How to Prevent Your Old Phone From Exploding

Your phone’s lithium-ion battery can be a fire hazard. Here’s how to safely upcycle your old device.

With this fall’s debut of Google Pixel 3, iPhone XS, and Samsung Galaxy Note9, a lot of people will be buying new phones—and recycling their old ones. That’s the eco-friendly thing to do, right?

What most people don’t realize, however, is that your phone’s lithium-ion battery can be a fire hazard. When they’re not disposed of properly, phone batteries can explode at e-waste recycling centers. A recent survey discovered that 40 percent of the fires in California waste management facilities over the last two years were caused by lithium-ion batteries.

So instead of recycling your old phones (you probably have six of them in a drawer somewhere), breathe new life into them with these clever upcycling ideas.

DIY Camera

Turn your old phone into a security cam by rigging it up where you want an extra pair of eyes: the front porch, your desk at work, or even your baby’s nursery. Download a security camera app, like Alfred or Presence, to live stream what’s going on at home or in the office. Both apps alert you when the camera captures movement and give you a heads-up if your Amazon Prime package has “disappeared” from the porch again.

3-in-1 Sleep Machine

Most phones moonlight as our alarm clocks while we sleep. So why not transform an old device into a dedicated alarm and finally make good on that resolution to stop checking your phone before bed. Nightstand Central, Night Clock, and Big Digital Clock offer interesting spins on the traditional bedside timepiece. Add a sleep tracker or white noise app, and turn your old phone into a customizable Zzzz machine.

Emergency Phone

In the U.S., cell phones can call 911 even without a SIM card or an active service contract—all you need is enough battery life. Stash an old phone in your car or purse (or bug-out bag, for you doomsday preppers) in case of emergency. Just remember to charge the phone from time-to-time.

Universal Remote

There’s an app for basically everything now (looking at you, SMALT Salt Shaker). Dedicate an old phone to controlling all the electronic gadgets in your life. Load it with apps to adjust your sound system, dim your smart lights, and monitor your home security system. Add the remote app for your Amazon Fire TV stick, Apple TV, or Roku to navigate shows and movies with a few swipes.

Don’t have a streaming media player? Download a universal remote app, like AnyMote, to control your TV, cable box, or Blu-ray player.

Previous Article: