Chances are over the years, you’ve probably gone through a few smartphones. If you’re the type that keeps your old phones around, how about maybe giving them a second life? One of the things you can do with your old smartphone is that you can actually turn it into a security camera of sorts.
Sure, you might not necessarily get all the features you would from a dedicated security camera or one of those smarter ones from Nest, Arlo, and so on, but if you want to save some money, here’s how you can transform your old smartphone that’s sitting around collecting dust into a home security camera.
Choosing The Right Security Camera App
There are actually several security camera apps available out there. Which one is the “best” is entirely up to you depending on your needs and preferences, and also how much you’re willing to pay for them.
Some of them are free to use out of the box, while some also offer in-app purchases like the ability to store footage in the cloud for a monthly fee. Like we said, this depends on your needs, but we’ve listed several that could be worth checking out.
This seems to be one of the more popular security camera apps available today for smartphones.
It comes with features such as night vision, AI that can learn to recognize and differentiate between people and objects so that you don’t always get alerted to movements, two-way talking so that you can speak through your smartphone and listen to what’s going on, and also a timelapse feature that lets you watch what happened in the past 24-hours quickly.
Alfred is another popular option for smartphone security camera apps. It supports two-way talking, motion detection, a low-light filter that makes it better at seeing in the dark, and also a siren mode.
There is even the ability to create a “trust circle” that lets your friends access the camera if you want, and there is also support for multiple devices that can tune in and watch the stream.
Manything is an app that works with regular CCTV cameras, but it also has the added benefit of working with smartphones as well.
It allows users to watch live feeds from anywhere through the accompanying app, and you can also choose to save those videos to the cloud for review later. There is support for remote control, adjusting the detection zones, and motion alerts.
TrackView is a multipurpose app where it can act as a home security camera on the smartphone it is installed on. It comes with features such as sound and motion detection, the ability to record to the cloud, and it can also double as a video monitor or baby monitor if you prefer.
The app also supports other non-security related features such as being able to find your smartphone, GPS tracker, family locator, car locator, and so on.
Much like the rest of the apps we mentioned above, Presence is a home security camera app that turns old smartphones into a security camera. It comes with features like motion detection that will alert you whenever it detects something moving in your home.
There is also the ability to have two-way conversations, which means it can also double as a smart doorbell of sorts, and also support for multiple viewers at the same time.
Picking A Location For Your Smartphone Camera
Now that you’ve chosen the app that you want to use, the next step is to choose the location for where you want to place your smartphone.
This is important for several reasons, because depending on your smartphone’s cameras, some locations might be better than others. For example, if you’re using a much older device, your cameras might not be as good as newer smartphone models.
For instance your cameras might not be as wide as newer cameras, so if you want to capture a larger scene, you’ll need to make sure that your smartphone is positioned in a way that can capture more detail.
You’ll also need to consider lighting where lightning might not always be ideal, but there should still be sufficient lighting to ensure that your footage will be usable and also to help with motion detection if the app supports it.
It also brings us to our next step in turning your old smartphone into a security camera.
Mounting And Powering Your Smartphone
As our smartphones run on batteries, it means that you will need to make sure that your smartphone is plugged in and powered all the time, at least if you want to have continuous video footage.
Also, you need to make sure that your phone is in proximity to your home’s WiFi so that it can stream and store footage it captures to another device, like your primary smartphone, or to the cloud so that it can send you notifications as well.
You might also need to consider purchasing longer charging cables if the height or position you’ve chosen is further away from the power source.
You will also need to choose how you want to mount your smartphone, whether you want to lean it against a stack of books or if you want to purchase a smartphone tripod.
There are some mounts that come with flexible legs so that you can wrap it around the stands of your bookshelf or a lamp to give you a better angle or height.