If you are like most people, you probably have two or three (or even more) old smartphones hidden in a drawer somewhere inside your home and you’ve been thinking about putting them to good use for some time now. If the phone is still functional, you can use it as a backup phone in case the current one you’re using is stolen or breaks down during a trip out of town. You can also use it as an interactive digital photo frame or a GPS device. You can even breathe new life into your old phone by donating it to a charity where it can be recycled or repurposed (just remove all your personal data before giving it away).
Apart from these handy ways to breathe new life into your old smartphone or iPhone, you can also repurpose it and use it as a handy and cheap security camera. And why not? It’s small, it has a camera, and you can even connect it to the internet for easy viewing. In this article, we’ll help you turn an outdated but still functional smartphone into a useful home security camera.
- Gather everything you need to turn your old phone or tablet into a handy security camera.
Begin by getting your old yet still functional smartphone or tablet out of that desk drawer where it has been collecting dust over the years. But not any old yet still functional phone will do. Make sure that it has a front or rear camera, and that these cameras are still working. Apart from the old Android phone or tablet, make sure that you also have the following:
* Access to your home’s Wi-Fi network
* A charging cable to ensure that the device will have continuous power supply for round-the-clock recording or streaming
* The phone or tablet (or even a desktop or a laptop) from which you are going to view the feed or receive the alerts
- Next, turn your old phone or tablet on, and go to Google Play or iTunes to choose the best security system app that you can use.
Ever since people found out that old smartphones can be converted to handy security cameras for the home, there have been so many security camera apps developed for the market. For Android users, some of the apps available include:
* Alfred Home Security Camera
* Home Security Camera WardenCam
* Security Camera CZ
* Geny Studio’s Security Camera App
* tinyCam Monitor
* Salient Eye
* AtHome Camera by iChano and more
For iPhone users, you can choose from a variety of security camera apps listed below:
* Alfred Home Security Camera
* CCTV Camera Pros Mobile
* iDVR-PRO viewer
* NUUO iViewer and more
Before choosing a security camera app, take a look at our checklist to know which one is the best for you.
* Is the app compatible with the operating system of your smartphone or tablet?
* Will you be able to access the smartphone or tablet via the security camera app even though you don’t have Wi-Fi connection? Or is it accessible through 3G or 4G?
* Does the app allow you to view your property, as well as allow you to communicate with your family? Can you use the audio to deter burglars directly?
* Does the app allow you to view the feed from your computer?
* Can you use it as a baby monitor, as well as allow you to communicate with your child directly?
* Does the app allow you to access the front and rear camera remotely?
* Does it have a motion detection feature?
- Download your chosen security camera app and set it up.
(For purpose of illustration, we have downloaded the highly rated Alfred app.)
Open the app you have downloaded, and set your spare smartphone as your Camera. Click Next, and sign in using your Google account. Once you have logged in, point the rear or front camera in the area of your house that you want to monitor. Tap on Save Power to dim the screen, as well as lock it.
Next, install the app on your current phone and set it as your Viewer. Once installed, open the app and log in using the same Gmail account. If you want to view the feed on your desktop or laptop, you can also check out the app’s WebViewer. This allows you to view the live feed and monitor your home on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Alfred has neat and useful features that you can use not only to protect your home but also to ensure the safety of your pet and your kids. Its motion detection feature notifies you when the camera senses any movement. When you’re at work or on a trip out of town, you can also use it to communicate with your spouse, kids, or pets who are at home with its two-way talk function. Additionally, this feature allows you to warn and deter burglars.
Simply press the microphone button to listen in to what’s happening in your home. If you are going to use the app to monitor your kids or your pet, press the microphone button to soothe a crying baby, warn your kids to do their chores before they go out with their friends, or tell your dog to stop chewing on the leg of the couch. Even better, the applications are free, so you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars monitoring and securing your home. Many of the apps will work as long as you have access to Wi-Fi or mobile network (4G or 3G). Some apps, however, will only work if the device is connected to Wi-Fi, so check the app’s features before installation.
- Position your DIY security camera properly.
Now that you have a new security camera, you will need to position it properly to ensure maximum viewing coverage. You can attach it to a simple wall mount, a wall mount with an articulating arm, or a tripod. Mount the phone or tablet in a place where you can easily see your whole room. If you want to focus on and monitor a certain part of your house, train the camera on your front door, back door, basement stairs, backyard, or any other vulnerable sections of your house. Mount it somewhere where you can easily see your kids’ movements or near your baby’s crib if you want to keep track of them.
Make sure, however, that you will mount it in an area where it will not be easily reached by a burglar. Do not place the device in a section of your house where it will be drenched by rain or where your view will be blocked by objects, such as a decorative jar or an indoor plant. Make sure that there is a power socket nearby to ensure that your device has a stable power supply even if its battery runs out.
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