Monday 1 February 2016

How to turn your iPhone and iPad into a surveillance camera

Have you ever think of buying a surveillance camera for your home or office? You want to see or monitor what is going on at the other place. You went to a mall or internet to look for the best surveillance camera but when you looked at the price-tag, you had to put this aside because the price is too expensive or not within your budget. I got this a lot and had been looking around for the possibility of using my old iDevice to connect to the internet for surveillance camera purpose.

Yes, it is finally here and it is literally free but of course you need to have a spare iDevice around. I have an old iPhone 5 which I didn't manage to sell it off when I bought an iPhone 6. Someone offered to buy my iPhone 5 for $550 but I was looking for $600. In the end, I have forgotten about it and have let it in my closet. When I wanted to sell now, iPhone 6S is already in the market. I think the price that I will get is quite low and not worth it anymore.

So, when I want to buy a surveillance camera for my new home, I think of whether my old iPhone 5 can be used as a surveillance camera. I did some research and found that it is possible now.

The free app that I used is Manything. Go to the Appstore and download the app called "Manything". It is free if you just need to monitor an area with only an iPhone. The basic free plan allows you have live streaming, motion alerts and set detection zones for one camera. If you need more recording options, then you can check out the pricing.

If you have many cameras, you can have the options for multi-camera views or switch between each camera. Also, there is a beta Android app which can be used as a viewer.

I tried out the app using an iPhone 5 as a camera and iPhone 6 as the viewer. I must say that the user interface is smooth and there is a slight lag in the live streaming. But it is quite good and better than I have expected for a free app.

I used the front facing camera and the image quality is quite bad on the viewer. I switched the camera to the rear and the image quality improved significantly because the rear camera itself has higher resolution than the FFC. It is recommended to use the stock or genuine charger to power the device because it is going to consume energy during recording and you wouldn't want the camera to go flat in battery. For non-genuine parts, there will also be a risk of overheating and may cause fire.