How To Use An Old iPhone As A Home Security Camera

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There comes a time in every iPhone user's life when they need to upgrade to a newer model. Some people will trade in a recent model for a discount. But if you've been holding onto your phone for a few years, trading it in might not even be worth it, and your old phone will just end up in a drawer somewhere after you've bought a newer version. If you find yourself in that situation, there are actually a few useful ways you can repurpose your old iPhone, including using it as a security camera. The best part is how easy it is to transform your iPhone from a useless piece of junk into a vital part of your home security.

Not only does using an old iPhone save you money on buying a standalone security camera, but there's also an advantage in its portability. Because it's small, light, and battery-powered, you can untether it from a power source and use it as a temporary camera for any number of situations. For example, If you're at a friend's house and putting a young child down for a nap in a guest room, you can use it as a makeshift baby monitor, or use it to watch over kids playing in the yard or by the pool. You can also use a temporary camera to keep an eye on your laundry, barbecue, or front porch if you're expecting a package. By keeping your iPhone plugged in and placing it in a good location, you can use it as a permanent security camera. Either way, the steps for turning your old phone into a new camera are simple to follow.

How to make your old iPhone a home security camera

The first thing you'll need to do is decide on a home security app and then download that app onto both your old iPhone and your current one. Whichever app you choose, make sure it can run on the most updated iOS your old phone can handle. There are several apps that will allow you to set an iPhone as a camera, including Alfred, which has a near-perfect rating on the App Store. The following steps will specifically illustrate how to turn your old iPhone into a security camera using Alfred, though the process will be similar if you use a different app.

  1. Download Alfred from the App Store onto your current iPhone.
  2. Create an account through Apple, Google, or email.
  3. When prompted to add a camera, tap Mobile Device.
  4. Tap Pair Up by QR Code.
  5. Download Alfred from the App Store onto your old iPhone.
  6. Tap Scan to Link to Viewer Device and allow Alfred to use your camera.
  7. Point the camera at the QR code on your current iPhone to pair the device. Alternatively, you can pair your old iPhone by logging into Alfred using the same account you used on your current phone.
  8. In the settings, decide whether you want to use your old iPhone's front or rear camera, and choose if you want to enable audio and/or motion detection.
  9. Place the old iPhone in a spot that can adequately surveil the location of your choice.

Once these steps are completed, your old iPhone has found new life as your home security camera. You can use your current iPhone to go into Alfred and change any settings and preferences, as well as view what your old iPhone is seeing at any time.

Finding the right location for your security camera

How useful your old iPhone is as a security camera will largely rely on where you place it, so you'll need to decide which area of your home is worth keeping an eye on. It could be an entranceway or a room with important valuables like a bedroom or garage. Once you know what area you want to surveil, make sure you place the camera in a spot where the lens can see as much of the room as possible, without any obstruction. You may want to consider placing the iPhone on a small tripod to give it a better viewing angle. Use your current iPhone as a viewer to make sure you have the exact frame you want and are avoiding any critical blind spots.

You'll also need to make sure your iPhone is close enough to a power source since it will need to be permanently plugged in if you want 24-hour surveillance (the battery, especially on an older phone, won't last very long with the camera running). You can buy 10ft lightning cables (or longer) to power your phone, but you'll want to consider aesthetics when placing the phone in relation to a power source.

Security camera apps that let you use an iPhone camera

Alfred is a solid choice for iPhone users looking to convert old phones into home security cameras, though it currently offers more features to Android users than its iOS app does. The features the iOS version includes are enough for home security though including motion detection, the ability to use both the front and back cameras simultaneously, and two-way audio. You will have to purchase the Premium version to use all of Alfred's features, including unlimited cloud storage.

Alfred is far from your only option, and you may find a different iOS app better suits your needs or personal preferences. Presence is an app that, like Alfred, allows you to use both cameras on your iPhone. AtHome employs facial recognition and will alert you when specific family members come home and walk into the frame. Manything is an iOS-exclusive app that allows you to select zones within the camera frame it can specifically monitor using motion detection. Other home security apps for iOS include Warden Cam, Haven, and Owlr. With your old iPhone repurposed as a camera, you can play around and see which app is right for you.