Our smartphones are very useful to us in our day-to-day lives when they are active and working fine. But soon a better model turns up and your android device is replaced. Ever wondered if your used android device can be useful even when it’s not your phone anymore? Well, the answer is yes. Though the phone is old, the camera, storage space, etc are available for usage.
A standard android smart phone works for 1-2 years before it starts lagging and the battery gets weaker. Even though the hardware of the smart phone is usable. The phone can still be functional for another 2-3 yrs. There are many uses for an old smart phone like a dedicated GPS for your car, media center, a dedicated music player to store all your music by removing all other apps, a dashcam(for your car) and many more.
The main application that we are going to focus on in this article is How to turn your android device into a security camera. As everyone keeps on reminding us of the importance of safety with quotes like “Better Safe than Sorry” or “You can never be too safe”, there are simple measures we can take to make sure the security about things or people we care about. One way of doing that is to have constant vigilance. Kids playing in a backyard? Baby sleeping in a crib in your bedroom while you work in the kitchen? Living alone and there is no one at home to look after your valuables? Want to keep an eye on a home-patient? All these worries can be minimized by putting up security cameras and getting a live stream of these scenarios. This is what we intend to do using our old smartphones and converting them to security cameras. So let’s get started. We recommend you to read the entire article before you start with the setup procedure.
Read Also: How To Use Your Android Device as a Webcam
How to Use Your Android As a Security Camera
All you need for a DIY security camera is an android device and any other device capable of using the internet e.g. Laptop, pc, tablet, another phone etc.
To get started you need a security camera app for your android device. A simple search on the google playstore will lead you to thousands of apps for using your smartphone into a security camera. Most apps offer up much of the same features, such as local streaming, cloud streaming, recording and storing footage locally or remotely, and motion detection and alerts.
An app which I used myself and found it easy to understand is Alfred- Security Camera/ Caregiver Video Monitor.
This is because this android security camera app requires no IP settings, wiring or network configuration.
One can set up the security system in following simple steps:
1. Install the smartphone security camera app. There are two options on startup. We have to select whether the current device will act as a recorder or a viewer. To set up the device as a security camera select “camera” and vice-versa.
2. The app will ask you to login with your Gmail account. This step makes sure all your devices are connected to the same account and there is no need of IP or wiring for connection between camera and viewer. Pretty simple right!
3. All you need to do for the last step is to login to http://alfred.computer on your laptop/tablet from your browser, sign in to your Gmail account and you have your live stream which is recorded by your android device.
If you wish to view the stream in your mobile device, just install the Alfred app on your phone and choose the “Viewer” option and the streaming starts.This is the simplest way to keep track of anything you want from anywhere in the world.
The key features of this app are:
i. Its free of cost
ii. It is very easy to understand and run.
iii. Setting up is simple and quick.
iv. Same device can be toggled between a viewer and recorder.
v. Alfred allows you to communicate directly with whoever in front of the Camera via the microphone of their device. This functionality sends your voice across. You can sing to your baby, talk to your grandparents, or deter an intruder.
Some things that you need to take care of for this small system to be foolproof are as follows:
1. Keep the camera phone connected to a charger all the time preferably since it tends to lose battery as the camera runs all the time in the background.
2. Keep the cameras and your viewing devices connected to the internet all the time.
3. Mount your camera phone properly. To mount or position the camera, a small smartphone tripod or suction car mount can work wonders and help you position the camera in an inconspicuous place.
Use an USB cable to give some flexibility about the position of your phone.
You can further add multiple android devices to the same google account and have multiple spying cameras. It can be used as a baby monitor, pet monitor etc.
4. Finally, if you are reusing one of your old phones we strongly recommend performing a factory reset on the device and then updating it to the most current version of Android available. Stability is very important when turn your old phone into security camera. So remove any extra applications, free up as much memory as possible, and run the most recent stable Android release for your device. Refer to the documentation for your specific phone to reset it and update Android.
Other apps that you can use are Manything, WardenCam, etc. WardenCam gives you the option of saving your video results to drive or Dropbox. It is more flexible in the storage cases. So choose an app that you like or find more suitable to your needs, set it up and you are good to go with everything under your surveillance.