7 useful ways to resurrect your old iPhone from the junk drawer

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Still plenty of life in the old thing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac
Still plenty of life in the old thing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

If you’re like me, you’ve got a junk bin full of old technology. It’s just the way we’re made; there’s nothing better than sifting through the detritus of technology that you loved.

I’ve traded in my iPhone for the last five generations, from the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 5, or passed them along to my kids or significant others. The first generation iPhone, however, was something special, so I kept it.

As I was looking for ways to let my daughter listen to music at night without the temptation (or networked connection) of her more modern mobile phone, I chanced upon this lovely little rounded gadget from 2007 in the plastic bin I lovingly refer to as my Dead Technology Museum.

I figured I’d add some music to the thing, and that would be that. But the more time I spent messing around with it, I realized that I could make it into a pretty great little device; even though it pales in comparison with the iPhone 6, there’s still plenty of use in this baby.

Here are seven things, then, that you can do with your own old iPhone to make it just a bit more useful, whether it’s an original iPhone or an even more modern model.

Siri: Your personal resolution wrangler

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Let Siri help you keep your New Year Resolutions. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Let Siri help you keep your New Year's resolutions. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
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I asked Siri to set a 6:30 a.m. alarm so I could get this article written before my morning spin class. And that got me wondering what other things the young woman on my iPhone 6 Plus could do to help me meet or exceed my plans to dominate in 2015.

After my wake-up alarm, I told Siri to “call me ‘Champ.'” What better way to get our relationship started than to establish a motivational nickname? I was going to go with “Tiger” or “Hero” or “Shnoogems,” but decided “Champ” was the least embarrassing if Siri shouted it out in public.

Your biggest online security mistakes (and how to avoid them)

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Don't let online hackers get into your home...directory. Photo: Scott Schiller/CC
Don't let online hackers get into your home ... directory. Photo: Scott Schiller/Flickr CC Flickr

We all make compromises daily when it comes to online security. Everybody wants to be safe and secure when making purchases online, but practically none of us do everything necessary to keep our data secure.

“People, myself included, are basically lazy,” web developer Joe Tortuga told Cult of Mac, “and ease of use is inversely related to security. If it’s too difficult, then people just won’t do it.”

With all the recent hacks into private as well as corporate data — like the credit card grab from Home Depot and the hack into Sony’s files, there’s no better time to learn some of the things we all can do to protect ourselves. We spoke to some online security experts to get their advice.

Here’s how to get into the Inbox by Gmail beta, no invite required

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You don't need an invite to get into Inbox with this nifty trick. Photo: Google
You don't need an invite to get into Inbox with this nifty trick. Photo: Google

Are you interested in Inbox, Google’s innovative new attempt to “fix” email, but haven’t gotten an invitation into the beta?

Good news: as long as you have a real-world friend who is already part of Inbox’s invite-only beta, you can easily get in, no invite required. Here’s how.

ICMYI: Apple Pay, iOS 8, Yosemite

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Apple Pay, iOS 8.1, Yosemite, and more! Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Apple Pay, iOS 8.1, Yosemite, and more! Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Yes! Another week, another scintillating issue full of Cult of Mac’s best news stories and features, compiled in one place to read through easily on your iPad or iPhone. This week we’ve got some delightful coverage of the new Apple Pay features in iOS 8, tips and tricks on the latest operating systems, iOS 8.1 and OS X Yosemite, and a couple of great apps you won’t want to miss. That and more in this week’s spectacularly useful Cult of Mac Magazine.

Dig into Cult of Mac Magazine October 24 Edition, Free on iTunes