all kinds of cool things. Just remember that you can actually permanently brick your tablet, so don’t blame me if it happens.

Give It Away, Give It Away Now

If you aren’t much bothered to sell your old iPad and there really is nothing that you want to use it for, why not donate it to someone that really needs it? It shouldn’t be hard to find local schools or charities that will happily take an old iPad off your hands for use in a library or some other worthy place. Your iPad is worth much more there than it is rotting away in your drawers.

Whatever you do, don’t just chuck it in the trash. If for some reason you need to dispose of a non-functional iPad be sure to take it to a local electronics disposal facility or drop-off so that it can be safely recycled.

Down But Not Out

The humble iPad 2 has the same computing power as the fastest computer in the world in 1985: the Cray-2. Think about that for a second. Your old iPad is a legitimate techno-miracle and just letting it slowly turn to dust somewhere is enough to make Steve Jobs turn in his grave. It may have outlived its moment in the sun, but it can still serve for years to come; if you pick a good job for it you may actually find there was still a little more fun to squeeze from your old friend.