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How to Use an Old Tablet as a Digital Picture Frame

How to Use an Old Tablet as a Digital Picture Frame

If you’re wondering how to use an old tablet a a digital picture frame, then look no further. You’ll need a tablet stand, an old working tablet, and the proper digital photo album app.

These apps are highly customizable and can be configured to show any number of photos from any of your preferred photo sources. It’s a great way for sharing and automatically displaying photo gallery images for friends, family, or as a kitchen or living room decoration.

The only difference when doing this on android tablets, iPads, fire hd tablets or windows tablets is that you’ll need to find a compatible photo frame app depending on that specific operating system, which we cover thoroughly in this post.

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Why are digital photo frames so expensive?

Why are digital photo frames so expensive_

Digital photo frames, like this one from amazon], are designed to be both aesthetically appealing and work with minimal flaws when I tested them.

Compared to using an old tablet as a photo album gallery display, a dedicated digital photo frame was built specifically with this use in mind and works with it’s own application for easy setup, less flaws, and a high resolution display.

Using a Tablet as a Picture Frame vs a Digital Photo Frame (pro and cons)

Using a Tablet as a Picture Frame vs a Digital Photo Frame. (pro and cons)

The advantage of using a tablet instead of a dedicated digital photo frame is its versatility. When you and your family do not need to look at pictures, use the tablet as your normal social media, communication, and multimedia device.

A tablet or digital photo frame will do the job of showing off your latest family photos to friends and relatives. However, there are some features that distinguish one from the other. Let’s look at some of these differences.

Aesthetics: The digital photo frame is a dedicated electronic photo album, nothing more; it will have a frame, much like ordinary photo frames do and you can choose the color and style that will best match your home decor. You can choose between traditional classic wooden frames and modern acrylic or plexiglass materials. A tablet, like a Fire HD, an old Android tablet, or iPad, won’t have a frame so it may not complement the colors of your room as well. Of course, the tablet can do a lot more aside from displaying photos.

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Ease of Setup: Because it only has one function – a digital display of photos – the digital photo frame is so easy to use and usually works straight out of the box. The software is often built-in already. Our senior family members who are not tech-savvy will be able to set this up on their own. The tablet, on the other hand, needs someone more digitally savvy, who can download the appropriate photo slideshow apps and ensure proper connection to WiFi.

Photo Stand: Most digital photo frames already come with a pop-out leg that works as a stand. Tablets normally won’t have a stand included with it so you will need to source your own. We have a few recommendations for you below.

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Power Supply: Most digital photo frames need to be plugged in the whole time. That can be of some concern among seniors and others who may feel that is a waste of money. Some newer ones have a built-in rechargeable battery aside from AC power but these are often more expensive. Tablets, because they come with built-in rechargeable batteries, can work without needing to be plugged in all the time.

Versatility of Use: A dedicated digital photo frame does nothing but show you a slideshow of your selected photos. Obviously, the tablet can do so much more. If you tire of looking at the photos, you can just take it out of the stand or wall mount and use it as a normal tablet.

Related: 7 Best Adjustable iPad Stands [iPad holders]

How to use a Tablet as a picture frame

How to use a Tablet as a picture frame

It is not difficult to transform a tablet into a picture frame. Just follow these simple steps outlined in this guide.

Size will differ depending on where the photo frame will be put. If you plan to place it on a night table beside your bed, a 7 or 8-inch tablet will approximate a non-digital photo frame that can fit a 4×6-inch photo.

It does not matter so much if your tablet is an Android, Apple, or Amazon tablet. All these have the ability to transform into a digital photo frame.

More important than the brand will be the size of the tablet. After all, a proper digital photo frame should be large enough for people to enjoy the photos.

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However, if you are planning to place this in a large room like the living room, a 10-inch tablet may be the minimum size to comfortably view photos.

1. Choose a Tablet Stand or mount it

Choose a Tablet Stand or mount it

Do you plan to let your digital photo frame stand on a table or mount it on the wall? 

Tablet stands are easily found on Amazon. This adjustable UGREEN tablet stand for iOS and Android devices is modern, sleek and durable. Another that is a little more expensive and made of super high strengthened alloy steel is this one from Lamicall

But what if you wanted it wall-mounted? There are DIY ways but if you would rather get something that already works, Amazon has several kinds of wall mount brackets. Here’s one from Dockem that installs in minutes. Many such wall mount brackets come with 3M adhesive strips, which is great if you do not want to drill holes into the wall. Just note that the bracket supports that hold up the tablet could cover the ports in some tablets so you need to consider this when choosing the right one for you.

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A really neat app for iOS devices is Bubble Level. Attach the left and right brackets to the iPad (with the adhesive strips exposed). The app, using the iPad’s gyroscope, guides the positioning of the iPad so it is level with the ground when you press the brackets to the wall.

2. Download a Digital photo app (slideshow)

Download a Digital photo app (slideshow)

You can download a digital photo app on your old tablet and it will display photos in slideshow format as well as videos, sound and more.

Other family members can share photos from their phones to your tablet using apps like the google photos, foot, or ‘frames’ apps.

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These apps let you control how long each photo stays on the screen. You can also set the time range when the app turns off at night or when you are out of the house.

We’ll use the iPad as an example, but you can add a digital photo app to any tablet by searching the App Store.

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How to turn an old Apple iPad into a digital picture frame

How to turn an old Apple iPad into a digital picture frame

You can turn your own iPad into a digital photo frame quite easily. This requires an apps, some settings, and a tablet stand. You can also make your own How to Make a DIY Tablet Stand by following our guide.

Let’s take a look at how you can turn an old iPad into a digital photo frame for pictures in your living room, kitchen, or general household areas.

  • Launch Apple’s Photos app
  • Select the photos from your camera roll that you want included
  • Click “Add To” at the top of the screen and create a new album
  • Go back and select the folder
  • Click “Slideshow”
  • Choose your transitions
  • Click “Start Slideshow”
  • Go to the iPad’s Settings. Under “Display and Brightness”, click Auto Lock. Choose “Never” so the screen always stays on.

Using the Framee app (has a minimal annual service fee):

  • Select the photos you want from your iPad’s photo gallery
  • The app automatically loads the photos on your tablet

There are several other apps for different tablets that have similar functions. Remember to keep the tablet plugged to a power source for both these options as the slideshow will drain the battery.

See our post: Best Stylus for Amazon Fire HD 8 & 10

If using an android tablet or Amazon Fire HD, you can skip to the section on how to add digital photo frames at the end of this post.

3. Load photos and enjoy

Load photos and enjoy!

Depending on the features of the tablet and app you use, there are many ways to upload photos to your tablet or digital picture frame.

  • Already on your tablet – These are photos you already have in the Gallery of your tablet or in your social media (e.g., Instagram) or photo storage accounts (e.g., Flickr)
  • USB – Photos on a USB stick can just be plugged into the tablet or digital picture frame and the software uploads it into the slideshow
  • Memory card – It works like a USB stick. A memory card containing photos can be inserted into the SD card slot (if there is one) and the software will access the photos
  • Cloud – There are so many cloud storage options out there. iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and so many others can be used to upload your photos from anywhere. Using the WiFi on your tablet or digital picture frame, the app can access the photos on the cloud.
  • Direct email – The software of some digital picture frames allow you to use a specific email address for uploading photos. This can be a great way for other family members to contribute their own photos to your slideshow if they have the email address.

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How to turn an old Amazon Fire HD into a digital picture frame

How to turn an old Amazon Fire HD into a digital picture frame

You can turn an Amazon fire HD or Kindle fire into a digital photo frame to electronically display a photo album for friends, family, kitchen, or the living room, you’ll need to get a digital picture frame app. Since Fire HD does not natively  include google play, you can use a digital photo frame app from the amazon fire tablet App Store or you can download google play and install google photos.

Getting google play is bit more difficult and will require downloading APK’s. I recommend using an amazon fire OS App if your going to use it as a picture frame because they are more compatible and work without error. It’s also easier to install them since its native to the tablet.

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How to turn an old Android tablet into a digital picture frame

How to turn an old Android tablet into a digital picture frame

In conclusion, you can turn an old android tablet into a digital picture frame by using a free app from the Google Play Store that allows users to build their own digital frame with no special hardware required.

  • Download an app from the Google Play Store that turns your Android tablet into a socially connected digital picture frame. One such app we recommend is Dayframe. You can load from Dropbox, Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Google, Twitter, or any connected photo storage account.
  • On first use, you will be asked to choose your photo sources. Don’t worry. If you forgot to add some, you can always do it at a later time through the settings page.
  • Want to pull in photos from outside sources like landscapes, nature views, and famous landmarks? Get a service like 500px and choose from several categories of photos.
  • If the digital photo frame is for Grandma, make life easier for her by pre-selecting specific Facebook or Instagram feeds from family and friends.
  • Next, go to “Timers” to select whether the photos will loop throughout the day or only for select hours of the day.
  • Check out Dayframe’s other settings that can further customize your digital picture frame. You can choose to hide buttons, set the battery level when the screensaver kicks in, or select it to run only on WiFi. 

Related: What can you do with the Amazon Fire Tablet? (Fire HD)

Best photo apps for turning an old tablet as a digital picture frame

Best photo apps for turning an old tablet as a digital picture frame

You’ll need a cloud service like google drive photos or similar, most digital picture album gallery apps will have this. If you purchase a digital photo frame tablet that is meant to do only this task it will likely have its own dedicated app that works very efficiently since its built and designed to be on that specific device.

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Android digital photo album apps

  • Fotoo
  • Google Photos
  • Digital photo Frame
  • Photo2Video,
  • Photo slideshow
  • Amazon Photos
  • Photosync.

FireOS digital Photo album apps

  • Amazon Photos
  • Digital Photo frame slideshow
  • Footoo
  • Cloud Digital Photo frame pro
  • Digital Photo frame web

iPad digital Photo album apps

  • LiveFrame
  • Google Photos
  • Picasa, Digital Photo frame Slideshows
  • Picmatic
  • PicFlip
  • Flikr, 

Alternatively, windows photo album apps are very similar to the above and are highly compatible as well. Finding the right one is simple and google photo frame typically works natively on most devices besides the fire tablets.

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Types of DIY Tablet photo frames DIY

There are different types of photo frames you can use. You can use a case, a DIY Tablet stand made from household items, or a dedicated Digital picture frame tablet stand; which his essentially just a tablet stand with a photo album app running in the background. These will work on most tablets between 4-12 inches that are Android, iPad, WindowsFire OS and any other operating systems that have photo album apps.

Storage over 32 Gb is ideal and 64Gb or higher is recommended. However, if you’re using the cloud you won’t require much memory. For Example, if you’re using an Amazon fire tablet you can use the 32Gb storage option and store and display your photos and videos for your picture frame on a cloud app.

Related: Best Tablets with SD Card slot (expandable storage)


Do people still use digital picture frames

Yes, In-fact there are numerous dedicated photo album tablets being used instead of standard photo frames due to their high resolution, capability to display an entire phoot album, and the ability to display videos and sound as well. Compared to traditional photo frame that don’t have th ability to instant upload new pictures from your phone instantaneously.


In this article we covered how to use a tablet as a digital photo frame. It focused on the advantages and disadvantages of using an old tablet as opposed to a digital photo frame.

Some benefits include the ability to display photos automatically and upload images instantly. Additionally using video and sound is beneficial and digital photo frames certain have more capability than a traditional photo frame.

Some tips are to consider a dedicated photo frame tablet or use a tablet stand with a picture frame app on it to display the gallery as a slideshow. Be sure to take sleep mode off if you choose an old tablet as a photo frame. This works with any size tablet that has a stand available and has an App Store with a compatible photo gallery app.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ