How I turned my old iPad into a stunning photo frame with iFramix
Do you have an old iPad lying around in your drawer, collecting dust? If you do, you’re not alone. Millions of iPads are discarded every year, contributing to the growing problem of e-waste pollution. But what if I told you that you can give your old iPad a new purpose, and enjoy your photos in a whole new way using eco-friendly iFramix solution?
I’ve always been a fan of Apple products, and I bought my first iPad years ago. It was a stunning device that served me well for many years, but eventually it became outdated and slow. I couldn’t use most of the apps, and the battery life was terrible. I didn’t want to throw it away, because what I invested in it, and it still had some sentimental value. But I also didn’t know what to do with it, so I just kept it in a drawer, hoping that one day I would find a use for it.
That day came last year, when I stumbled upon a Kickstarter campaign for iFramix, a smart frame that can bring your old iPad back to life. I was intrigued by the idea, and I decided to check it out. The campaign page explained that iFramix is a sleek and sturdy frame that fits all the old iPad models, and promised to come with an app to manage the photo gallery and a few bonus features like the iCharguard that promised to save the battery of these old devices by optimizing the charging cycles between 25% and 80%.
I was impressed by the features and the design of iFramix, and I was even more impressed by the price. The campaign offered the iFramix for less than $40 USD, I thought it was a great deal, and a great way to upcycle my old iPad 3.
How was the experience of backing a Kickstarter project
Backing a project on Kickstarter is not like buying a product from a store. It’s more like investing in an idea, and trusting the creators to make it happen. All backers pay upfront for a product that does not exist yet, and the money is in part used for the development of the solution. There is always a risk that the project might fail, or that the product might not meet the expectations.
The campaign page stated that the estimated delivery date was August 2023 but things did not go as planned, and the delivery was delayed by 5 months. I only got my iFramix in January of 2024. The reason for the delay was a policy change introduced by Apple in 2023 for new apps that affected all devices below iOS 11. The goal of iFramix was to support all devices since the original iPad, which left the team with extra work in their hands to develop a browser-based solution to cover all the older models, where my iPad 3 was included.
The iFramix creators kept consistent communication with the backers, with at least one update about the development process a month. They explained the challenges they faced, and the solutions they found. I understood that they were doing their best to overcome the difficulties. I was a bit disappointed with the workaround method to get it working on old devices, but I was glad that they made an effort to still deliver the solution for older devices.
I was aware that backing a project on Kickstarter involved some risks and uncertainties. The final product did not have all the features that were promised, but it is still functional.
How I setup iFramix and enjoyed my photos
After I received my iFramix in the mail, I was eager to set it up and see how it works. I followed the instructions in the user manual, and I used the iFramix app on my iPhone and the browser version on my iPad 3. The first step was to assemble the 30 pin connector and set up iCharguard using my iPhone. iCharguard is a smart device that connects to the wifi and optimizes the charging cycles of the iPad. It prevents the battery from going below 25% or above 80%, which can extend its lifespan and performance. However, this feature did not work for me, as my iPad 3 battery is always at 100%. Even though this feature is not working, this device enables all iPads to charge with a USB-C cable, and there is still hope for it to be fixed in the future, as the iFramix team can release new firmware updates for it.
After assembling the iCharguard, I inserted the iPad into the frame and plugged it into the wall. iFramix suggested using a 2A power brick (not included). The package also came with a long USB-C cable and some spacers to guarantee a tight fit for any iPad model.
The next step was to download the iFramix app on my iPhone, and create an account. The app let me choose the photos and also let me adjust photo duration. It also supports a screen saver mode, which displays a clock and the weather for a predefined location. However, I did not use this feature, as I prefer to see my photos all the time. The app was easy to use and intuitive, but it had one limitation that I did not like. It only allowed me to select 50 photos at a time. I wanted to see more of my photos, and I hoped that the iFramix team removes this limitation in the future.
The final step was to use the browser version on my iPad 3 using the Dolphin browser, which allows to display web pages in full screen. The browser version was supposed to work just like the app, but it had some drawbacks. The browser controls were always visible on the screen, which ruined the aesthetic of the photo frame and the aspect ratio of some of the photos was also incorrect, which made them look distorted or cropped.
How I made it work using the Pixette application
As I was browsing the comments from other bakers on the Kickstarter project page, I noticed someone recommending the Pixette app that turns an iPad into a slideshow and accesses the photos from local NAS devices using the WebDAV protocol.
Since I have a NAS where I store my photos and the Pixette app is still available in the store for iPad 3, this was an easy decision for me and it completely changed how the photos look in the iFramix frame. It does not have the limitation of 50 photos and it also supports MP4 videos, which is a bonus and adds more dynamism to the frame.
Despite the issues, with the late deliver and with the iCharguard not working as it was supposed to, I’m still happy with my iFramix. It turned my old iPad 3 into a stunning photo frame, and it let me, and my family enjoy memories in a new way.
I still believe that this project was worth the money, as making a custom frame to fit the iPad would cost more than what I pledged to support this project. Additionally, if the old iPad 3 ever breaks down, I can easily swap it with one of the newer iPads we have at home, since they fit in the same frame. Even the iCharguard comes with the lightning adapter, which ensures USB C charging compatibility.
If you have an old iPad that you don’t use anymore, don’t let it collect dust in the drawer. Give it a new life with iFramix, and enjoy your photos in a new way. You won’t regret it. Trust me, iFramix is the best thing that ever happened to your old iPad.