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Digital Life Hack: Turn your old phone into a security camera

Digital Life Hack: Turn your old phone into a security camera
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

In these days of non-stop hacking, phishing and data breaches, it's easy to forget that regular old burglars are still lurking around to steal from your home. That's why I'm a big fan of home security systems, especially ones that let you watch your home from a distance and alert you automatically when someone breaks in.

Of course, you don't always need a security system that covers an entire house. Maybe you want to watch a specific drawer or jewelry box, your cubicle at work, the door to your room (if you have roommates or a snooping contractor), or what's happening in your hotel room while you're out. In those and similar cases, you might be able to set up a quick security system for free with the right tools.

Getting started

The main thing you need to get going is a smartphone (a tablet with a rear camera can work, too), a stand to keep the gadget upright and a monitoring app. Set up your gadget on the stand and point the camera in the direction you want to watch. Then start the app. When the app detects movement, it can alert you via email or text, take pictures of the thief and even sound an alarm to scare them off.

If you already have an old smartphone or tablet lying around, you can be up and running in no time. You can also use your main smartphone if you want to guard something overnight while you're sleeping, like a hotel room door.

So, let's take a look at the apps that turn your smartphone into a security camera. At the moment, few monitoring apps work for both Android and Apple, so I'll tell you about one for each.

Next page: Android users first
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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