5 clever ways to keep your old iPad from gathering dust

The iPad Air is here, and the new iPad Mini with Retina is coming soon. Normally, we’d tell you how to sell your old iPad to help finance your new one. But, according to uSell, a ton of you are keeping old gadgets around and not selling them to Amazon, Gazelle or anyone. Even worse, uSell claims that, even though you’re keeping old gadgets, you don’t know what to do with them and they just sit around, unused.

Y’all, we need to talk. Don’t just let that older iPad sit there gathering dust. If you don’t have someone to hand it down to, put it to work. It might not be the newest, the thinnest, or have a Retina display, but it can still serve a purpose. Here are a few ideas.

Mount your iPad to the wall

Mount iPad On A WallWith your new iPad in hand, you won’t need the old iPad right by your side, so why not mount it to the wall semi-permanently? Then it’s out of the way yet still accessible for all the uses we’ll put it to below. You can mount it next to your bed, in the kitchen, or near that  other place in your house family members pass so often.

There are several mounting solutions ranging from dirt cheap to expensive. The best one depends on where the iPad will live and how movable you want it to be. The Joy Factory Tournez wall/cabinet mount features an articulating arm that mounts permanently (the iPad is removable easily). If permanence isn’t your groove, the Sea Sucker mounting system uses powerful vacuum cups to attach to both the iPad and a smooth, flat surface. For a more minimalist approach (and a more attractive one), the MagBak makes it possible to mount the iPad on any magnetic surface and comes with O-Rings so you can mount the tablet on any other walls, too. The Boomerang combines a minimalist iPad stand+case and a mounting system that will attach to any surface via magnets, adhesives, or screws. 

Of course, you can also DIY a mount with some 3M Command hooks, like this. The white, plastic ones will get the job done, but you might want to check out these nicer-looking brushed nickel hooks if you want the setup to look a bit fancier. If you don’t plan to move the iPad much and want a flushed look, good, old-fashioned Velcro will hold the tablet up just fine. We suggest attaching the Velcro to a simple iPad case just in case you decide to sell or do something else with it down the line.

Turn your iPad into a digital photo frame

iPad as Picture FrameRemember digital photo frames? If you’ve been in a Radio Shack or the photo section of a big box store lately you may have spied a couple still around. Sadly, they are never as easy to connect or update as they promise. Your old iPad can do the digital frame thing much better.

There’s a built-in Picture Frame feature on the iPad (look under Settings > Photo Frame) that will pull from pictures in your Photo Stream and albums and offers a few standard transition options. But that’s basic and boring. Plus, you might not have all the pictures you want to show on your iPad or in iCloud. Consider one of these apps (compatible with iOS 5/5.1, so they can work with any iPad, even the original):

Unbound HD for Dropbox: This is a good solution for people who want to be more select about the pictures they show. Unbound is a photo browser for Dropbox that happens to have a slideshow function. The great thing is that you can point it to a specific Dropbox folder to grab photos. It’s easy enough to move images in and delete them if you don’t want them in your slideshow using Dropbox’s web interface. It’s a great solution if you plan on giving the iPad to a less tech-savvy family member. Drop in the latest photos of grandkids or nephews and nieces and, surprise, they show up in the app automatically!

Flickpad HD: The slideshows on those other apps are pretty basic and not all that interactive. In Flickpad’s normal view you can see several pictures at once as if they were laid out on a table, then delve in for more info or to like and comment right from the interface. There’s a standard slideshow, too. Flickpad pulls pictures from Flickr and Facebook and can be connected to multiple accounts.

To complete the look, slide the iPad into a wooden mount or dock to give it more of a picture frame look. We’re fond of the Chisel from iSkelter.

Use your iPad as a home camera monitor

Presence for people iPadiPads don’t have world-class cameras, but they’re good enough to use for an inexpensive home monitoring system. This works with old smartphones, too. All you need to do is download a camera monitoring app to your old iPad and your new one (or an iPhone or iPod touch), set the old iPad in the room you want monitored, and keep it plugged in.

We suggest the Presence by People Power app since it’s free and includes motion detection. It only works on the iPad 2 and newer since it utilizes the front-facing camera. 

Use Your iPad to control your home

Nexia for iPadYou don’t have to be rich and ridiculous to have sci-fi levels of smart home automation these days. Bit-by-bit you can add upgrades to your home that allow you to control the thermostat, turn lights on and off, check your laundry status, and even unlock your door from an iPad. Of course, many of these functions are designed for control when you’re not in the home. Some are still useful to control from a mounted iPad. You can change the thermostat from the basement or bedroom; make sure all the lights are out before going to bed without getting out of it; set a timer for the dishwasher or the coffee maker while brushing your teeth. There’s a lot of potential.

There’s also a lot of choice when it comes to home control systems. Belkin’s WeMo system can control lights and just about anything you plug into an outlet via the iPad. AT&T’s newly launched Digital Life system can control and monitor even more parts of your home, such as door locks and energy usage. Nexia Home Intelligence also goes this deep. It’s on the expensive side, but can be built piece-by-piece over time.

Want more home control suggestions? Check out: Your home is dumb, but making it smart is cheaper than you think 

Use your iPad as a computer monitor

Air display for ipadAs anyone with a multiple screen setup will tell you, adding a second monitor can greatly increase your productivity. There isn’t always room on a desk for another display and adding them costs money. Money you might not have since you’re buying a shiny new iPad. So use the old one for this purpose. It doesn’t take up much space and (as we mentioned above) can be mounted on the wall.

There are a handful of apps that make the second monitor thing possible. Splashtop XDisplay is the best performance-wise but a bear to set up. Air Display is far easier; the trade-off is that it’s not as fast.

Get crazy

All of the ideas above are pretty practical, but there’s far more potential in an old iPad than just this stuff if you’re the creative type. You could make the iPad part of a piece of art like Debra Lill does with digital picture frames. If you have more than one iPad, why not start a band? Or go super DIY and mod the iPad into something new(ish) like these people. Get creative! Then tell us all about it in the comments.


Apple’s new iPads are hardly new at all. Don’t waste your money

It has taken Apple four years to get around to updating the iPad Mini line, but the new iPad Mini is virtually identical to its predecessor. It’s joined by a confusing iPad Air with no obvious target audience. Is Apple just trying to sell…

iPad Air vs. iPad Mini: Which new tablet from Apple is best for you?

Apple has unveiled two new iPad models, including a new iPad Air and a new iPad Mini. Both devices have a lot to offer. But which iPad is right for your needs? We put the iPad Air and iPad Mini to the test to find out.

How to choose an iPad in 2019: A practical guide to Apple’s tablets

Selecting an iPad from Apple's lineup can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Our comprehensive guide should put the numbers and specs in practical, easy-to-understand terms. Find your ideal iPad with the help of our guide.

The Apple iPad Air is the power-packed tablet for everyone

The iPad Air is the less serious cousin to Apple's iPad Pro range, and it's the perfect addition to your coffee table. But it's no less powerful. Here's everything you need to know about the iPad Air.

These voice-changing apps will have you punking friends and family like a pro

Have you ever wanted to call your friends as Darth Vader or Alvin from the Chipmunks? If you want to play a prank on your friends, we have the best voice-changer apps for iOS and Android, whether you want to record audio or make a call.

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…

Even older Apple Watches could be effective at spotting heart conditions

The Apple Watch Series 4 is known for detecting heart conditions like atrial fibrillation thanks to having an electrocardiograph feature. It turns out that older Apple Watches could be effective at tracking AFib, too.

The Black Shark 2’s Ludicrous Mode promises the smoothest mobile gaming

Xiaomi-backed Black Shark has a follow-up to last year's Black Shark gaming phone, complete with high specs and a low price. Here's everything we know about the Black Shark 2 gaming phone.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.

Amazon drops price on Apple Watch Series 4 with a rare deal

Since Apple first unveiled the Series 4, the price for one has pretty much held fast. This has finally started to change with a nice little $15 discount on Amazon. If you've been wanting the newest Apple Watch, now is a great time.

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.

Google's midrange Pixels might be called the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.

Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs brings 3D demolition into your living room

Angry Birds is releasing its next entry in the spring of 2019 - with a new spin. Bringing 3D environments and destruction, Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs uses augmented reality to add a new dimension to a classic series.

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.