We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Turn Your Old Galaxy Phone Into a Smart Home Sensor with Samsung’s App Beta

A Samsung Galaxy S9 measuring light levels under a lamp.

Following up on a promise at CES, Samsung launched a new Galaxy Upcycle program beta to keep your old Galaxy phones out of the trash. If you have a Galaxy phone from 2018 or later, you can turn it into a smart home sensor for detecting light and sound events.

The idea behind Galaxy Upcycle is to repurpose old devices so they can continue to be useful even after you’ve replaced them with newer gear. That’s better than throwing away a phone only to have it end up in a landfill. The program is a beta and limited to start, and so a Galaxy S8 is too old to participate currently.

“Smart home devices are a fast-growing trend for consumer electronics, and we believe that Galaxy devices currently not in use can play an important role in turning every home into a smart home,” said Jaeyeon Jung, VP & Head of the SmartThings team, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. “The program transforms Galaxy devices into SmartThings devices and demonstrates the power of our intelligent IoT platform to broaden the possibilities of what users can do with their old phones. Through Galaxy Upcycling at Home, users will have access to the complete SmartThings ecosystem, enabling them to explore broader updates and features without having to purchase a new device.”

While it doesn’t look like you have to use your Galaxy devices as SmartThings sensors, that is a specific tie-in you can use. If you’re already a SmartThings user, you likely know that light and audio sensors can often be expensive. Repurposing your old phone could save a few dollars.

To start, you have two options: sound and light sensor options. As a sound sensor, your device can detect noises like a baby crying, dog barking, cat meowing, or a knock and send you notifications. And as a light sensor, your phone can measure the brightness of a room and turn on the lights as it gets dark.

To convert your device, you’ll need to use the Samsung SmartThings app. Samsung says any Galaxy S, Note, and Z series device from 2018 or later and running at least Android 9 will work. 

Source: Samsung

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site's content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »