10 ways to repurpose your old iPad
6. Control everything in your home
If you've always dreamed of controlling everything in your household from your iPad, you're in luck—you can use a universal remote control app such as iRule to control just about anything in your house that can be controlled. iRule, which starts at $50, lets you control everything from your home entertainment system to your lights, shades, and garage door, using an iPad, a Wi-Fi network, and some specially designed hardware that converts Wi-Fi signals into various types of control (such as infrared, which controls your home entertainment system).
Of course, iRule isn't the only universal control system out there. You'll also find MobiLinc HD, which lets you control devices such as your thermostat, lights, and keypads remotely.
You may have also heard about the fancy new Nest Learning Thermostat; this energy-saving thermostat gives you control via your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
7. Turn your iPad into a kitchen tablet
Tablets are great in the kitchen: They're like high-tech recipe books with built-in timers, easy-to-check conversion charts, and the power of the Internet. You can turn your old iPad into a dedicated kitchen tablet by slipping it into a protective cover, or mounting it on a wall or a cabinet, and downloading all your favorite cooking apps. An old iPad is especially great as a dedicated kitchen computer because you can easily swipe through information without having to fumble with cookbooks or scraps of paper--just be sure to invest in a good screen protector, or else you'll end up smearing your screen with flour and butter.
8. Keep track of your family
You can use your old iPad as a high-tech message board to keep track of your family members and coordinate schedules.
Consider placing the iPad on a table near the front door, or mounting it to the wall (strips of Velcro might come in useful here). Determine what kind of notice board you want it to be. Should family members leave notes for one another? If so, download Sticky Notes for iPad (free) or Noteboard ($3), and people can write notes on different-colored pieces of "paper."
If you'd rather know your family members' schedules, consider downloading a calendar app such as Pocket Informant HD ($9) or GoCal for Google Calendar HD ($5). The benefit of having a calendar app that integrates with Google Calendar is that when someone makes a change it can automatically sync with everyone else's Google Calendar.
You can also allow family members to leave video messages using the built-in camera on the iPad 2 and later, ask your kids to use it to send you a text or email message when they get home, or just set it to display the weather so that everybody knows when they need to take an umbrella along as they leave the house.
9. Make a Halloween costume
This easy yet creative Halloween costume requires two iPads with built-in camera (iPad 2 or later) and a consistent Wi-Fi connection. Although this project may be infeasible for all but the most die-hard gadget nerds, it's worth trying if you have the equipment. Grab an old shirt, and cut holes in the back and front. Spice up the holes with some fake blood (red paint), and then strap two iPad 2s to your body. Make sure to cut little holes for each iPad's camera to peek through.
Then, start a video chat between the two iPads, and—voilà!—you look as if you have a gaping hole in your stomach! Since you'll need a constant Wi-Fi connection (even if you can use FaceTime over 3G, do you really want to waste your data for this?), it might be a good idea to bring a mobile hotspot to whatever happenin' costume party you go to. You may also need to recharge the batteries throughout the night, so bring a charger or a portable battery.
10. Get rid of your iPad
If you'd rather ditch your old iPad or iPad 2 instead of going to the trouble of repurposing the thing, it's important that you not just toss the device into the trash.
If you want to make some money, you can try selling your old iPad on eBay, Craigslist, or a trade-in site such as BuyBack World, BuyMyTronics, Gazelle, or Nextworth. For more information, check out our article on the best places to sell your old iPad.
If you're not interested in getting cash, and if your old iPad still works (and is in decent condition), consider donating it. You can donate it to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill, or you can donate it through a buyback service such as Gazelle. When you donate your iPad via Gazelle, you can elect to send the proceeds directly to a charitable organization, or you can have Gazelle make the check out to an organization of your choice.
Finally, you can always give your device back to Apple through its Reuse and Recycling Program.
Whatever you do, never throw away old gadgets when you can still get plenty of use (or cash) out of them. Good luck!
[Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of a previous article that includes the most up-to-date information as of November 13, 2013.]
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