I was curious if there is anyway to reuse an old Android phone? I have a Motorola Droid 1 that has been sitting around since I got my HTC Thunderbolt. Is there a way to use the phone as a "PDA" with the cell radio disabled? I got family member that would find it neat.

  • 4
    You could always let your family member friend use it as a phone as well... – cjk Aug 16 '11 at 10:17

You can still use all the functions of the phone (except carrier based calling of course) without a carrier contract. However, the cell radio will eat up battery hugely! To turn off the radio, dial *#*#4636#*#*, scroll down and click the "Turn off radio" button. Bluetooth and WiFi will still function normally.

If your phone is rooted you can actually turn the radio off by setting a script to run that will automatically turn off the radio at boot time:

  • Create a script as a text file at the root of your SD card containing this text:

    radiooptions 1
  • Install Script Manager app.
  • Open Script Manager and then select the script you created.
  • Check the "Run as root" option and the "Run at boot" checkboxes.
  • Click the "Save" button, and then click "Run" to test.

I do exactly this with my old og Droid myself and use it as a dashboard cam when I'm driving to record in case I'm in an accident.

  • very cool, this makes it actually worth reusing the old phone because I can isolate it from the cell network. Thanks. – ianc1215 May 5 '12 at 8:09
  • My Galaxy Fame s6810p didn't have the radiooptions binary by default. Installed it via adb shell. When I manually run the binary with argument 1, the cell radio turns off for a few seconds, as indicated on the status bar, but then gets back on and reconnects to the cell tower. I'm manually running radiooptions via SSH after boot, maybe this is the problem. – davide Aug 15 '15 at 22:33

I have an original Motorola Droid that no longer has phone service, but it works great as a WiFi device. It does almost everything except make phone calls and texts. Android MArket works, Amazon App Store works. Google Maps has a feature (look under the Labs menu) to pre-cache 10-mile square areas of a map. Then you can see where you are even when you don't have an Internet connection. I've even had it navigate somewhere with me, as long as it has WiFi coverage at the start, and as long as I don't go off course. Browser works. WiFi Analyzer works. It's still a great device even if it's WiFi only.


Yeah, just put it in Airplane mode. Hold the Power button for a second and choose it from the pop-up menu.

  • Wifi will still work in airplane mode, but Bluetooth won't. – Broam Aug 16 '11 at 13:46
  • @Broam: Wifi doesn't work in airplane mode – Lie Ryan Aug 17 '11 at 12:31
  • @Lie On what phone? It works just fine on my SGS (turning on Airplane Mode will shut off WiFi, but it can be turned back on) and everything I've read says it's true for the Droid as well. – Matthew Read Aug 17 '11 at 17:47
  • @Matthew Read: that's what I said; Wifi doesn't work when airplane mode is active, i.e. Wifi is disabled when airplane mode is active. – Lie Ryan Aug 17 '11 at 20:54
  • 4
    @Lie Airplane mode stays on when WiFi is switched back on. You can shut off the mobile network via Airplane Mode and then turn on WiFi to keep using it while wasting less battery on cell standby; WiFi does work when Airplane Mode is active. – Matthew Read Aug 17 '11 at 20:59

If the SIM card's been taken out, then you should be able to use it as a PDA, an MP3/video player, a pocket gaming device or even a mini web browsing tablet over Wifi without any problems. This is exactly the same as the people who reuse their old iPhones as iPod Touches for family members.

  • Its a CDMA phone, no SIM card. – ianc1215 Aug 16 '11 at 14:37

If the phone is part of a carrier contract and the contract is still active, you might still be liable to pay the bill until the contract ends or you might have to pay early termination fee.

If you truly owned the device (i.e. the contract has ended or you purchased it without contract), then just contact your carrier and tell them that you're disabling the service (or transferring it to your new phone). Android should still work as a Wifi-only device.

Obviously since the phone will no longer has an always-on internet connection, so you might need to make adjustments to how you use the phone as you find certain applications becomes useless without an always-on internet connection. For example, live train/bus schedule application becomes useless and you would find an alternative that stores their data offline, Google Map might become less attractive, and apps that polls data every 5 minutes becomes just a battery waster since it can't get you the latest data anyway.

  • Ok so in my case contact Verizon and they can tell me what I need to do? – ianc1215 Aug 18 '11 at 1:38
  • If you transferred your Verizon number from the Droid to the Thunderbolt, they've already done what they can do. Follow @Matthew Read's advice and put the phone in Airplane mode, then turn Wifi on. Mine's been in that setup for almost two months. – TomG Nov 3 '11 at 23:47

With some certain programming and a google voice number, you instantly have a wifi sipphone. Basically free calls anywhere as long as you don't need 911 service on it. All you would need is sipdroid a google voice number and the google voice program on the device. Search around the net and you will find how.


You can use it as anti-theft device for your bike or anti-burglary system for your home. http://oplasoft.wordpress.com/products-3/

  • You also mention this shareware software in another question. If you are affiliated with the product please disclose that. Also refer to our FAQ about promotion. – Flow Dec 18 '12 at 20:43

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