The Best Security Camera Apps to Turn Your Old Phones and Webcams into Security Cameras

Home security systems can be costly, so it's nice to be able to find ways to help protect your home and family using equipment that you already have around the house.

Luckily, there are several home security apps on the market that allow you to take your old smartphones and web cameras and turn them into a security cameras!

These apps give you the option to recycle older pieces of technology that you haven't been using and turn them into a home security camera that you can use to monitor what goes on while you are away.

While it doesn't mean you are going to get state-of-the-art security for your home, a smartphone security camera app can be helpful for those on a budget or for those who are looking to add a little extra peace of mind to a room, and don't mind doing the monitoring themselves, as opposed to a professional team.

In this article, I'll walk you through the best app to use old phone as security camera and their pros and cons.

The Best Security Camera Apps Reviewed

Use the table below to jump to the app you're interested in if you're short on time.

AppiOSAndroidAvg. Rating
Salient EyeNoYes4.4
Athome CameraYesYes3.7

Or, as an alternative, you can pick up a $30 IP camera and hack the firmware to get the features you want!

#1 Perch - Android Security Camera App

 Android: Requires Android 4.0 or higher.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Features: Motion alerts, video review, recording, motion alerts, video chats, easily integrates with your home automation system.

Complaints: Some people are experiencing a bug in which the camera flips from landscape into portrait mode, several users experienced crashing when trying to record, and a few cases of errors during video playback have been noted.

Summary: Perch offers a way to use your old smartphone or tablet and turn it into a home security camera.  The home security app offers video recording and playback, as well as a live feed that can be viewed on another device, such as a laptop, allowing you to keep track of what is going on at your house.  Video chats give you the opportunity to check in on family members, and if you have a home automation system, you can turn off lights or flip power switches while using the app.  Perch has gotten many great reviews, and the ease of use of the Perch app is a big draw.

#2 Manything Smartphone Security Camera App

Android: Requires Android 4.2 or higher.
Rating: 3.9/5 stars

Apple: Requires iOS 6 or higher and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Manything was one of the first but is it the best security camera app?

Here's the data so you can decide.

Features: Simple setup, live video streaming with your camera, motion detection with auto record function, cloud recording, motion alerts with adjustable motion sensitivity, remote control, ability to check in on your camera's battery, and optional stills only mode.

Complaints: Many users are complaining about the restrictions on free features, as well as a costly plan for going premium.  The app does not allow video chats or talking into camera, and other users noted complaints about not having any sound while using the app.

Summary: Manything allows you to use your old smartphone or tablet camera and convert it into a home security camera to allow you to keep an eye on what is going on at home when you aren't there.

It works with both Apple and Android devices, and has live streaming, recording, and motion detection alerts that help you keep you and your loved ones safe and sound.  Manything features a free option, as well as several subscription options that give you cloud recording and storage and the ability to add more cameras to your plan.

#3 Salient Eye - Best Security Camera App by Rating

Android: Version requirement varies with device.
Rating: 4.4/5 stars

Features: Takes pictures when the camera detects motion, SMS and e-mail alert support, push notifications, alarm, the ability to schedule during what days and times the app and camera should function, works without screen being on, password protection is offered.

Also offers remote control app to allow you to take photos and use the app on other devices (remote control app must be purchased separately).

Complaints: The remote control app for additional features is based on yearly subscription plan.  Many users noted that the trial version was shorter than expected.  An iOS version not yet available.

Summary: Salient Eye allows you to turn your old smartphone or tablet into a motion detection camera, giving you peace of mind over your home and belongings when you are away!  The motion detector automatically takes pictures of anything that triggers it, and sends you the pictures directly to the smartphone or tablet that you have with you (or e-mail, if preferred), so you know if something is going on.

#4 Presence

Android: Requires Android 4.3 and higher.
Rating: 4.1/5 stars

Apple: Requires iOS 6.0 or later.  Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Features: Motion detection, video alerts sent directly to your device upon detection of motion, ability to review what is happening at home in real time, ready to expand into a full do-it-yourself security system with easy integration with door and window sensors, temperature sensors, water sensors, and even a robotic swiveling stand for your smartphone with the company's full line of home security options.

Complaints: Some users have reported the app crashing.

Summary: Presence is a tablet or smartphone security camera app, that will allow you to receive alerts when any motion is detected, as well as the ability to see what is happening in your home or office in real time, lending you peace of mind.  The app also features two-way calling, so if you are at the office and a family member is at home, you are able to communicate with him or her easily.  And, you can expand upon your home security experience by adding the app to Presence's other home security tools, such as door and window sensors, water sensors, and temperature sensors.

#5 AtHome Camera

Android: Requires Android 4.0 and higher.
Rating: 4.3/5 stars

Apple: Requires iOS 7.0 or later.  Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Rating: 3/5 stars

Features: Compatibility with multiple platforms, motion detection, scheduled recording, cloud recording, two-way calling and communication, settings for night recording, camera tilting and panning, time lapse recording, push and e-mail notifications.

Complaints: Upgrading to professional or cloud storage packages can get pricey, night vision camera is poor, users reported scheduled recording not functioning properly.

Summary: AtHome Camera makes a great video surveillance system for your home, garage, office, or nursery, and offers plenty of amazing features that will give you peace of mind about security!  Motion detection alerts will trigger e-mails or push notifications to your smartphone or tablet, allowing you to keep an eye on what is going on while you are away.  Night vision camera functions allow you to record at night, and you can set specific times for recording by using the recording scheduler feature.  Cloud recording is available through subscription plans, helping you make the most of your home security monitoring.

#6 Yawcam

Windows: Requires Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10, Java Runtime Environment 6 or later, Direct X 9 or later, Windows Media Player 9 or later.

Features: Video streaming, motion detection, camera image snapshots, time lapse videos, password protection, multiple languages.

Complaints: There are no Mac or Linux versions as of yet.

Summary: Yawcam, which the creator says stands for "YetAnotherWebCAM," is an application that allows you to use your web camera (AKA webcam) as a home security camera, offering the ability to password protect your video feed, watch what is happening in your home in real time, and has motion detection options that will help give you peace of mind.

#7 WardenCam

Android: Requires Android 2.3 and higher.
Rating: 4.3/5 stars

Apple: Requires iOS 7.0 or later.  Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Features: WardenCam provides motion detection and alerts via e-mail and push notifications, cloud storage, scheduled motion detection (any time of the day or night), night vision mode, ultra high definition video and audio.

Complaints: In order to use the WardenCam app for 24/7 security, you must upgrade to the premium version.

Summary: WardenCam uses your old smartphone or tablet and converts it into a security camera system, allowing you to monitor what is going on while away.  The app has a night vision mode for monitoring your home in the dark, and the scheduled motion detection mode is a great way to set the camera up for when you know you will be away without having to worry about whether or not you started recording.  If the motion detection is activated, the app will send you push notifications or e-mails directly to your current device.

Final Thoughts on the Best Security Camera App

Using an old phone or tablet as part of your personalized home security system is a great idea. And in some instances where the need for an entire security system is not needed, it can be a free or cheap way to keep your home monitored by you.

There are a wide variety of security apps available for Android, Apple, and even your Windows PC that will give you an abundance of features.  Hopefully, we've helped you explore your options and come up with a solution that is right for your home and your family.

Used one of these?  Let us know how it went in the comments below to help out others on the same path as you.

5 thoughts on “The Best Security Camera Apps to Turn Your Old Phones and Webcams into Security Cameras”

  1. I have an old BB Torch 9800 and a BB Z10 that I could use as webcams that I would like to be able to remotely watch from an iPad PRO. Any suggestion ?

    • I haven’t heard of any apps that would work on a Blackberry. You could try Ebay to trade your way into a more common platform like iOS or Android.

  2. I tested a number of remote video monitor apps on Z10… Alfred, Dormi, AtHome and others. The only one that worked flawlessly was BabyPhone Mobile. I think for that one I had to use the “MarketOne” app store instead of BBWorld. I also loaded Google Play store on that (wasnt easy)- since the Z10 runs Android so I could load a lot of other apps.

  3. You should add the”IP Camera Monitor” app to the list. I am using this app to monitor my office when I am away. I have already setup cameras in the Windows PC software “Security Monitor Pro” and I watch the cams remotely using the Android app. I can easily control recording and monitoring. It’s nicely designed and easy to use. It also supports a wide range of IP cameras and all the current onvif cameras.


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