Can I use my old Android phone as an MP3 player?

With new smartphones coming out every year, many people have older Android devices lying around that they no longer use as their primary phone. While these older phones may seem outdated for normal use, they can be repurposed into dedicated music players. There are several benefits to turning an old Android into an MP3 player:

  • You can get more life and purpose out of your old phone instead of having it collect dust.
  • It allows you to save storage and battery on your current smartphone.
  • You can leave your main phone at home and take your music with you without risk.
  • Older phones often still have a headphone jack and microSD slot for expandable storage.
  • Having a separate MP3 player means one device can charge while you use the other.

Overall, reusing your old Android phone as a dedicated portable music player gives it renewed purpose and maximizes its remaining usefulness.

What You’ll Need

To use your old Android phone as an MP3 player, you’ll need the following:

  • Old Android phone – You’ll need an old Android smartphone you no longer use as your primary phone. The phone should be functional and hold an adequate charge.
  • Headphones or speakers – To listen to music, you’ll need either wired headphones that plug into your phone’s headphone jack or Bluetooth headphones/speakers that can pair with your phone wirelessly.
  • MicroSD card (optional) – While not required, having a microSD card to expand your phone’s storage capacity allows you to load more music onto the device. Aim for at least 32GB or higher.

As long as your old Android phone powers on and works properly, it has enough storage through its internal memory or microSD card, and you have headphones – you’re ready to use it as an MP3 player.

Delete Unneeded Apps

Before you can load music onto your old Android phone, you’ll need to free up storage space by deleting unused apps and files. One of the quickest ways to gain back storage is to delete apps you no longer use.

Go through all of the apps on your phone and remove any that you don’t need. Social media apps, gaming apps, and other non-essential apps can take up a lot of storage space. You can always reinstall apps later if you decide you need them again. Pay extra attention to apps that are large in file size.

Also check to see if there are any apps you can uninstall updates for to revert back to a smaller base version of the app. In your phone’s settings, go to “Apps & Notifications” then click “See All Apps.” Here you can sort by app size and uninstall updates for large apps.

Additionally, clear cached data for apps you use frequently. Over time, cached data can build up and hog storage space. You’ll find the option to clear cached data for each app under “Storage” in the app’s info page.

Per this guide, removing unneeded apps and clearing cached app data are two of the most effective ways to quickly free up storage space on an Android device.

Download a Music App

To turn your old Android phone into an MP3 player, you’ll need to download a music app. Some of the most popular and full-featured Android music apps include:

  • Spotify – Streaming and local music playback. Basic version is free with ads or pay for Spotify Premium to remove ads, download songs, and listen offline (Source).
  • YouTube Music – Stream songs and playlists. Download music for offline listening. Free with ads or subscribe to YouTube Music Premium (Source).
  • Google Play Music – Upload your music library and stream songs. Comes preinstalled on many Android devices.
  • Pandora – Custom radio stations based on artists or songs you like. Free with ads or remove ads with Pandora Plus/Premium.
  • Amazon Music – Access streaming songs and playlists. Store your MP3s in the cloud. Try for free or get an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription.

Most of the top apps offer both free and premium versions so you can choose the features you want. Check user reviews to see pros/cons of each app. For the best offline listening experience, choose an app that lets you download songs to your device storage.

Add Music to the Device

To add music files to your old Android phone so you can use it as an MP3 player, you will need to transfer songs from your computer or download them directly to your device. Here are a few options:

Transfer music files from a computer:
– Connect your Android phone to your computer using a USB cable. On Windows, you may need to select file transfer or USB mass storage mode on your phone.
– On your computer, locate the music files you want to transfer. Drag and drop them into the music folder on your Android device.
– Music management apps like Droid Transfer can make transferring music quick and easy.

Download streaming songs directly to your Android:
– Use apps like Spotify, Pandora, YouTube Music or other streaming services to download songs for offline listening.
– Songs downloaded from streaming services need to be downloaded again if you factory reset your phone, so keep that in mind.

Once your music is on your Android device, you’ll be ready to listen! Be sure to organize your music library within your chosen music app.

Organize Your Music Library

One of the best ways to organize your music collection on an Android device is by creating playlists. Playlists allow you to group together songs by genre, mood, activity, or any other category that makes sense for your preferences. To create a new playlist, open the music app on your Android and look for the option to “Create Playlist” or “New Playlist.” Give the playlist a name and start adding songs to it. Most music apps also allow you to sort your entire music library by artist, album, song title, genre, or year. Take advantage of these sorting options to browse your collection and see what you want to add to playlists. Sorting by album can be helpful for collecting all the songs from a specific album into one playlist.

You may also want to utilize the folder system within your Android’s internal storage to keep your music collection organized. Create a folder titled “Music” and within that make sub-folders for each genre, artist, or other music category. You can then save albums, EPs, compilations, etc. within the appropriate folders so your music library doesn’t become an endless list of songs. This makes it easier to navigate your collection and find what you’re looking for. The Reddit user in this thread suggests making folders for each music genre and saving artists and albums inside them.

Lastly, consider using an app like MediaMonkey to automatically tag your music files with the correct metadata like song title, artist, album, genre, and more. This makes your library even more organized and sortable. MediaMonkey can also rename improperly named song files and album art to clean things up. A well-organized music library makes your old Android feel more like a real MP3 player.

Listen to Music

Once you have music loaded onto your old Android device, listening to it is easy. You can use music apps like Google Play Music or Spotify to access your library and playlists. These apps allow you to browse by artist, album, song, playlist, or genre for quick access to your music.

To listen through your device’s speakers, simply tap on a song to begin playback. You can adjust the volume using your device’s volume buttons. For private listening, connect wired headphones to your device’s headphone jack or pair Bluetooth headphones or speakers to listen wirelessly.

Bluetooth accessories like portable speakers provide loud, high quality sound perfect for listening throughout your home. Make sure to fully charge your Android device first, as music streaming over Bluetooth can drain the battery faster.

Customize Settings

One of the best features of using an Android device as an MP3 player is the ability to customize your audio settings. The equalizer allows you to adjust the bass, mids, and treble to optimize the sound quality for your preferences. To access the equalizer on most Android phones, go to Settings > Sound & vibration > Advanced > Sound quality and effects (Slashgear, 2022).

Here you can select from preset equalizer settings like Pop, Rock, Hip-hop, and more. You can also manually adjust each frequency band. Boosting the lower frequencies between 60-250 Hz can add more bass, while reducing 2,000-8,000 Hz will diminish harsh highs. Experiment to find the best equalizer settings for your favorite genres and headphones.

Additionally, check your phone’s audio output options. You may get better sound quality by choosing to route audio over your wired headset rather than the built-in speakers. Enabling any available audio enhancements like Dolby Atmos can also improve the listening experience.

Prolong Battery Life

You’ll want to take some steps to prolong your old Android phone’s battery life so you can listen to more music between charges. Here are some tips:

Lower the screen brightness – Having the screen at max brightness uses a lot of battery. Lower the brightness to the minimum level you find usable to conserve battery life. You can set this in Settings > Display.

Disable unneeded features – Turn off Bluetooth, NFC, and other wireless connections when not in use. Consider restricting background data and limiting syncing to save battery as well. Disable or uninstall unneeded apps.

Get an external battery – A portable battery pack can provide extra juice on the go. Look for one with at least 5000mAh capacity. Anker and Aukey make affordable, well-reviewed models. Plug your phone into the external battery when power gets low for hours of extra listening time.


In summary, it is simple to repurpose an old Android phone as an MP3 player. After deleting unneeded apps and media files to free up storage space, download a dedicated music player app like PowerAmp. Add your music library to the device through a cloud service, SD card, or USB cable. Organize your playlists and albums to easily find songs. Adjust settings like EQ presets and data syncing options for the optimal listening experience. Routinely charge the device and dim the screen while listening to prolong battery life.

The benefits of using an old Android as an MP3 player are numerous. You can get more use out of an unused device and avoid having to purchase a new gadget. Dedicated music apps have more robust features than default options. Large internal storage on smartphones means you can carry your entire music library with you. Familiar interface and physical buttons make it easy to control music playback. And smartphones have excellent DACs and amplifiers for superior audio quality through headphones. With a few simple steps, that old Android phone can become your indispensable digital music player.

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