Recycle your tech: clever uses for an old iPad

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By Ruben Circelli, Signal Contributing Writer

Now that we’re all spending more time stuck at home, you’re going to want to add at least one to your arsenal of entertainment options. That old iPad is a great opportunity, and here are a few extra uses.

 Stay connected while social distancing

Many Americans are staying home more than ever as we ride out this coronavirus pandemic with social distancing. That doesn’t mean you have to end all communications with people in your life, you just have to keep a safe distance.
The best way to stay in touch with family and friends during these troubled times is to video chat with them. You can either use the FaceTime app or you can download a video conferencing app like Zoom or Skype.

 Digital photo frame

Within the Photos app, Apple allows you to generate and play slideshows of any photo album, local or on the cloud. By changing certain settings on your iPad, you can turn your device into however much of a dedicated digital photo viewer as you’d like.

First, turn on Do Not Disturb mode: From Settings, tap Do Not Disturb and toggle it on. This will silence any calls or notifications that would otherwise distract from photo-viewing.

The next step is to turn Auto-Lock off. Here’s how: From Settings tap Display & Brightness, then set Auto-Lock to Never. This will make it so your screen never goes to sleep. Finally, turn on Guided Access: From Settings, tap Accessibility then Guided Access, which you can toggle on. This allows you to lock your iPad to the current app.

A nice big remote

iPads can be easily used to control other devices across the Apple ecosystem. Controlling your other Apple products, like an Apple TV or your iTunes library, can be done by way of downloading the appropriate app from the App Store (in this case, the Apple TV app or Apple’s Remote app).

Many streaming services like Netflix and Hulu support casting content from your iPad to a streaming device, smart TV or computer. This makes it easy to start watching something on your iPad and smoothly transition to another screen when needed.

 Music server

While it may seem a little obvious, iPads of all ages and models make fantastic music-streaming hubs. Whether you choose to store your music locally or use a streaming service, iPads can transmit music to various devices both over Bluetooth and using AirPlay. Chances are if you have a relatively modern speaker system, your iPad can stream music to it.

 Kitchen recipe and videos

Leaving an iPad in the kitchen as a dedicated recipe-station is surprisingly useful. Fitness apps like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt allow users to store recipes, as well as track the nutritional makeup of their creations. There are also endless numbers of apps built around the idea of discovering new recipes, like Tasty. Or apps all about cooking simple, healthy meals, like Fork Over Knives.

The easiest method of all is to store recipes on Apple’s Notes app. Notes can be opened side-by-side with YouTube or the web browser of your choice as you search for the best recipes while taking whatever notes you might like.

For information on Kim Komando on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks, visit her at Komando.com. 

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