Don’t let your old phones die in peace, you aren’t done showing them the filth of the world just yet.
Well then, welcome back.
Ok let’s just get straight to the point then, you need some security, you need to protect your turf, your family, your pets and your awesome wardrobe collection.
You already have got the biggest requirements covered – there’s a bunker installed in your basement that has a secret door in your kitchen where you and your family members are most commonly found.
You have got guns of course, who hasn’t at this point? And you have also mastered the art of being a jerk when it comes to protect your…whatever for you feel the need to protect.
Is there something missing besides your past dreams and future hopes?
The cameras! Of course!!
. . .
Living there in USA has always been like a game of wager. The rewards are so alluring that you want to face the risks.
But the past few years, especially when the pandemic started, things have become crazier.
Now, there is a literal war going in some part of the world you haven’t bothered to check on the map yet.
What if all the immigrant hobos went rogue or something and decided to burglarize your home.
Then what? Should – should, uh… should there be an Avengers League of Justice comprised of non-immigrant hobos to counter the immigrant ones?
Wild thought. Wild thought indeed.
. . .
Home security cameras are, repeat after me, costly.
The worthwhile ones come for hundreds of bucks per piece.
So, if you are worried about immigrant hobos or your spouse cheating behind your back or your children stalked by an evil monkey at night or if you just want to keep an eye on your house in your absence, then –
Don’t even bother buying those expensive cameras from Amazon, if you have old but still working phones lying around then let me tell you how to turn them into some proper home security cameras.
Step 1 – Where’s Your Wallet?
Even though the title of this blog implies that you are getting home cameras for free, there are still some expenditures involved.
Keep around 40 to 50 bucks on you for this, per transformation. If you want quality results only, otherwise yeah, it’s free then.
Step 2 – The Old Ones
Locate where your old phones are now? Are they working? If yes, do they support wi-fi? If these conditions aren’t met then this solution can’t work for you.
Another thing. If you want your phone camera to cover a large area it would be better if your old phone had ultra-wide-angle feature and a sensor in the camera API that could be controlled by third party apps.
If you don’t have that, go with what you have.
Step 3 – The App
The App? What does that mean?
Well, you’ll need the help of a camera security app to turn your old phone into a makeshift home security camera. Now, there are many-many apps out there for this purpose but some good ones are – Presence, Manything, Salient Eye and Alfred etc.
I’m going to use the example of Alfred here, since it has 4.3-stars rating (presently) with over 10 million downloads. Everyone starts with the most trusted app first before experimenting with others so let’s do Alfred first.
Alfred is a cross platform app meaning you can use it on both Androids and iPhones at the same time. Alfred will offer you awesome free features like motion detection, two-way talk, siren alarm, trust circle, low light filter, video recording and free 7 days cloud recording.
But the videos will be of low quality and then why even bother when you can’t make out what the hell is even happening on the screen?
You should consider buying the premium version of this app which will give you bigger features like HD streaming and recording, 30-day storage, no ads, zoom support, motion detection scheduling, camera zoom and more.
Alfred offers premium security features at only $3.99/month or $29.99/year.
Anyway, here’s how to turn your old phone working as a home security camera with the help of Alfred –
- Download and install Alfred on the new phone
- Sign in
- Now select Viewer from the top left corner
- Done? Now repeat step #1 and #2 on your old phone(s)
- Instead of selecting Viewer, select Camera this time
Remember that on iOS you have fewer control option for using Alfred, you can select between front or back camera, enable or disable motion detection and turn on or off the audio. That would be it.
While on Android, you get even more options like allowing continuous focusing, setting up a resolution, reopening Alfred automatically after any reboots and enabling a passcode lock.
The new (parent) phone can do a little bit more like setting up names for all the connected devices, turning notifications on or off, granting trusted people access to your video feeds (Trust Circle feature), removing any camera, setting up the sensitivity of motion detection and enabling a low-light filter.
Step 4 – Spots/Locations
You’ll need a perfect position to set up your new security camera(s) make sure that they are difficult to detect. If you are ok to place them openly then also make sure that these old phones are near a charging point with chargers attached to them, charging them.
Because using cameras, especially in old phones takes up a lot of battery. You can use longer USB cables but they can’t be longer than 5 meters because of the specifications of USB 2.0.
Step 5 – Mounts (Optional)
If you have no problem with how you mount/place your phone cameras or if you already have good spots, great.
But in case you don’t – the usual good options are wall mounting which requires drilling. Or you can use suction cups, tripods or even adhesives.
. . .
Parting Tips –
- If you want to put this makeshift camera security network in your garden or balcony then it is advisable to use a solar panel as the power bank. You’ll have to make it sure that both the camera and the power source are under a weather protected location AND meet with corresponding IP requirements.
- You can use this trick to install one permanent monitor on your front door as a smart intercom feature and even ask your courier to leave the parcel wherever you want them to.
- If your house is big enough to make your phones escape the Wi-Fi reach, you can ask for another SIM card for a small fee and be sure to check how much data is getting consumed by the app of your choice.
- If your old phones had sucky camera quality then no matter if you use premium app services or not, the videos you’ll get will be of shit quality.
. . .
Q1. My old phone has no Wi-Fi support, would this method still work on them?
A1. That’s rough buddy. No.
Q2. What to do if I actually find someone in my house in my absence?
A2. Call 911.
Q3. I have two Glocks and one hunting rifle near my bed, why should I worry about spending a few extra on actual security cameras?
A3. Don’t. By all means go buy them if you can, this post was for people who for some reason can’t or don’t want to buy expensive security cameras but still want some cheap video monitoring.
. . .
Writing this post has been very weird for me. I re-read it many times before nodding in approval just to make sure if this all felt right.
Anyway, it does. If you have old phones lying around and you want video security in your house or baby monitoring but you don’t want to spend $200 for that.
This whole post is your next best option. Hope all your fears are in vain. See ya.