Have an old Galaxy phone? Samsung now lets you turn it into a smart home device

Samsung/Screenshot by CNET’s Sareena Dayaram

If you have an old Galaxy phone gathering dust at home, you may now have a good reason to power it back on: converting it into a smart home device. All you have to do is install a software update.

Samsung said the public beta of its Galaxy Upcycling at Home program, announced back in January at CES 2021, went live Wednesday in the US, UK, and South Korea. Through a software update on Samsung’s SmartThings app, owners can enable new features in their old Galaxy phones that lets them function as a smart home device like a baby monitor or a light sensor, for example. 

With the help of repurposed sensors and enhanced AI, the South Korean company says the Galaxy phones can detect sounds like a baby crying and then send an alert directly to your current smartphone so that you can go check-in on your little one. Samsung says it can also be used as a pet monitor to listen for your dog’s bark, for instance.  

In addition to monitoring capabilities, Samsung says the Galaxy phone can be used as light sensor to measure the brightness level of the room. It can then have the lights automatically turned on if the room gets darker than the preset standard. Samsung hasn’t yet specifics on which Galaxy models will get this functionality.

The Galaxy Upcycling at Home program is an evolution of Samsung’s Galaxy Upcycling initiative from 2017, part of an effort to reduce e-waste by reusing and repurposing old Galaxy smartphones.

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