How To Use Old Android Phone as WiFi Only Device

Once you get a new Android device it’s common to simply toss the old one in a drawer, throw it in the garbage or sell it to a service that gives just mere pennies compared to what you paid for the device. There has to be a better way. Why not use the old Android phone as a WiFi only device?

This is actually a quite simple process, considering all you are really doing is shutting down all the network capabilities on your device and connecting to your WiFi to use it for downloading apps, using the apps, browsing the internet and whatever else you can use WiFi for.

Let’s take a look at how to use old Android phones as WiFi only devices so you don’t have to part ways with your trusty old friend. Rather, use it to play games, read books or even play the radio so you don’t have to clutter up your computer while working.

Prepare Your WiFi-Only Device

To start off we need to make it so that your phone is ready to become a WiFi only device. Sometimes you might have problems connecting to WiFi or using any of the functions on your phone because it still has old data that connects your phone to past wireless provider.

Here are some tips to get started:

Tip 1

Turn on Airplane mode and enable the WiFi connection on your phone. Airplane mode turns off all wireless network access.

Airplane mode

Tip 2

Make sure your WiFi connection is running properly in your home or office by trying out other devices on the connection.

Tip 3

Go to Settings > Network and uncheck the Data option. Then also uncheck the Roaming option. This also removes data connections that are lingering. This varies depending on your device, so search for the Settings area and locate the Network or Wireless option. Keep clicking through until you find the Roaming option.


Tip 4

Go to Manage Apps on your phone, select the Play Store and delete the entire cache if you are having problems with lingering data connections.

Tip 5

Make sure you have a Google Play Store Account in order to download games and apps.

google play

Tip 6

Complete a factory reset to clear everything out and feel free to try a launcher or ROM if you want to change the look and feel of your phone.

factory reset

Tip 7

Turn off the data connection on the phone.

Method 1: Use the Old Phone as a Radio

One of the best ways to use your old Android phone is to turn it into a radio.

Step 1

Download and install an internet radio site such as Pandora below. You can also checkout our other radio suggestions here.

Download on Google Play

Step 2

Find a location in your home where everyone can reach the radio and change the channel or create a playlist.

Step 3

Purchase a stand and a set of nice speakers so that you can hear the radio throughout your home or office.

Step 4

Consider loading up your local music files to play songs in your car if you are having problems with your radio or just want to listen to your own playlists.

android in car

Method 2: Use the Old Phone as a Clock

Now you might be wondering why you would need to use a phone as a clock since you already probably have one, but an Android phone is more than a clock. You can load up certain apps to present the news to you in the morning, share stock info, tell you about the weather and even wake you up.

Step 1

Buy a stand for your phone and place it on a table next to your bed.

Step 2

Download one of the best alarm clock apps to help you wake up in the morning. Even consider setting up your favorite song as you alarm.

alarm clock

Step 3

Install a nice weather app to see if the sun is shining in the morning.

weather app

Step 4

Install a clock that shows up on the lock screen so you don’t have to go scrambling through the phone to check the time when you wake up. Try the DashClock option below.

Download on Google Play

Step 5

Turn off sleep mode on your Android phone so you can always see the time. You can change this in your settings, but it’s easier to just install the RedEye Stay Awake app below.

Download on Google Play

Step 6

Plug in your phone to an outlet so it always stays on.

Method 3: Use Your Old Android Phone for Your Kids

If you have kids then why not use it to monitor them or give the phone to them to play games?

Step 1

Download the Baby Monitor app to check in on your infants.

Download on Google Play

Step 2

Help your kids learn and lock them out of any potentially dangerous features with the Famigo app. You can put on a child lock and provide fun games for your kids to play.

Download on Google Play

Step 3

Upload videos or music and allow them to use the device for media consumption.

Method 4: Use it as Media Device in Questionable Areas

This method doesn’t take many apps or modifications, but they are step-by-step suggestions for using your phone as a media device in questionable areas. What do I mean by questionable? Since it’s an old phone you probably don’t care about it as much, so why not use it where it might get damaged?

Step 1

Buy a stand so you can move the Android device around in your home instead of placing it on tables or the floor.

Step 2

Put your own music on the device and use it as an MP3 player at the gym. If you get sweat on it or drop a weight on the phone you don’t have to worry as much.

Step 3

Use the phone to watch videos or read books in the bathroom.

android bathroom

Step 4

Place the phone on a stand in the kitchen to bring up recipes or watch TV while cooking.

android cooking

Step 5

Put the phone in your garage or workshop so that you can bring up guide while working. Don’t worry about getting grease or dust on the phone since it’s old.

android toolman

Method 5: Use the Phone as a Remote

This method is great for controlling all the components in your home entertainment system and even for controlling appliances.

Step 1

Use a basket, container or Velcro holding device so that people can always find the remote in your home. It’s nice to have the phone in a basket so everyone can change the channel if they want. It’s also wise to keep a charging cable around in case you run out of battery.

Step 2

Install one of our suggestions for TV remote and universal remote apps, which allow you to control items like your TV, appliances and sound systems.

tv remote

Step 3

Consider buying a protective case so people don’t get grime on the remote.


That’s about it for learning how to use old Android phone as WiFi only device. These are usually quick solutions to finding uses for your old Android, so feel free to play around with them. Let us know if you have any questions about how to use your old device, and share other ideas for making a WiFi only device.


Comments (39)

  1. Paul V. on

    You can use your old WIFI only devices for GPS navigation. Simply download any GPS app that has offline maps and the built-in GPS receiver should handle the rest without any need for a data connection. I’ve got Garmin USA running on a WIFI only iphone4, CoPilot works on my HTC One (M7). You can even use the offline maps feature in Google Maps.

  2. Noah on

    I am thinking of using my old phone with a free Freedom Pop 500MB data plan using a wifi hotspot and give it to my mom who still has a flip phone

  3. Jay Buster on

    THANK YOU!!! I’ve been looking for an inexpensive way to provide Pandora for our coworking space. This is the ticket!

    Thanks again.


  4. Jim on

    I bought an old Verizon Droid X just to use for wifi. But when I turn it on it wants to make me program the phone and I can’t figure out how to get around that screen.

  5. NJtoTX on

    No matter what I do, I get “Connection failed” when I try to access my WiFi with my old Samsung 4G LTE. Is the router’s WiFi technology too new for the phone?

    • Samie on

      I can’t imagine this to be the case, however It also could be.
      Perhaps try our method on an alternative router to see?

  6. Evelyn Gonzales on

    I came from Facebook well done on an excellent social media

  7. Lisa Schofield on

    As long as I have my old HTC Incredible 2 on Airplane mode and wifi enabled but all roaming turned off, do I really need to do a factory reset to avoid any future charges from my cell phone carrier? I only plan on using it as an alarm clock and accessing wifi (in home or when travelling). For example, if my home network goes off line while I’m using the old phone in wifi mode, maybe listening to internet radio, is there any chance of the phone connecting through the carrier- (some kind of data roaming?) when it should just lose the wifi connection?

    • Judy on

      Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for commenting and I will contact the author for you to get a solution for your problem. Will get back to you.

      • Mary on

        Hi! I was just wondering if you ever found the answer to Lisa’s question, because I would like to know the answer to that, too.

        If you have the answer, I would greatly appreciate it if you told me the answer as well.

        I don’t want to get charged for using my old phone.

        Thank you!

      • Mary on

        Did you ever find the solution to Lisa’s question, because I am wondering the same thing and I would greatly appreciate it if you tell me, too.

        • Judy on

          Hi Mary,
          A factory reset is not necessary to avoid being charged from your carrier when traveling. Factory resets are usually done when your phone in giving your problems or when you think you might have spyware on your phone. These are two entirely different things. The best thing you can do is contact your carrier since carriers can sometimes charge for the silliest things, just to be on the safe side, but I don´t see why they should charge anything. Hope this helps. =-)

  8. Joe on

    Great advice. I have been looking for a better way to play Pandora out in my back yard on my speakers without tying up my phone and forgot about being able to use my old one. I could also use it with a Bluetooth speaker I just bought. What is a bonus is I have a casio gzone which can stay outside without worrying about rain. It could be a good reason for people to buy an older phone on eBay.

    • Judy on

      Glad the article helped you. If you don´t want to miss even more helpful tips ( if you haven´t done so already), don´t forget to sign up to our daily or weekly Email subscription and share your positive experience with family and friends.

  9. joe on

    o.k. i assume this works for newer phones also, cuz i wanna use my lg volt for phone calls w/wifi w/google voice. this should work, right ?

    • Judy on

      Hi Joe,
      Google Voice has received some really bad reviews. I use Google Hangout for voice calls on my WiFi only device and it works just fine. Thanks for commenting.

  10. joe on

    i don’t wanna use my lg volt as a clock, cuz i wanna use it as phone w/google. it’s never been activated. does your procedure makes sense as a first step ?

    • Judy on

      Hi Joe,
      I would check anyways to make sure the settings are the way they should be, just to be on the safe side. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.

  11. Ed Taylor on

    I was thinking of purchasing a Verizon android device such as LG Optimus Exceed just for wifi use. Can I bypass network activation on a new phone for wifi use only?

    • Judy on

      Hi Ed,
      Luckily you can bypass the activation screen and it is also very easy to do. All you have to do is the following:

      1. Tap top left hand corner
      2. Tap top right hand corner
      3. tap bottom right hand corner (above grey matter)
      4. tap bottom left hand corner (above grey matter)

      With these steps you can skip the activation and use the smartphone. The only downside that you will face is that upon rebooting you will have to do the same pattern, but I think that is only a small price to pay. Thanks for you comment!

  12. Penny on

    My Nettalk broke and I was getting ready to buy another and read your article, yeah! I live away from all cell towers and no signal reaches me, thus Nettalk through my wifi for a home phone.
    What I was wonder, is what is the best old droid to use just for a phone and can I call 911? Plus, I would love the music too. Do I need the sim card? I can spend about 60.00 or less.
    Thank you so much for saving me money!!! 🙂

    • Judy on

      Hi Penny,
      Most phones let you, at least, call 911, so you have quite a few models to choose from. I am sure that if you go to your local store you can find many phones within your budget that also give the option to listen to your music. Thanks for commenting and your welcome. =-)

  13. Mary on

    This is SUCH good news and gives me hope! I am starting a “Coding and Computer Science Club” for 3rd – 5th graders at a Title 1 school. We’ll be using MIT APP Inventor and, since many of them will not have phones, was looking to see if we could use recycled or donated phones. Thanks!

    • Judy on

      Hi Mary,
      I am glad you were able to find this post that has obviously helped you out. I hope all goes well and don’t forget to let me know how things work out. Thanks for commenting. =-)

  14. Jeanne on

    Thanks for all the good directions to use my OLD android as a radio. I get all the way to downloading Tune In and iHeart, and find that
    ‘ Your device is not compatible with this version”
    I have a Motorola Bravo Android version 2.2.2, System version 38..6.0.MB520.generic.en.US. I checked and my device is up to date.
    HELP, can I still use it?

    • Judy on

      Hi Jeanne,
      iHeart Radio requires Android 4 or higher but Tune In only requires 1.6 and up. You should be able to use that one. Have you tried to reinstall the app? Hope that helps. =-)

  15. jinxy on

    I bought a samsung galaxy s5 from textnow and theyre telling me i cannot use my phone as wifi only device, that i must subscribe to service for the phone to work. Are they bs’ing me or can it be done? Do i need to perform an unlock first then use as wifi only device?

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