Get the most out of an older iPad

It’s amazing to think that Apple’s iPad turns five years old this year. It’s so ubiquitous in 2015 that it seems like it has been around for a lot longer. Even old models are still in use, which brings me to my motivation for writing this article.

I own an iPad 2. It was released in March of 2011 and it’s still alive and kicking. Apple has even noted that the next update to its operating system, dubbed “iOS 9”, will run on the aging device. Still, it’s not as zippy as its younger siblings.

If you’ve got an older iPad around and have been wondering about its usefulness, let me point out these great ways to keep it useful and in service. The following are four ways to use an older iPad.

As a cable-free TV

I’ll admit it, I use my iPad 2 to watch TV shows and movies quite often. More often than my actual TV, in fact. There are a slew of apps out there that make this happen, including:

  • Netflix: TV, movies and great original content
  • Hulu: A stronger focus on TV than Netflix, but it has movies, too
  • Crackle: Sony’s streaming service has plenty of movies
  • HBO Go/HBO Now: The former is a free add-on for HBO subscribers, while the latter is a stand-alone subscription at $14.99 per month, and both allow you access to HBO programming
  • Amazon Instant Video: A video streaming service that’s included with the company’s Prime membership at $99 per year
  • Your cable provider: If you have cable television or internet, your service may have an app that lets you stream television to your iPad

As a remote control

Don’t want to cut the cable cord? Or maybe perhaps you prefer to enjoy TV and movies on your actual television? No problem. Most TV manufacturers offer universal remote apps. Additionally, if you use the Apple TV, there’s a free Remote app ready to go.

It might not fit into your “Remote Boat,” but the iPad does a good job of controlling your TV. And it reduces clutter by limiting you to one remote instead of a pile.

Weather Station

A friend of mine has this super-cool wireless weather station at his house that I really like. Realizing that an app is cheaper than a whole new piece of hardware, I went looking for a compatible app and found WunderStation. This great-looking app provides a wealth of weather information that you can browse in real time. You can also customize its presentation so that it’s displayed just how you want. Add a handy wall mount and you’ve got a very cool weather station.

Kitchen Helper

I’ve been using my iPad in the kitchen pretty much from day one. Of course it’s great for storing recipes and keeping them handy for when you want to cook. But you can increase its usefulness with a kitchen-friendly stand. I use a ‘fridge mount from Belkin to keep my iPad 2 away from messy spills while I’m cooking.

Alternatively, you can use a Chef Sleeve or go low-tech (but just as effective) with a zip-top kitchen bag.

It’s funny to think of something that’s only five years old as near the end of its usefulness, but such is the nature of tech. However, I think the iPad is an exception. The usefulness for this device has certainly exceeded its cost at this point, and I plan to use it for many more years to come.

10 Comments for “Get the most out of an older iPad”

  1. posted by Jenny on

    Other uses I can think of are a digital picture frame, or an alarm clock, maybe with some extra information you want to see first thing in the morning.

  2. posted by Pat on

    I use mine nightly as a Kindle and to play games. While my Ipad is about 4 yrs old, I certainly don’t consider it obsolete. I see it being used at least another 3 yrs-as long as I can read books and magazines on it. And since it’s older, I don’t worry so much about theft and breakage, so I take it more places.

  3. posted by Pete on

    A real weather station displays the conditions currently inside and outside of your house. That shiny weather app displays the conditions that were predicted. No rain today?
    You could use it as a picture frame. Or if you have a smart home, that old iPad might work not just as a remote control for your TV (unwieldy) but for your complete home.

  4. posted by LanellT on

    It’s also useful as a Security Camera. I use the Presence App.

  5. posted by D.H. on

    My two-year old grandson uses mine for his Sago Mini apps. He is learning and I don’t worry about him breaking it!

  6. posted by Corstiaan on

    With the appropriate software you can also use it as an second monitor to you pc screen

  7. posted by Doane on

    What about uses for the iPad 1? (No camerA on it, etc). Thanks for any feedback you can offer

  8. posted by Kat on

    I play youtube videos for my kitten on my ipad 1 and she goes nuts. She pounces on it and tries to get underneath it and generally has a good time. I can mount it for kitten TV. You can search for ‘videos for cats’ on youtube and 2 hour long recordings of birds, etc. come up. The cats love it. I use it as a remote control as well and for slow web browsing.

  9. posted by rd2d on

    What a great site. One of the best I’ve seen on the topic. I’m definitely going to subscribe. I think the old ipad idea is great, but what about those old, clunky Kindle’s. I wrote a post on my site about turning one into a wall clock. seriously.

  10. posted by iOrder66 on

    We have 2 first generation iPads.

    One is in use as a baby monitor for our Wifi Baby camera.

    My 70-year-old mother has the other one. She is uncomfortable around a computer, but she has learned to use Facebook, look up recipes and do banking thanks to its easy to use interface.

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