How to Use Your Android As a Surveillance Camera

Nowadays, Surveillance cameras are usually expensive and not necessarily very flexible. For those who want to monitor specific rooms or living areas without a big budget, smartphone apps are a good alternative. Even older smartphones that you don’t use anymore are perfect as a solution with the appropriate surveillance camera app. In just a few simple steps you can turn a mobile phone into a baby monitor or a surveillance camera for your own room in a shared apartment. In this article, we will show you how.

Surveillance apps are often mistakenly compared with location apps and criticized as spying tools. But there is another side to it: when used in a private environment these apps can be extremely helpful.

In most cases, an old smartphone or tablet is placed at the desired location and used as a free surveillance camera replacement. With a second mobile phone, pictures or videos can be retrieved from home at any time.

Particularly popular are free Android apps for using the phone as a security camera. For some providers, instead of a second mobile phone as a camera replacement, a motion detector or an IP camera is connected. Some also offer paid video storage or extra features. We present various ways to monitor your home with Android apps. The download link to the respective app and an indication of possible costs can be found directly in the respective product overview.

Using iOS and iPhone as a Security Camera

The good news beforehand: All surveillance camera apps presented in this article are available as iOS versions for iDevices – many of them even for free. Only the Motion Detector Pro app is not available for iDevices.

Motion Detector Pro

Motion Detector Pro has been specially developed for the secret monitoring of a room. Because the monitoring camera App Motion Detector Pro switches off automatically as soon as the mobile phone moves or a handle is registered to the smartphone.

Basically, the adjustable motion detector of the Motion Detector Pro surveillance camera app immediately triggers the taking of a proof image as soon as motion is detected. This is either stored in the cloud, sent by e-mail or saved on the memory card of the smartphone. In addition, the user will receive a message with a timestamp of when the alarm was triggered.

Alfred

The surveillance camera app Alfred is not only extremely simple but can also be easily set up. Only one Google Account is needed to verify the app. This serves above all the safety of the users since thus foreign access to the surveillance camera app can be excluded.

The surveillance camera app Alfred is installed both on the camera device and on the mobile device, via which the camera is to be called up. Since the connection at Alfred does not run on a server, but Peer-2-Peer is transmitted, the app is very fast and responds accordingly well.

Thanks to the motion detector and push notification, the user of the surveillance camera App Alfred is alerted to movement and can switch to the camera. An integrated screenshot function allows to catch the perpetrators in the act and to record evidence. The app can be used with several devices at the same time so that users can position different smartphones as cameras in different rooms.

If no movements are registered, the Alfred App automatically switches to sleep mode to protect the mobile phone battery. Nevertheless, a power supply should be connected with permanent use for safety’s sake.

Price and Availability of Alfred App:

In the Google Play Store, the Alfred App is currently the most frequently downloaded surveillance camera app and is therefore listed there under the general name mobile phone as a security camera. In the iTunes Store, it is called Alfred Security Camera. The download is free in both cases, additional in-app purchases are possible. Further information and detailed instructions on the Alfred App are also provided by the Alfred App manufacturer.

Camio

The situation is similar to the monitoring app Camio. In addition to the images of an iPhone, Android phones or a computer, Camio also transmits data from IP cameras via 128-bit encryption on the desired smartphone. On request, of course, its owner can still allow other people (eg family members) access to the security app and thus allow flexible monitoring.

In addition, the Camio security camera app can be used to control the speakers of the smartphone via voice transmission. For example, pets can be admonished that are illegally lying on the couch during their own absence.

For households with many different surveillance cameras, the manufacturer also offers a so-called Camio box. Each Camio box can be combined with 3 HD video streams from almost all camera models & NVRs and managed centrally.

Pricing and Availability of Camio App:

Unlike many other surveillance camera apps, Camio offers security programs in various price ranges. The basic version is free and includes live streaming, 2-way chat. It is intended for the cameras of a smartphone, tablet, and browser. The Plus version costs about 10 euros a month and offers 30-day video recording, as well as additional Camio features (Daily, Search, Alerts). It is also suitable for IP cameras. The Pro version provides 90-day video recording, advanced video analytics, and faster support.

The download is free as a Camio iOS version or as a Camio Android version possible. Further information on setup and operation is provided by the Camio manufacturer.

Babyphone 3G

The Babyphone 3G App is not a classic baby cam like other apps. Because even in this case, a smartphone is used to protect the baby to register movements and sounds of the child. Automated then both the parents can be notified as well as songs or voice recordings are played.

Our conclusion: As a security camera app only partially suitable. Nevertheless, the Babyphon 3G app can make the evenings of the parents much more pleasant and stress-free. It is also recommended for travel, but it spares you to carry along several Babycam components. Last but not least, the Baby Monitor 3G Surveillance Camera app is unbeatably cheap and only costs one-tenth of a classic system.

Prices and Availability of Babyphone 3G App:

Who buys the Babyphone 3G Android app pays the equivalent of about 3.10 euros. The Babyphone 3G iOS App costs 4.49 euros. But then she can also transfer images to an Apple TV. The Babyphone 3G manufacturer website also provides tips and tricks for the app.

iVigilo Smartcam

The iVigilo Smartcam Surveillance Camera App is only available for Apple devices. In addition to a good motion sensor and a face recognition software, this security camera app sets above all on ease of use of the functions. The live images are streamed to a server and are therefore accessible from anywhere in the world by means of identification and password.

Pricing and Availability of iVigilo Smartcam

The iVigilo Smartcam iOS app is freely downloadable. In addition, in-app purchases can be made. It is not yet available in the Google Play Store. Many useful application tips are also provided in this case by the iVigilo manufacturer page.

Manything Home Security

Also, the Manything home security surveillance camera app is available exclusively for Apple devices. It not only offers fast room monitoring and motion alerting but also allows two-way communication between an IP camera or an old iPhone and the i-device being used. For example, children or pets can be reminded of abnormalities. So no trip to the cookie jar and no night outing to the fridge remains undetected.

Best Alternative Camera Apps for Android

Camera App

What are the best camera apps for Android and what makes them better than traditional apps? In this guide, we’ll discuss some great camera apps for your smartphone.

Why You Should Use an Alternative Camera App

Many smartphones are already equipped with very good photo apps. Alternative camera apps offer some new features and advanced settings options. And we will discuss these peculiarities in the following examples.

Some of the camera apps featured here require that your smartphone support Android’s Camera2 API – which unfortunately does not apply to all. The developer of the Manual Camera has developed a stand-alone app that tests the Camera2 API on your smartphone.

Nevertheless, there are disadvantages with alternative camera apps. Although Google has made changes to the API to allow third-party to access both sensors of a dual camera, this works only on Android 9. Therefore, some apps still cannot take the full advantage of your smartphone’s lenses. And on the other hand, HDR modes such as HDR + on Google smartphones are usually also not available via alternative camera apps.

Kuji Cam

Kuji Cam is different than any other camera apps that are listed in this article. Because Kuji Cam is more focused on retro photography. This awesome app allows you to take retro themed photos without any hassle. It also has built-in features like timestamp which allows you to add the date into your photos like in old times.

Google Camera

Our first choice is “Google Camera”. Google Camera is a beginner-friendly, fast and exclusive camera app for Android devices. Google Camera is an Android-exclusive app since it offers HDR+ functionality to Nexus and Pixel smartphones. This is a special HDR mode that combines some individually exposed images into one image.

Some reputed Android developers have managed to unlock HDR + on other smartphones with Qualcomm chip. Thanks to these modifications, you can take HDR photos with non-Google smartphones and use the other exclusive features.

With Google Camera, you can take pictures as Panorama and as Photo Sphere. The latter is a walk-in sphere panorama that you can view with the matching photo app via the motion sensors – but 360-degree cameras are better for such shots.

Open Camera

As the name implies, Open Camera is a free open source Android camera app. Anyone can see that the user interface is kept simple at first glance. In addition to a few general information, such as how much device memory is still free or the time, you still see the virtual shutter button for photos and videos and some options. Open Camera can tell you what angle your smartphone is holding at the moment – together with the optional overlay guides, this will give you the best perspective before you take your photos.

In the Open Camera submenu, you will have many more options to choose from, which can help, for example, with smartphones that have only one camera app without manual mode. One of our favorite options is “Exposure” because it can change the photo quality dramatically. It also has a feature called “Exposure Lock” which helps you to take lowlight photos with ease.

VSCO

VSCO is another camera app which allows you to apply filters, edit images and make some cool arts for your favorite social media networks. VSCO app is initially limited to the simplest functions. After taking or importing a picture, however, there are numerous filters available to the user.

Within VSCO, users can share their photos with the community. Like other social networks, VSCO also allows you to network with your own friends, acquaintances, and contacts in order to marvel at pictures together. The app itself and many basic options are free, but there are many in-app purchases and ways to spend money with VSCO. There are many presets VSCO sells. If you purchase these presets you can use them with photo editing softwares like Adobe Lightroom.

Cymera

Cymera is the perfect app for the selfie generation. With the built-in filters, beauty options and post-processing options, you can make even smarter self-portraits of you.
But Cymera can do more than just selfies. The app includes its own gallery, numerous options for editing your photos and many ways to play around with the camera.

Camera MX

The Camera MX app from Magix comes with a whole set of features and options that are especially admired by enthusiastic photographers all around the world.

One of the most exciting features of Camera MX is called “Shoot the Past”. The smartphone not only records a single image but also a few seconds before it. The user can then select exactly on the touchscreen, which moment should be stored. This is especially helpful for scenes with a lot of movement and is reminiscent of the motion feature of the pixel smartphone or live pics of the iPhone.

Simple Camera

Simple Camera is a complete opposite of apps like Camera MX. The app comes along as simple as possible and offers only the things that you absolutely need to take pictures and video: shutter, camera switch, video mode. There are a few other options in the Settings menu that are unlikely to be used by anyone who wants just that: A simple, easy-to-use camera app.

It uses very little resources since it is very lightweight. Simple Camera can be used on almost any phone because of that.

A Better Camera

A Better Camera, as the name implies, wants to be a better camera than the default cameras on many smartphones. A Better Camera offers a number of interesting features, including group snapshots, burst modes, the ability to easily remove unwanted objects from images, and the ability to use focus and metering from separate points. There is also a useful option that works like Google’s “Top Shot” feature.

Immediate post-processing is also possible within the app and videos can be recorded with real-time HDR. Unfortunately, many of the best features are available only through the purchase, so sometimes A Better Camera feels a bit like an annoying free-to-play game.

If you take a lot of photos and ready to make a small investment, the camera app lives up to its name. If you would like to edit recordings directly after snapping, you will need to install the companion app called A Better Editor.

Camera 360

Camera360 is one of the most popular camera apps in the Google Play Store and especially extensive. These include live filters and a variety of options and effects. In some places, even to the point of wondering if some of them are really useful. Especially good is the simple operation, in which not all options are hidden in nested single menus.

It also has the functions like stickers and cartoon effects which can be applied before you take your photos. These features are very similar to the features that are now also found in messenger apps such as Line or WhatsApp, but some people find it more useful to add directly from the camera app.

All of these listed alternative camera apps are great. But we recommend you to do a research of your own before installing Google Camera. You can try XDA forums to check if it works with your device. There are now countless different app versions and not all work equally great.