You can turn your old iPhone into a security camera for your house or business with a free app that you install on an old iPhone and on your new iPhone. This DIY security system can even deliver motion detection alerts.
Turning your old iPhone into a security camera works over WiFi, so you don’t need to pay for another line. You could use this same setup with cell service to put a security camera somewhere you don’t have the internet, but mostly this is designed for turning your old iPhone into a security camera indoors where you can plug it in.
With these free iPhone security camera apps you can get motion alerts, so you don’t need to watch all the time to see something. There are in-app purchases that allow you to record to the cloud in case you catch someone in your house or something in your yard. If you’re looking for more full featured smart security systems PCMag delivers a great breakdown of ready-to-go systems to protect your house and integrate with smart home accessories and assistants like Alexa and Google Home.
You’ll need to install the iPhone security camera app on your old iPhone and on your current iPhone. This will turn the old iPhone into a security camera that you can put indoors, or even outdoors, in a protective case.
If you choose to set this up to record 24/7 you will want to plug into power so that you don’t need to constantly recharge the phone. Streaming video and detecting motion will use battery power fast. The apps recommend using an Apple original charger and some users report older iPhones, like the iPhone 4, may overheat in warm environments. You can choose battery saving options if you need to set up a temporary security camera when you don’t have a power outlet nearby.
You need to pick which app you will use. The three most popular apps to turn your iPhone into a security camera are Alfred, Manything and Presence. You can download these for free, but they all offer in-app purchases to unlock added features. All of these apps support the following features:
- Motion alerts
- Cloud recording
- Two way talk
The Manything app allows you to set detection zones and use IFTTT support, as well as stream to FaceBook Live, if you want. The Alfred app lets you switch between front and rear cameras as well as turn the LED flash on and off.
Presence includes 50MB of free recording, but you can also pay for more online storage with Presence. Manything and Alfred both offer in-app purchases to get premium features or online recordings. In most cases you will want to use cloud recording so that you have a remote backup in case someone takes the phone.
In addition to an app, you will likely want a mount or a tripod for your iPhone to set it in a good location for recording. You can also set it in a mug or small cup to stand it up if a mount isn’t available.
If you need to capture an entire room, you can get a fisheye lens to put on your iPhone to record a wider area with one phone. You can get these from Olloclip or from other companies.
Once you pick the app you want to use to turn your old iPhone into a security camera, you need to install it on the old iPhone and your current iPhone. The app will walk you through a simple setup to link the phones to an account and then you can view your DIY smart security camera from anywhere.