26.05.2024

How to turn an old smartphone into an IP camera for video surveillance

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Anton Martynov

Lifehacker Author

As turn an old smartphone into an IP camera for video surveillance

The programs listed below can broadcast the image and sound from the smartphone's camera to another mobile device or computer. They also know how to save the video in the cloud so that you can review it if necessary. Moreover, these programs can detect movement near the smartphone and warn the owner about this by sending notifications to his other gadgets.

Setting up such applications comes down to a few simple steps. First, you install one of them on your smartphone and the device that will receive the video signal. Then connect both gadgets to a common account and activate surveillance mode on your smartphone. After that, you can connect to the smartphone's camera through the paired device at any time. Moreover, the roles of gadgets are very easy to change.

Of course, this method has weaknesses. The smartphone may freeze, thereby interrupting the connection. Motion sensors do not always work correctly, and the signal quality is highly dependent on the workload of the servers and the wireless network. Yes, and the smartphone itself must always be kept connected to an external battery or outlet. But even such security measures will not be superfluous. In addition, you can give an old device a second life.

Here are some programs you can use to turn your smartphone into an IP camera for video surveillance.

1. Alfred

This application captivates with a concise interface. No redundant controls and settings – everything is intuitive and simple. Among the additional features, it is worth noting the ability to open access to your video camera for other users.

Alfred provides shooting in the background. You can place your smartphone in the children's room and go about your business, periodically watching what is happening. The program sends instant motion alerts in the frame. There is also a mode for recording in low light. The application works in two-way mode, which allows you to communicate with family members if necessary.

Alfred Surveillance CameraAlfred Systems Inc.Price: Free

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2. TrackView

TrackView not only notifies the user about movements in front of the camera, but also about suspicious sounds. In such cases, recording starts automatically, but you can also turn it on manually. The application can determine the location of the smartphone using GPS in case it gets lost.

The videos created by the program are copied to Google Drive, so there is no need to pay the TrackView developers for their storage. But there are still in-app purchases in the application: you can subscribe to a premium subscription to disable ads and unlock private mode. The latter disables access to the camera of your current device via a smartphone left at home.

TrackView – find phoneCybrook Inc.Price: Free

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Try TrackView for Android, Windows or macOS →

3. AtHome

This application has two parts. The first one (AtHome Video Streamer) needs to be installed on the smartphone that will broadcast the video. The second (AtHome Camera) – to any other gadget that will show the broadcast. All other applications from this article are universal and can perform both of these functions.

The program can capture motion in the frame, record 30 seconds of video and send the file to the user's email. AtHome is also suitable for two-way communication with family members and pets.

Another feature: through AtHome Camera, you can receive a signal from several IP cameras at once. That is, you can install AtHome Video Streamer on several smartphones and watch the video transmitted from them on one screen. But this feature is only available to subscribers, and with it the cloud storage space for recordings.

Athome Camera: Remote MonitorichanoPrice: Free

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AtHome Video StreamerichanoPrice: Free

How to turn an old smartphone into an IP video surveillance camera

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4. WardenCam

The quality of the video produced by WardenCam is higher than that of many similar programs. You can use the HD mode for free, while competitors usually only have this option available as part of a subscription. But the sound quality here is not the best.

The program can store records on Google Drive and Dropbox – depending on which cloud you connect. Recording is activated automatically in response to movements, but it can also be triggered manually. A special scheduler allows you to select the time when the user is usually at home so that the camera does not react to movements during these hours.

Home Security CameraWardenCam360 – Home Security, Video MonitoringPrice: Free

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WardenCam Video SurveillanceListudio LLCPrice: Free

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5. Manything

Manything is another service that monitors movements and sounds. You can program its operation using smartphone sensors and the IFTTT service. For example, you can set the app to automatically start recording as soon as you leave home.

In the free version, only one camera connects to Manything. By choosing a tariff plan, you will increase this number and get the opportunity to continuously record video with storage of files in the cloud for up to 30 days. Manything will send alerts when any suspicious movement is detected. You can't shoot more than 12 hours in the free package.

ManythingVideoloft IncPrice: Free

How to transform an old smartphone to IP Surveillance Camera

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ManythingVideoloft LtdPrice: Free

How to transform an old smartphone to IP Surveillance Camera

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Try Manything on the web →

6. Security Camera CZ

This application is also suitable for monitoring the status of your home or office. It is also useful for spying on children, elderly family members or pets. Security Camera CZ has a two-way communication function. There is also a night mode, as well as the activation of a flashlight in the smartphone.

When motion is detected, the application can send photos of moving objects, as well as activate the sound of a siren. Sensitivity and detection area are adjustable. Multiple cameras can work in one system for free.

Security Camera CZSCameraPrice: Free

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Try Security Camera CZ web version →

7. Faceter

Faceter will help you set up a system with cloud storage. In the free version, you can store the archive on the server for up to 24 hours. A paid subscription improves the quality of the recording and extends the period up to 7 days.

The application is positioned as a universal option for monitoring small children, pets, sick relatives, as well as for tracking repairs, cleaning work and other similar situations.< /p>

You can connect multiple smartphones to the system, as well as add IP cameras if desired.

Faceter surveillance cameraFaceterPrice: Free

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Faceter Security CameraFaceter South Africa (PTY) LTDPrice: Free

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8. BabyCam

The application in conjunction with smartphones or tablets replaces the baby monitor. It will help to monitor the child's room from another place in the apartment. BabyCam only supports Wi-Fi communication, so you won't be able to monitor over long distances.

It is not necessary to connect smartphones to a common home network – gadgets can be connected directly via Wi-Fi Direct. With the help of the program, it is possible to listen to the child and talk to him, as well as activate the flash of the phone if the room is dark.

BabyCam – Baby Monitor CameraArjona SoftwarePrice: Free

How to turn an old smartphone into an IP video surveillance camera

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Cover: Lifehacker Text was worked on by: Maxim Volotsky, Anton Martynov