6 new ways to use old iPads you have laying around

Apple iPad Pro (2021)
(Image credit: Apple)

In 2010, Apple launched the first iPad. Since then, the iPad lineup has grown significantly, with new models being released almost every year. There really is an iPad to fit everyone’s budgets and overall needs for work and play. But what happens when you decide to upgrade? While Apple does have a good trade-in program, sometime you may not want to go through the hassle of having to send in your old iPad.

So if you have bought one of Apple's new best iPads, such as the 10th generation new iPad (2022) or the iPad Pro with M2, what should you do with your old one?

If that’s a situation you’ve found yourself in, then here are six ways to bring new life to your old iPads. 

Digital Photo Frame

Photo editing on iPad

(Image credit: Lightricks)

If Apple got one thing right with the iPad, it’s the display. Most iPads have gorgeous displays, which would make them excellent digital photo frames. By using an older iPad model as a photo display, you get to see your favorite moments — whether photos or video clips — on display all day. There are several apps that’ll help you show off your photos and videos. There’s even the option of having the photos pulled from your social media accounts.

All you need to do to make it happen is get an iPad stand or an iPad case that will allow you to prop it up anywhere in your house. You also have the option of mounting your iPad to a wall, which would give it a more authentic photo frame look and feel. The Elago Tablet Wall Mount is a great option here and it’s compatible with most iPad models, or these other best wall mounts for iPad. 

Once you’ve figured out how you want to set up your new iPad slideshow frame, you’ll then need to decide how you want to keep it powered. When it comes to power, you can keep the iPad plugged in with its original charger if there’s a port nearby. Or you can keep it powered with a discreetly placed power bank. 

It’s all super simple and offers a great way to repurpose your old iPads.

Smart Home Hub


(Image credit: Apple)

Using your iPad as a smart home hub is another great way to repurpose older models. Sure, you can control your smart home gadgets from your phone but by using an iPad, you’ll create a central hub. This way, everyone in your home, including guests, can have some control over things like lights, temperature, etc. Another huge plus of using the iPad as a smart hub is being able to control your devices with your voice via our favorite built-in voice assistant Siri.

Once you’ve set up your compatible gadgets on your new iPad hub, you’ll then have to decide on a position. Much like using your iPad as a digital photo frame, you can prop up the iPad in a central location or you can opt to mount it on the wall. Again, you’ll need to consider a way to keep the device powered, but with some cable management, you’ll be able to keep it plugged in or powered with a battery pack.

Additionally, you might want to change the iPad settings to keep the display on at all times. This way, your iPad won’t go to sleep from not being used. 

Let The Kids Have It


(Image credit: iMore)

The iPad can be an awesome learning tool for children of all ages. The iPad is easy to use and kids love that they can interact with the device by touching it. Plus, there is no shortage of apps that will both entertain and educate your children. While there is a concern about kids having too much screen time, with proper supervision, this shouldn’t be an issue. 

Giving your kids your old iPad can also be a way to gauge whether they are responsible enough to eventually get their own new models.

If you don’t have kids of your own, you can always donate your iPad to a child in your family or your neighborhood. Just make sure you properly erase your personal data. You can do this by opening Settings on the device, tapping General, then Tap Transfer or Reset iPad, and finally, navigating to Erase All Content and Settings.

Mount It In Your Car

While we’re on the topic of kids, mounting an iPad in your car can be an easy way to keep the little ones distracted or entertained on long drives. If you’d prefer to mount the iPad in the front of the car, it can be connected to your phone’s hotspot and do everything your phone can but on a bigger screen. Mounting your iPad in your car is also super convenient because you already have unlimited power via your car’s charging port.

Dedicated Music Player

You don’t see many people investing in full stereo systems anymore. They are a bit outdated, and most people just don’t have the space or money to create a quality setup. However, with an iPad, you can create an epic dedicated music player. With the iPad, you’ll be able to access all your favorite tracks and playlists from your preferred streaming services.

As for output, you have multiple options here. You can connect with AirPods if you’d rather not disturb those around you. You can pair your iPad with some amazing Bluetooth speakers, which could also offer an immersive experience if you have speakers in different rooms. And if you’re looking for a more traditional approach and your iPad has the required ports, then you can plug in a 3.5mm cable and get even better sound.

Second Monitor

Sidecar iPad

(Image credit: Future)

Sometimes, one screen just isn’t enough. And if you don’t have the budget to buy a new fancy monitor then consider using your old iPad for some extra screen real estate. There are a few ways to accomplish this. If you have an iMac or a Mac laptop, then Apple’s Sidecar makes using your iPad (as long as it’s compatible) as a second display basically seamless. 

However, if your iPad isn’t compatible or you’re not using a computer running macOS then you have software options. Consider Splashtop Wired, Duet Display, or Luna Display. Now, depending on the option you choose, you can either have a wired or wireless connection. Some third-party options may also require a subscription fee.

Stephanie A Barnes

Stephanie Barnes is a contributor at iMore. She fell in love with technology after building her first PC as a little girl. She later followed that passion to become a front-end/iOS engineer before switching to writing full-time. Stephanie's writing on technology, health and wellness, movies, television, and much more can be found all over the internet, including at HuffPost, HelloGiggles, PopSci, MindBodyGreen, and Business Insider. At iMore, she covers everything from breaking news to product roundups with the latest and greatest devices, apps, and accessories on the market. Stephanie also writes the occasional how-to guide to help readers get the most out of their Apple's devices and services.