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Have an old Galaxy phone? Samsung now lets you turn it into a smart home device

The public beta for Samsung's Galaxy Upcycling at Home program drops today in the US, UK, and South Korea.

Samsung/Screenshot by CNET's Sareena Dayaram

If you have an old Galaxy phone gathering dust at home, you may now have a good reason to turn it back on: Convert it into a smart home device. All you have to do is install a software update.

Samsung said the public beta of its Galaxy Upcycling at Home program, announced back in January at CES 2021, went live Wednesday in the US, UK, and South Korea. Through a software update on Samsung's SmartThings app, you can enable new features in old Galaxy phones that lets them function as smart home devices including baby monitors or light sensors. 

Old Galaxy phones can use repurposed sensors and enhanced AI to detect sounds like a baby crying. They'll then send an alert directly to your current phone, so you can check in on your little one. Samsung says it can also be used as a pet monitor to listen for your dog's bark, for instance.

Samsung says an old Galaxy phone can also be used as light sensor to measure the brightness level of a room. It can then have the lights automatically turned on if the room gets darker than the preset standard. Samsung hasn't yet given specifics on which Galaxy models will get this functionality.

The Galaxy Upcycling at Home program is an evolution of Samsung's Galaxy Upcycling initiative from 2017, part of an effort to reduce e-waste by reusing and repurposing old Galaxy phones.