How to Turn an Old Phone into a Security Camera: A Step-by-Step Guide

Home security is important, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you might have all the gear you need sitting in your desk drawer. Today, we’re going to show you how to turn an old phone into a security camera for free.

Are you thinking about installing a security camera in your home? Maybe you want to see who’s ringing your bell before you answer the door, keep an eye out for intruders, or even set up a baby monitor. There are plenty of security systems out there, from inexpensive to rather spendy. Some, like the Ring Doorbell, can be a little complicated to install, too. But if you have an old phone lying around and the camera still turns on, using it as a security camera is a great way to save some money.

The first thing you want to do is pick a security camera app for your phone. There are a lot of options out there, including apps from Manything, Salient Eye, and Presence. They are all solid free choices with an affordable subscription model if you need more features. IP Webcam is one of the more popular Android-only options. But today, we’re going to use an app called Alfred. It’s cross-platform, so it doesn’t matter if your old phone was an Android phone or an iPhone, and the same goes for your new phone. You can also monitor everything from a web browser.

Alfred is free to use and gives you a remote view of your live feed, motion detection with alerts, free cloud storage, a two-way audio feed, and use of both the front and rear cameras. To unlock additional features like high-resolution viewing and recording, zoom capabilities, ad removal, and 30-day cloud storage, you can upgrade to Alfred Premium.

To get started, download Alfred on your regular phone that you use every day. This will be the phone you use to view all the rest. Then, download the app on all the old phones and any other devices you want to use as cameras. Sign in with your Google account credentials.

Once you have the camera app up and running, you’ll need to set up and position the camera or cameras. You may want to focus on the main entry point to your home, your backyard, the place where you store valuables, or a point that you think might be particularly vulnerable. You can also set up a remote camera as a baby monitor.

When you pick out your spots, you’ll have to figure out how to mount the phones. A small smartphone tripod or suction cup car mount can work wonders and help you position the camera in an inconspicuous place. To broaden the field of view, consider buying a wide-angle lens for your phone. You can find them between five and twenty dollars online.

Once the security phones are mounted, be sure to put Alfred into power-saving mode to lock and dim the screen. But since the phone will be on 24/7, to keep the phone from dying in the first few hours, you’ll need to position it close to a power source and keep it plugged in. A 10-foot USB or lightning cable would give you more flexibility in where you put it.

Now that you’re all set up, you can use your phone to monitor all your cameras or pull them up on your computer to take a look. If you see anything interesting, you can hit record to capture the action, press the mic button to make an announcement through the remote camera, or even press the siren button to trigger a loud alarm to scare away any pests or intruders.

With these simple steps, you can turn your old phone into a security camera and keep your home safe.