Flip your outdated smartphone into a brand new safety digicam in 3 straightforward steps

Turn your old smartphone into a new security camera in 3 easy steps

Use Manything, Salient Eye or the same free app to show an outdated telephone right into a safety digicam. 


Chris Monroe/CNET

Most individuals have at the least one outdated smartphone accumulating mud in a drawer someplace. You’ll be able to promote your outdated telephone or do a trade-in for a fraction of its buy worth, but when it nonetheless activates, there are a variety of good makes use of for outdated telephones round the home. You’ll be able to flip that outdated Android telephone right into a child monitor or a makeshift Google House speaker, for instance. One of the helpful methods to upcycle an outdated telephone is to transform it right into a house safety digicam.

You may save a ton of money by upcycling an outdated telephone as an alternative of shopping for a brand new house safety digicam. And setting it up is not onerous. In truth, you can begin utilizing that outdated, dusty iPhone or Android telephone as a house safety digicam in simply three steps. 

Learn extra: 8 causes to not promote or commerce in your outdated iPhone and 9 ingenious methods to present your outdated Android telephone new life

Step 1: Set up a safety digicam app in your outdated telephone

To start, you will have to decide on a safety digicam app to your telephone. Most apps provide lots of the similar options, equivalent to native streaming, cloud streaming, recording and storing footage regionally or remotely, and movement detection and alerts. When you’re arrange, it is possible for you to to observe your residing house and management your safety digicam from anyplace, straight out of your new telephone.

Top-of-the-line app choices for establishing your telephone as a safety digicam is Alfred. It is cross-platform, so it does not matter in case your outdated telephone was an Android telephone or iPhone. And the identical goes to your new telephone.

Alfred is free to make use of and provides you a distant view of your reside feed, movement detection with alerts, free cloud storage, a two-way audio feed and use of each the entrance and rear cameras. To unlock further options, like higher-resolution viewing and recording, zoom capabilities, advert removing and 30-day cloud storage, you may improve to Alfred Premium.

  1. Obtain Alfred (Android, iOS) on each your outdated and new telephones, or any tablets you need to use.
  2. On the brand new telephone, swipe by way of the introduction and faucet Begin. Choose Viewer and faucet Subsequent.
  3. When you get to the sign-in web page, click on Check in with Google (a Google account is required) and check in together with your Google account credentials.
  4. On the outdated telephone, repeat the identical steps, however as an alternative of choosing Viewer, choose Digicam. And ensure to check in to the identical Google account.

As soon as each telephones are signed in to Alfred, you are just about carried out with the setup. Alfred has simplified the digicam choices to solely embody a number of settings. On iOS, you may solely allow movement detection, select between the entrance and rear cameras and allow or disable audio. Should you’re utilizing an Android gadget, you have got these choices and you can too allow steady focus, have Alfred mechanically reopen if the telephone reboots, set a decision and allow a passcode lock.

Out of your new telephone, you may change a number of extra settings, equivalent to turning notifications on or off, setting a digicam or viewer title, including different folks to your Belief Circle (granting different folks entry to your video feeds), eradicating a digicam, checking what number of occasions a digicam has disconnected, setting movement detection sensitivity and enabling a low-light filter on cameras.

Whereas Alfred is a stable selection, take note it is not the solely selection. Removed from it, in actual fact. Manything, Salient Eye and Presence are all stable free decisions with an inexpensive subscription mannequin for those who want extra options. And IP Webcam is among the extra widespread Android-only choices.


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Step 2: Choose a spot for your phone security camera

After you have the stream up and running, you will need to set up and position the camera. You may want it focused on the main entry point to your home, your backyard, the place where you store valuables or a point you think might be particularly vulnerable. You can also set up an IP camera as a baby monitor.

If you have multiple old phones lying around, you can set up multiple cameras for fairly robust video coverage.

Step 3: Mount and power your new security camera

To mount or position the camera, a small smartphone tripod or suction-cup car mount can work wonders and help you position the camera in an inconspicuous place. To broaden the field of view, consider buying a wide-angle lens for your phone, something that can be purchased for between $5 and $20 online.

Streaming video is very power-intensive, and the phone will be on 24/7. To keep the phone from dying in the first few hours, you will need to position it close to a power source. A 10-foot Micro-USB or Lightning cable will give you more flexibility in where you put it.

And that’s it! Now you can use the security cam app on your new phone to view the feed from your old phone’s camera, and you’ve made your home more secure without spending much. 

While you’re here, check out six quick tips for getting the most out of your home security camera, how to use your Alexa device as a home security camera and the best DIY home security systems.

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