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6 new uses for your old iPad

Your old iPad might be worth selling, but it might also be worth keeping.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
5 min read

No, giant selfies aren't one of them.

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Current-generation iPads have been on sale a lot lately -- right now the 2018 iPad 9.7 costs just $250 at Amazon, in fact -- so it's a good bet lots of folks are upgrading. If you're one of them, you might find yourself debating the fate of your old iPad: keep it or sell it? The latter can net you some funds to help defray the cost of the new tablet; here are some tips on selling used iPads for maximum profit

But there are plenty of reasons to keep that old iPad around. The most obvious, at least for parents: Fill it up with educational games, e-books and the like, then give it to the kids.

You can also devote an old iPad to a specific task or set of tasks. Let's take a look at some practical ways to wring more life from that aging tablet. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.

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1. Full-time photo frame


An app like LiveFrame can turn your old iPad into an excellent digital photo frame.

Photo by Rick Broida/CNET

The digital photo frames of yesteryear were small, low-resolution and a pain in the neck. But your iPad can deliver an excellent photo-frame experience, revolving through hundreds or even thousands of photos in a never-ending slideshow.

Unfortunately, Apple removed the iOS Picture Frame mode years ago, which was designed expressly for this purpose. But you can accomplish more or less the same thing by setting up a dedicated iCloud photo album, then tweaking your iPad's settings so it continues to display a slideshow of that album.

That's one option; you may also want to consider a few apps. LiveFrame, for example, displays photos from not just your photo library, but also your Facebook , Flickr, Instagram and other accounts. It's free, but if you want to remove ads, it'll cost you $2.99.

I also like Framee, a $2 app that really was designed for repurposing old iPads into photo frames. (It's also available for Android, not just iOS.)

It works like this: You install the app on both your phone and your tablet. (This can be a relative's tablet, too -- a nice option if you want to share photos with, say, tablet-owning grandparents.) The phone supplies the photos: Just select one from within the Framee app and presto, it gets delivered to the tablet. Bam. Done.

All these options require little more than a good iPad stand (or even a wall mount if you want to go that route) and a nearby outlet so it has full-time power. Trust me: Once you start using a photo frame, you'll never want to live without it.

2. Dedicated music server

You may not think of your iPad as a music machine, as that big screen would seem to lend itself more to books, movies, games and the like. But let's not forget it's an iOS device, and therefore capable of providing infinite music options.

Your own library, yes, but also Apple Music , Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn and lots of other great music apps.

Read more: The best music streaming apps of 2019

Just pair your iPad with a wireless speaker (here are some of the best speakers you can get), then tap to queue up some tunes. And if you leave it on a side table sitting in a stand, you can enjoy some nice cover art while you listen. (It also saves you having to run and find your phone whenever you want some music.)

Watch this: 3 ways to reuse your old tablet

3. Dedicated e-book and magazine reader

Enlarge Image

Not saying you should keep your old iPad in the bathroom, merely that you can use it as a dedicated magazine-reader.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

For hard-core readers, it's hard to beat an iPad -- especially the easier-to-hold iPad Mini . It gives you access to just about every e-book reading app (and ecosystem) under the sun, from Kindle to Kobo to Nook to iBooks. Stock your old iPad with books and keep it at your bedside for an endless supply of nighttime reading.

And don't forget magazines. The Mini feels a little small for them, but a full-size iPad works beautifully. 

Many print subscriptions come with digital editions you can access via their respective apps. There's also Apple News Plus, which for $9.99 per month offers unlimited magazine reading.

Finally, don't forget digital magazines you can check out from the library. They're free, meaning you can turn your iPad into a full-blown magazine rack.

4. Kitchen helper

iPads and cooking go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or maybe that should be olive oil and balsamic. Either way, an iPad makes a great kitchen companion -- not just for searching and viewing recipes, but also for watching demonstration videos (like this one for a simple oven-baked chicken parmesan, a favorite in my house).

In fact, you could install an under-cabinet tablet mount (like this one for about $25) and keep your iPad at eye level, at the same time protecting it from cooking splatter.

And don't forget all the great cooking apps, like How to Cook Everything, Butterball Cookbook Plus (essential around Thanksgiving), and the ever-popular Epicurious.

5. Secondary monitor

A dual-monitor setup can be a huge boon to your productivity, but if you work with a laptop, it's not exactly convenient to schlep an extra LCD everywhere you go.

Ah, but guess what? Your iPad can pull monitor duty. Just install an app like Air Display, then use the tablet as a second screen alongside your PC. Put your mail client in there, or a stock ticker, or anything else you like to refer to throughout the day.

The desktop client is available for Windows and Mac; the iOS app will cost you $10.

6. The ultimate AV remote

If you've ever tried using your phone to control your TV, you know it's not typically a great experience. Know why? The tiny screen.

An iPad, though, is pure home-theater luxury. You can use it with dedicated apps for your Apple TV

, Amazon Fire TV , Chromecast, Roku and/or Logitech Harmony Hub system. That big screen makes it so much easier to navigate program guides, menus, virtual buttons and other items that feel extra-cramped on a phone.

OK, those are my picks for repurposing an iPad. Let's hear yours! Or tell me if you think the smarter move is to sell it for cash.

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