Two new iPads are coming. How to recycle your old one for your children


You can turn your old iPad into a smart home hub that works like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Karisa Langlo / CNET

It’s official: Two new iPads hit stores this Friday, September 24th.

Apple announced the Ipad mini and the 10.2 inch iPad at its big event last week. Both iPads come with a new high resolution camera with Center Stage (a new digital zoom feature) and some major upgrades that we’ve been waiting for. The iPad Mini comes in four new colors, has a True Tone display and supports 5G connectivity. On the other hand, the ninth generation iPad works with the first generation Apple Pencil and other wireless keyboards. It favors the eighth generation very much, but comes with a faster A13 Bionic chip.

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When you’re looking to buy a new iPad, there is no better time. But what does that mean for your old one? Maybe you’re selling it for a little extra cash to cover the cost of that shiny new iPad? Or you can save it for your kids and download it iPadOS15 to give them some of the new iPad perks for free. Even if the new iPad sounds a lot better, the old one can still come in handy. You can use it as a smart hub that gives you a Echo show or Google Nest Hub. Or you can turn it into a new baby monitor (more below). Interested? We’ll show you how.

We also have ideas on what to do with yours old Android Phone (maybe turn it into a Security Camera). And here’s what else was revealed at that Apple event. There is a new one Apple watch and the iPhone 13 is finally here with two new colors.

Turn it into a smart hub and use Apple’s HomeKit

You don’t have to buy HomePod or HomePod Mini from Apple to put a smarter Apple speaker in your child’s room.

You can turn your old iPad into a smart home hub that lets your kids play music, turn the lights on and off, and even control the temperature in their room with the tablet.

How to turn your iPad into a smart home hub for your child’s room:

1. Go to on your iPad settings.

2. Scroll down, tap Home, then turn on Use this iPad as a home hub.

If you want to give your kids control of the smart home devices in their room rather than everywhere in the house, you can restrict access in the Home app.

A smart baby monitor is much cheaper

Most Baby monitors Make it easy to check your little one from your phone or computer. But they’re not cheap. Turning your old iPad into a baby monitor is a cheaper way to keep an eye on your baby.

You can check your child with baby monitor apps like Cloud Baby Monitor. You can also get motion and sound alerts, just like popular baby monitors – the Owlet Smart Sock Plus is a popular one. Note that if you’re looking for a monitor that will keep an eye on your baby’s oxygen levels, temperature, and sleep quality, an iPad won’t do it for you.

A calming night light and sound machine

If your kids are starting to sleep alone and you want to give them a quiet place to sleep, your old iPad is up to the task. With an app like Baby Night Lite, you can set up a night light for the nursery with a variety of small animals and colors along with a sound machine that comes with a variety of songs and white noise and background noise. And you can set a timer and create a playlist of peaceful, soothing music or lullabies. For older kids who are beyond lullabies and sheep dancing, an app like Night Light Lite lets you choose from a variety of sounds like beach waves and running water, as well as night light colors to help them fall asleep.

A new game console and new features with iPadOS 15

Sony’s PS5 or the Nintendo switch could be on your kids’ shortlist for Christmas gifts. But the iPadOS15 has a couple of new widgets to improve gaming, including a resume feature to pick up where you left off and a widget that lets you see what games your friends are playing.

And for fun and variety, it’s hard to beat an iPad paired with it Apple Arcade Games such as NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition or The Oregon Trail. And if you have more kids than play equipment at home, transforming the old iPad into a play equipment might be just the thing.

The iPad also gives your kids a bigger screen for playing multiplayer games. And you can even add one PlayStation or Xbox wireless controller onto the iPad so your kids can play without hogging your TV or phone.


You can download educational apps for your child to use your old tablet as a study tool.

Sarah Tew / CNET

An educational tool with educational games and apps

If your kids need the home computer for their school assignments, turning an iPad into a special study tool can be the perfect use for your older Apple tablet. You can even Pair it with a keyboard and a mouse so that the iPad feels more like a computer. Also, the new iPad update has a split view that allows you to take notes and watch a video or use an app, which makes the old iPad even more useful.

If you are concerned that your child will be distracted by messages, games, alerts, and social media, you can The parental controls from Apple Set limits and what you can and cannot do on the device. You can also use Focus mode to mute all notifications and distractions and create a screen that only shows the apps you choose.

To stay on top this school year, here are some apps that can help your kids study, keep track of the day, and take notes.

If you’re still looking for a new iPad, here’s our guide to how The best iPads currently available and the big differences between them. And here are those big differences between the two new iPads when discussing which one to get.


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