Samsung will turn your old Galaxy phone into a smart home device for free

The Galaxy Upcycling program finds new uses for old smartphones

Galaxy Upcycling
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung’s Galaxy Upcycling program can turn your old Galaxy smart phone into a useful smart home device. Though a simple software update, your old Galaxy S10 or Note 10+ could become a baby monitor, pet care solution or light sensor.

The beta service, which started on Friday, is part of the company’s sustainability efforts and aims to put those devices left at the bottom of a draw to new use. The updates are available through SmartThings Labs and enhance the sound and light control features of the devices. The phones can then use an AI system to pick out certain sounds, such as a baby crying or dog barking, and then send an alert to other devices.

Using the camera, they can also be used to measure light levels and turn on the lights or other devices such as the TV when it gets dark. The updates are designed to minimize battery use, so the devices can operate for long periods without recharging. It also allows the phones to connect to a wide range of smart home devices through SmartThings – Samsung’s smart home app.

The feature works on all S, Note and Z Series Galaxy models, released from 2018 onwards and running Android 9 or above. Users can make the updates themselves from the SmartThings app.

It’s a great way to make use of an old phone and offers some very creative uses. You could use multiple devices to provide home security, by placing them next to windows or to keep a night light on while you’re away. Baby and pet monitors can be expensive bits of kit, so turning your old phone into one for free definitely makes sense.

Now, where did I put that old phone? 

Mat Gallagher
Mat Gallagher

As T3's Managing Editor in the US, Mat has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. Originally from the UK, he has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing and Hong Kong, is now based in Chicago. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.