Technology advances pretty quickly and most smartphone users upgrade to a new device every one or two years. If you have an old smartphone lying around the house, there are a lot of neat ways for you to repurpose it. Just because it’s a couple of generations old doesn’t mean that you should just leave it to collect dust. Assuming that the camera is still working properly and there are no major damages to the phone, you can transform it into a pretty neat security camera that offers surveillance in your home without spending tons of money.
Cameras in smartphones are getting better and better with each generation. Chances are your old phone has a pretty decent camera and it can take fairly good photos and videos. All you need is a good lighting source and you’re good to go. Most modern smartphones have night modes built-in for better night visibility so if your phone has this feature, it’ll be able to capture detail in videos even in low-light environments.
Here are the things you’ll need in order to transform your old phone into a security camera:
- An old smartphone with a good enough camera
- A WiFi connection
- A mobile phone wall-mount
- An extension cable
Just follow these easy steps and you’ll have a cheap and accessible security camera around your home!
Step 1: Find a good security camera app.
The first step in transforming your smartphone camera into a surveillance device is by finding a good security camera app on the Google Play store (android) or the App Store (iOS). There are myriads of apps out there that allow you to stream, capture, and detect movements with your smartphone camera. Most of these apps are free to use, while some paid apps offer more premium features like motion tracking, motion alerts, multiple recording options, and many more.
Take the time to read the reviews on the apps and evaluate if the features suit your needs. Once you have chosen a security app, download it and install it on your smartphone.
Step 2: Connect your devices and set it up.
Now that you’ve installed a security camera app, it’s time to set it up and connect your old smartphone device with your current smartphone. The former will be used as the surveillance device while the latter will be used for live video streaming, recording, and controlling the app remotely.
You’ll need to grant access to your smartphone’s storage, microphone, and camera before the app starts recording. From there, go to the settings and connect your primary smartphone so that the two devices are linked together to allow you to view the recording in real time.
Once the two devices are connected and the app is properly set up, you can now select a good mounting spot to install your old smartphone. You can place it on top of a desk or cabinet, but if you don’t want your kids to reach it, you’ll have to purchase a wall mount for your smartphone. A good place to start is on the corner of rooms or at the top of the door in the backyard.
A mini tripod is also a good choice if you want horizontal perspective of a certain room or area within your home. It also helps keep the smartphone stable so it won’t fall off when it’s recording. You also can get creative and use a suction mount to place it in hidden areas around your home.
Step 3: Connect your smartphone to a reliable power source.
Your smartphone’s battery won’t last long if the screen is constantly in use. If you’re looking to record videos for long hours, it’s a good idea to connect it to a power source so that it remains powered 24/7. Use an extension cable and plug it near an outlet where your smartphone camera is installed. Plug in the charger and connect it to your device.
If you don’t want all-day surveillance, you can utilize the phone’s battery and do mini-recordings throughout the day. One tip to conserve battery is by dimming the screen to its lowest setting. Just remember to fully charge it before you record so that it doesn’t die out immediately.
Step 4: Monitor your home with your current smartphone.
Once everything is setup properly, you can now sit back, relax, and watch the recordings in real-time with your current smartphone. Security camera apps allow you to have remote control of the device as long as your old smartphone is connected to a WiFi network. You can take screenshots of the recordings, manage your recorded videos, and access certain features while the device is surveilling your home.
Some apps also support multiple device viewing so a number of connected devices can see the live recordings and access certain settings within the app.
Step 5: Keep an eye on your phone’s storage.
Lengthy videos take up a lot of space and if your phone doesn’t have an SD card installed, the internal memory of the device won’t be enough to store all of your recordings. It’s a good idea to purchase an external memory card and install it on your device so you don’t run out of storage while the surveillance device is in use.
You can also delete previous videos to save space. Videos with higher resolutions come in large file sizes so if you want to conserve storage, drop the resolution down to HD (720p). You can still capture good detail in your videos while keeping the file size fairly reasonable.
And that’s it! Now you can monitor your home without having to buy expensive surveillance cameras and deal with complicated wirings. As long as you have an old smartphone lying around, you can follow these easy steps and transform it into a security camera.
This can also apply to old tablets as well. You just have to make sure that the camera is of good enough quality so you can properly see things in detail surrounding your home.