In the face of rising crime rates, home security has become a paramount concern for many. While traditional security systems can be costly and complex, there's an ingenious and cost-effective solution that many of us have readily available – our old smartphones.
This post will guide you through the process of transforming an old iPhone or Android device into a DIY home security camera, providing a practical way to enhance your home's security on a budget.
Why Use a Smartphone as a Security Camera?
Many of us have old smartphones gathering dust in a drawer, but did you know these devices can be repurposed into highly functional security cameras? The benefits of using a smartphone as a security camera include cost-effectiveness, portability, and the ability to connect to your home's Wi-Fi for remote monitoring. In addition, smartphone cameras often offer high-quality video, motion detection, and even some level of night vision, making them a competitive alternative to standalone security cameras.
- Cost-effective - Buying a new home security system or cameras can cost hundreds of dollars. With this DIY method, you can remotely monitor your home for free or very cheaply.
- Portability - Smartphones are small and lightweight, making them easy to position and move around to monitor different areas both inside and outside your home.
- Connectivity - Modern smartphones can connect to your home wifi network, allowing you to view footage remotely while away from home. Many also have data connectivity, so you can check on your home even when not connected to wifi.
- High-quality video - Smartphone cameras shoot high-definition video that makes it easy to see faces and details. Video quality is often better than standalone security cameras.
- Motion detection - Security camera apps have motion detection that can send you notifications when movement happens at home. This allows you to be alerted when needed.
- Night vision - Most smartphones have some night vision capability with IR sensors that allow visibility even in low light.
- Familiar interface - You already know how to use your old smartphone, making setup easy. And video can be viewed on your current smartphone.
How to Turn My Android Phone Into a Security Camera?
If you have an old Android phone lying around, you're halfway to having a new security camera. With the help of a security camera app, a few tweaks in your settings, and a bit of creativity in positioning, your Android device can serve as a reliable guardian for your home. This section will guide you through the process, from selecting a suitable app to optimizing your camera's viewing angle.
- Choose an old Android phone to use. This could be an outdated phone you have lying around or a cheap used one bought for this purpose. Just make sure it can connect to your wifi.
- Download and install a security camera app - There are many free and paid options in the Google Play store, like Alfred Camera and IP Webcam. IP Webcam is highly recommended for its extensive features and customization options.
- Enable USB or wifi tethering - This allows your new security cam to utilize your current phone's data plan so you can view video remotely. In Settings, turn on the tethering feature.
- Configure the app settings - In the app you downloaded, set up motion detection, video quality, night vision and access passwords. Useful options are available.
- Mount the smartphone - Place your old Android phone in a location with a good view of the area you want to monitor. Point the camera lens in the right direction. You can mount it or prop it up with a stand.
- Adjust the camera angle - Use books or stands to adjust the viewing angle as needed to optimize the camera view. Test it out once mounted by viewing the video feed.
- Power the device - Ensure your old phone remains powered on by keeping it plugged in. Disable auto screen lock and sleep to keep the app active. You can also use battery packs.
- Connect to the camera feed - On your current phone, connect to your home wifi, then open the security camera app. Access the feed using your password and begin monitoring your home!
How to Turn My iPhone into a Reliable Security Camera?
Just like their Android counterparts, old iPhones can also be converted into efficient security cameras. With the right app and configuration, you can turn your old iPhone into a robust home monitoring system. This segment will take you through the steps, from setting up the app to ensuring your device remains powered for continuous monitoring.
- Locate an old iPhone - Just as with Android, this can be an outdated iPhone you've replaced or a used one bought cheaply online. It just needs to run a recent iOS version and connect to wifi.
- Get a security camera app - There are free and paid camera apps to download from the App Store. Manything is recommended for its robust toolset.
- Enable personal hotspot on current phone - This lets your old iPhone access data so you can view the feed anywhere. Enable it in Settings > Personal Hotspot on your current device.
- Configure app settings - Open your security camera app and adjust preferences for motion detection, video quality, night vision and remote access.
- Mount the iPhone - Place your old iPhone in the spot you want to monitor. Adjust the camera angle as needed. Use stands or mounts to stabilize it.
- Keep iPhone powered on - For continuous monitoring, plug your old iPhone into power and disable auto-lock so the app stays open.
- Connect to camera - On your main iPhone, connect to your home wifi and open the security camera app. Log in and start streaming video of your home!
Advanced Tips and Tricks for Monitoring Using Old Phones
Once you've got your basic setup, there are numerous ways to further optimize your DIY security camera. Whether it's ensuring wireless monitoring through a SIM card, increasing your storage with an SD card, or fine-tuning your camera's position for optimal coverage, this section will provide advanced tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your old phone.
- For complete wireless monitoring, insert a SIM card from your cellular provider into the old smartphone so it has its own data connection.
- Add an SD card to your old Android device for local storage of security footage. Access recordings later through the app.
- For night vision, use iPhone models with a front-facing flash which can illuminate a dark room when triggered by the app.
- Position your old smartphone high up, looking downwards for the best room monitoring perspective.
- Use motion detection alerts to only notify you when needed versus constantly streaming video.
- Keep your old phone muted with the volume off to avoid hearing the security app audio feedback.
- Disable GPS tagging on your security camera smartphone so location data isn't included in recordings.
- Give your DIY security camera a static IP address on your wifi network so you always know how to access its video feed.
Reimagining an old smartphone as a security camera is a cost-effective and practical way to enhance your home's security. With the ability to customize notifications and access video feeds remotely, you can gain peace of mind knowing your home is under surveillance. If you want to know some DIY surveillance system for your home, click here.
By following the steps outlined in this post, you can breathe new life into your old device while safeguarding your home. But I sincerely recommend the Noorio home security camera, which is more reliable than a cell phone.
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