3 Things You Need to Turn an Old Phone Into a Security Camera

I suspect cell phones were hot items this past Christmas. Did you find a new phone under the tree? And if so, what do you plan to do with your old phone? Previously enjoyed cell phones do not have to be thrown in the junk drawer and forgotten about. In addition to selling or trading them in, you can also turn old phones into useful devices.

One suggestion I intend to try within the next couple of weeks is turning an old phone into a security camera. I have two phones that are doing nothing but taking up space. That is going to change. Fortunately, turning an unused phone into a security camera is not that hard. You really only need three things.

1. A Security Cam App

The first thing you need is a security cam app. There are plenty of options to choose from whether you are an Android or iPhone user. Some of the apps are free, but the tradeoff is a limited feature set. Other apps are paid. Just put some time into research to find one that works for you.

The main caveat here is the age of your phone and its operating system. Older operating systems do not always support modern apps. If your phone is old enough, you might not be able to find a security cam app for it. The two phones I intend to work with have Android 7 on them. I suspect I will not have trouble finding an app. Anything older could be a problem.

2. An Effective Mounting System

Next up, you will need an effective mounting system. One of the suggestions I ran across in my research was purchasing a tripod along with a phone mount. It isa good solution because it allows you to move your camera around as needed. Mounting the camera to a wall would give you less flexibility in that regard.

While you are thinking about mounting systems, also think about location. According to Vivint Smart Home, the number one priority for video surveillance at home is the front door. They recommend that customers with only one or two video cameras focus on the front door is that is one of the most common entry points for burglars.

A tripod and phone mount would suffice for monitoring the front door from the inside. You could monitor the door from nearly any angle depending on where you place the tripod. If you prefer external video surveillance, forget using an old phone. It will not stand up to the elements.

3. A Power Source

The last thing you will need is a power source. Do not even think about running your new security camera solely on battery power. Why? Because video recording is power intensive. You’ll drain your battery in no time at all. And if your phone is old enough, a security cam app could put too much strain on the battery to make doing so worthwhile.

A USB or Lightning cable will provide the main power connection at the phone end. The other end can be plugged into a charging station or a wall outlet. I would recommend getting a 10-foot cable for maximum flexibility in positioning. Regardless, you will have to place the camera within a reasonable distance of your power source.

Once installed, you’ll have access to live video feeds even when you’re not home. Perhaps a single security camera isn’t as nice as having a full system from Vivint, but it’s better than no video surveillance at all. And the bonus is being able to make use of that old phone.

Jackson Lee

Ryder Jackson Lee: Ryder, a property manager, offers advice on managing rental properties, landlord tips, and insights on the rental market.

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