Repurpose Your Old Smartphone
You may have built up a collection of smartphones and tablets these past few years, if you’re the typical gadget lover. Most of your old smartphones are probably in a closet somewhere, unused and gathering dust. You could also have comparatively newer devices that were damaged in some way (cracked screens or bent bodies) lying around in your house.
While older smartphones can’t compete with newer smartphones in terms of technology, that doesn’t mean they’re completely useless. They are mini-computers in their own right and can still be used in different ways.
Some people turn their old devices into home entertainment systems, TV remote and E-book readers – but your new smartphone can do all this too. Instead of treading the beaten path, an innovative way to use for your old smartphone would be turning it into a security camera. That way, you can repurpose your old smartphone as security camera.
To turn your old smartphone into a security camera, you’re going to need a suitable app and a stand for your smartphone, so you can prop it up and point it in the right direction. You should be able to find both paid and free smartphone surveillance app on your phone’s app store (both iTunes and Android, we’ll give you suggestions later). The stand is optional, though it’s the best way to make sure your phone stays pointed at whatever you want observed.
If you’re going to be making it a permanent security system, make sure you place your phone near an electrical outlet so it’ll be easy to keep charged. You may also want to conceal it, depending on the location you want guarded. If you’re using it to keep an eye on your desk at the office, for example, you may want to keep it concealed.
Please note that you will need a reliable internet (and sometimes cellular) connection to turn your smartphone into a security camera. If you can’t guarantee a good internet connection, you may want to consider investing in a regular security camera instead.
Some surveillance apps will work without an internet connection, though, by clicking photos of any movement that occurs near them. However, if the thief manages to spot and steal your smartphone, it won’t do you much good to have pictures of the thief on it. You will also need a second working device (like another smartphone or tablet) to be able to control/view your security camera.
Surveillance Apps for Android
Salient Eye is probably the best surveillance app for Android in the Google Play store. The app is free to install and use, though you have to pay for a few advanced features.
Once installed, you activate it and point your camera at a location you want monitored. The app will then watch over the location using your phone’s camera. If it detects motion, it will immediately sound an alarm. It will then send you pictures of the intruder via an email or through text. The alarm will keep sounding until you turn it off manually – which would require a password.
What happens in case you don’t want to alert the thief you’re on to them? Salient Eye will let you turn off the alarm and even notifications, if that’s what you want. The app should run for around 10 hours on a single charge, depending on the smartphone you are using. If you want to be able to turn it off remotely, you have to unlock the option by paying for it.
Dormi is actually a baby monitoring app, but it works surprisingly well as a security app. Apart from letting you monitor a location via video, it will also notify you when it picks up audio noises in the background.
You can use a listen button to listen for noises near your device, which is a very handy feature in our view.
Surveillance App for iOS Devices
Manything is probably the definitive smartphone app on the iTunes store. Like other surveillance apps, it will track motion using your phone’s camera and alert you in case of a break-in. Unlike most other camera apps, though, Manything will also let you stream live video to your Apple device.
Additionally, it will let you record and store more than 10 hours of video content on cloud storage. Manything is a highly configurable app that lets you program motion sensitivity. For example, if you don’t want small movements to trigger an alarm, you can program Manything that way.
Manything also doubles as a smartphone remote control app. You can connect it to IFTTT (the web service) to use its motion sensitivity capture feature to trigger certain events. For example, if you want your smart lights to light up when you get home, you can point your old smartphone at the door and instruct Manything to turn on the lights when you arrive.
Use Skype to Turn Your Smartphone into a Security Camera
You can also simply use Skype to turn your old smartphone into a security camera. All you have to do is install the app and program it to answer calls from you (and only you) automatically.
Whenever you want to check in on the location, call your old smartphone from another device (like your PC). Skype will automatically pick up your call and turn on your camera.
Your old smartphone can do everything that a basic home security system can: it will let you monitor an area remotely and notify you if there is any suspicious activity via a text or email. Unlike most home security systems, your smartphone is portable. You can carry it with you and put it on your desk at your office or even while you are traveling (like your hotel room when you’re sleeping or out).
While the apps we’ve given here are efficient at monitoring a location, they can’t really compete with a real security camera. Real security cameras, for example, can move, tilt and record more content than your smartphone can. So if you’re really worried about security, we recommend you invest in a regular security camera.