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How To Turn Your Phones Into WiFi Security Cameras

How To Turn Your Phones Into WiFi Security Cameras


– [Narrator] Our old
Smartphones sometimes hold an intrinsic value and you
don’t always sell them off. You just keep them in a drawer
and one day rediscover them. But, what if you could put these old, and sometimes new, devices
to work and secure your home at the same time? Today, we’re gonna show you
how to take an old iPhone or Android phone and turn it into a security camera for your home. We checked out lots of
apps and found Presence, AtHome and Alfred to be the game winners. However, AtHome stopped
working when we tested it on an iPhone 4, so for this video, we’re scrapping it in
favor of wider support. Now, turning on an old phone
comes with its own headaches. You’re probably quite a few updates behind and you probably don’t even
remember your access pin. But, once you get past those bumps, load up your app store and
type in Presence or Alfred. You can make a decision on which you want after this video, as they both have
strengths and weaknesses. The apps function the same in the sense that any device you have can be used as a camera or a viewer. You can also use your computer to tap into the camera feeds, so you have plenty of options. Let’s start with the most common place that people wanna keep
tabs on, the front door. Now, there’s a million different ways to make a phone stand, so
I simply checked my toolbox for anything that might work and found some mini clamps that looked good enough for this task. Just put one clamp on
each end of the phone, making sure that there’s some padding or rubber between the glass and the clamp. It should stand right
up and it’s ready to go. I’ll be placing this
camera on my media center, as it has a direct line of
sight to the front door. The best way to position
your cameras or phones is to have your main
phone set up as a viewer, and then use that to properly
position the camera phone. Once you’re happy with the location, make sure you plug your
device into the wall so you have a constant
stream you can tap into. We’ll get into routing
cables for phones mounted in trickier spots just a bit later, but now your phone will
let you see what’s going on in your living room at any time, whether you’re at work, on vacation, or just going grocery shopping. Now, you’re probably thinking,
“That’s all well and good, “but I can’t monitor my camera 24/7, “so how will I know if
someone gets in my house?” Simple, motion detection. Both Presence and Alfred
have motion detection, but you need to turn it on first. Let’s take a look at Presence,
I’ll show you how it’s done. First, set the phone
to be used as a camera. While we’re here, let me note that there is a Dim Screen feature if
you wanna run the camera as stealth as possible, but
to enable motion detection, first hit the Options button, then go to Motion Detection Options. In this menu, you can set how
long before detection starts, how sensitive it is, if an alarm sounds, or even how long you want it to record. Once you have your options
set to your liking, go back and toggle on Motion Detection. Now, in the event that
there is movement caught on camera while you aren’t watching, the app will send you a push notification and let you know that something
isn’t quite right at home. This is probably the most useful feature on both apps and you can tweak
how often you get notified. But, this works great in
other scenarios as well. Take your bedroom, for example. Maybe you live with roommates
or a snooping sibling and your room is their target. Motion detection and a camera would certainly help
out in this situation. Enter, The Box Cam. Just grab an ordinary-looking box that can fit a phone in it, horizontally. Measure out where the
phone’s camera lens will be and mark it with a pen or a marker. When that’s done, just punch a hole in the box with some scissors, and then verify that the lens is lined up with the glorious hole. Make sure you leave a
little room at the end so you can plug your power cord in later. Go ahead and remove as much
excess cardboard as you can and clean up that area a bit. After that, punch another hole in the back and run your power cord out if you plan on keeping it charged while you run your covert op. Mounting the phone in
the box is pretty simple. You just need some double-sided tape or some sort of removable adhesive to stick the phone to the side of the box. I used a little mounting tape, as it doesn’t harm anything and can be peeled off without any issues. When you’re all done,
the outside of your box should look something like this. You may think that even
this is too obvious, but we’ll conceal it a bit more, later. The first thing you wanna do at this point is assess you room and
figure out the best place to stow away your box. While your box is still open, fire up the app of your choice and get your box into a position that can see who’s coming in and where they might be going. Then, close up the top and grab a bunch of other boxes or junk to
better conceal the hole. Just stack things on and around it until it appears more stealth. Load up your viewer and make
sure everything looks good. If your angle’s off, now’s the
time to adjust things a bit. Otherwise, make sure you’re plugged in and go about your day. If anyone sneaks into your
room while you’re away, you’ll get notified, and then
you can deal with them later because you’ll have evidence on hand. Also, it’s important to note that even if the person
found the phone and took it, the motion detection would kick in, so the footage would be
uploaded to cloud storage before they could do anything about it. That makes getting your potentially stolen phone back much easier. So, our front door is covered and the bedroom’s under surveillance. This is a good time to note that if you wanna mount a camera higher up and happen to have an old
car mount laying around, you can use that to attach the phone to any surface smooth enough to handle it. Alternatively, you can use
those plastic things you get in a pizza box. They’re actually called pizza savers. If you want your phone’s camera pointing at an upward angle, then you don’t need to make any modifications at all, just plop it in there. If you’re looking to
straighten the phone out a bit, then all you need to do is shorten one of the prongs using some scissors, and then bend it inwards a bit. Once you have that one done, bend in the two remaining longer prongs until you have something
that kinda looks like this. I decided it would be a good idea to keep tabs on my backyard, so I picked a window near a power outlet, raised the blinds, and
put down a small bowl to raise the phone up a bit when utilizing the pizza mount. I’ll go ahead and use the
Alfred app for this one. Just move your phone around until you get the view that suits your needs. When you have it positioned,
make sure you plug it in, hit Power Saver Mode or Dim Screen, and drop your blinds back down. As I mentioned earlier, both apps let you view
your cameras on a computer, so let’s give that a quick test. This is where you might notice one of the shortcomings of Alfred. It’s absolutely riddled with ads. Well, this looks pretty good to me. Can easily tell if someone
was snooping around out back and as long as there’s some light, you can see exactly who it is. Alright, we’re winding down, so let me give you a few tips
about running your cables if you decide to mount
a phone in an odd place. Using my viewer to help with positioning, I took some more
double-sided mounting tape and secured my iPhone 7 on the crown molding near my work station. This stuff can hold up
to 10 pounds of weight, so I’m not worried. The next step is to grab
some clear command hooks and run the charging
cable along the edges. Always place one right near the phone, and then another wherever there’s a corner or too much slack. Go around the area that
you’re working with until you either reach the
outlet or run out of cable. If you’re out of cable, you’re gonna need a USB extender, which can be picked up for
a few bucks almost anywhere. Attach that and continue working your way around the surface, all
the way to the plug. You’ll definitely want
a hook above the outlet so you can keep everything
snug and secure. Pop in the USB connector, and if you have a bunch of excess wire, just loop it around a
bit and hold it together with a zip tie or some tape. That’s all there is to it. Depending on how clean
you want it to look, you could spend a hefty amount
of time routing your wires. Since this is just an example, I went quick and simple, but effective. The final view from my mounted
camera covers my work area so that I’ll know if
anyone’s messing around with my important video-making tools. The peace of mind that you get out of this simplistic setup we just ran through can’t be fully expressed in words. And the truth is, it’s way cheaper than buying a brand new
security camera system if you already have old
phones laying around, or if you can find some for
pennies on the dollar online. We hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and have fun securing your home. Feel free to share it with
your friends and family, or even better, go set up
a little security system for anyone you care about. Make sure you’re subscribed for more videos every week, and stay safe. See you next time.

100 thoughts on “How To Turn Your Phones Into WiFi Security Cameras”

  1. Thanks for checking this video out. I found all my old phones while doing some house cleaning and figured they should be put to use. If you are looking for links to the apps that were used, I am pasting them below this message. If you have any other app suggestions, let everyone know!

    Android
    Alfred: https://goo.gl/sOlYZX
    Presence: https://goo.gl/4qCcLe

    iPhone
    Alfred: https://goo.gl/5uMfjL
    Presence: https://goo.gl/bN2io3

  2. But….can you do this outside? I have a detached garage with undesirables that sometimes pass through.

  3. I'd why this is funny but I have an old iPhone 4 and when he said iPhone 4 i burst out laughing
    And I don't know why ;-;

  4. This is a great idea. I only keeep devices that still work and I turn off all locks on my devices before I store them away so I never have to worry about what pin is what.

  5. First off its a surveillance system not a security system. Second if you like being watched by hackers do this.

  6. Woah! that is probably the most expensive security system. I would rather sell my phone on ebay and buy a camera. lol

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  8. I can tell ya after dealing with my security cameras for the past 2 years, motion detection sucks, usually picks up just spider webs at night, insects, etc.

  9. Two points to consider, when using a usb extender cable you will most likely find that your iPhone won't charge, it will display a message similar to "unsupported accessory"
    Second point is that you don't want to coil any excess cable as this will essentially create a magnetic field which will diminish the output power & cause your phone to either not charge or to charge at a reduced rate, causing the phone's battery to discharge whilst in use.

  10. What if your daughter is an iPhone destruction machine and no phone lasts more than a month in her hands?

  11. I preference the Alfred, however, always takes time and user experience to understand these program. Gosh, I went ballistic when I switched to a IPhone a couple of months ago. Now, someone will need to pry it from my cold dead fingers.

  12. I have been using Alfred for a long time before I seen this and that app is GREAT and im still using it..

  13. I want to set in my brother's milk shop, Daily we have to wait for milk Van to arrive in afternoon time when no customers comes, I will try to set this but problem is that our aunt's house is about 100 metres away, so I have to troubleshoot it, thanks

  14. While I agree this is a creative use of technology you could just purchase a wyze Cam for 20 bucks and have for HD surveillance cloud storage SD card storage and it could just record motion detection as well as AI built

  15. Did I miss something? Wouldn’t u have to be on a plan for these to work. Once u upgrade and turn the service off on the old phone this wouldn’t work right!?

  16. It all sounds very good, but how do you want to prevent the mobile phone from going to sleep mode???????

  17. Thanks. I can't be everywhere at once so I am grateful that this exists. Bad room mates that are pretty damn underhanded. Broke into my room twice.

  18. Tried it before, not a good idea. The phone will heat up after a while. If you have it plugged in constantly it will shorten the lifespan of the phone significantly.

  19. You can also attach a phone to the spy hole on your front door so you can see/record who came to your door while you were out. Espcially useful if you're expecting a package from Amazon.

  20. Let me also suggest the MANYTHING (monitor anything) application. I have been using Manything for three years with old iPhones. I have five cameras with a week of cloud recording for under $15/mo. The support staff is always ready to help you anytime you contact them. Highly recommend!

  21. holy shit this video just made me realize im still using the first smart phone i have ever had. and its a Samsung…dun dun dun. Still in perfect working condition

  22. Good video but not much info on the app features. For example, does Presence support multiple cameras like Alfred does? I have used Alfred for a while and can probably list 10 things I don't really care for, ads being one of them for sure.

  23. I’d be worried my phone would catch on fire if it was plugged in all day my iPhone battery gets seriously hot when I charge it that would be my only worry

  24. I have 4 ghosts/spirits in my home. I don't need security.

    I would put up a sign "Beware of the ghosts" but that would spoil the fun.

  25. The video didn't address a couple of key issues which I've noted a number of people asking about on google play store (and other) reviews but never getting simple/direct answers…
    1) is it REQUIRED the old repurposed phone have a SIM card with an active cellphone account to perform a JUST camera monitoring function? Forget all the messaging.
    2) Does the Alfred or AtHome setup allow for direct
    OldPhone > local WiFi /router > NewPhone
    and/or
    OldPhone > local WiFi /router > Computer
    connectivity, or does everything have to pass through a 3rd party cloud storage server?
    3) Does the "new" phone technically have to have a SIM and be active on a mobile carrier just to receive video from the "old" phone in this kind of local setup?

    Do ANY security camera app tools provide a means of setting up the old phone as a live streaming video source for the new phone (or an on-network computer) without going through a cellphone carrier and without requiring the video data be sent to a 3rd part cloud service?

    Specific example, one has an old LG D500 (Android 4.4) phone that does NOT have a SIM card and is NOT associated with any active cellphone carrier/provider. All functionality works fine, just can't make non-911 calls or send messages via a phone carrier with it (e.g. cam, wifi, internet via wifi, bluetooth, etc all work fine without having a SIM card and without being connected to a carrier)
    The network is an local Arris SBG6900ac modem/router (and/or any number of other WiFi high-speed routers one might use)
    and,
    The "new" phone is an Galaxy S7 (Android 8.0) that is on an active cellphone carrier account (e.g. Tmobile), and 2 PCs running Win7-64bit Pro, and Win10-64bit HOME.

  26. I still don’t understand how ?!?! How you getting an app on old phone and how is it going to work with your current phone ?!?!

  27. I have been using Alfred for a while now. The bad thing about it if you have it looking outside if a blade of grass moves or a shadow moves you get the notification that something happened. I constantly get them it stays on 99 notifications all the time.

  28. Will this work for I pads got 2 of them hardly uses would like to sit them up one reason would like to see what the dog does while I'm not also sit it up to catch the wife

  29. I didn't use the Presence ,but I'm using the Alfred for many years , it's awesome app ,the only issue I have ,the proper motion detector available in paid version only which is expensive ( 3$/month 😔) l got alot of false notifications aday because of the poor motion detector in free version.
    I will try the presence soon . thank you for your recommendation.👍
    UPDATE:
    No for PRESENCE 100% rubbish compare to Alfred.I
    prefer to have Alfred's false notifications than to have no notifications at all 🤔
    Took 3hours of my time to fix the Presence but still unbelievably shit.

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