Do you have an old smartphone or tablet that’s just lying around the house with no purpose? As long as it has a functioning camera, you can turn it into a home security camera. This is perfect for monitoring the inside of your home, office, garage or any other building.
What you’ll need
To create your home security system, you’ll need the following:
- A Camera. For the best results, I’d recommend using an old smartphone or tablet that you can set up as a dedicated security camera.
- A Viewer. This is the device where you’ll monitor the feed from your security camera. For the best results, use the smartphone you are actively using.
Installing the Alfred Home Security Camera mobile app
To start, install the Alfred app on your old smartphone or tablet. Alfred is cross-platform, so you can install it on any compatible Android or iOS device:
2. Launch the Alfred application. You’ll be prompted to create an account, so tap “Sign Up” and follow the onscreen instructions.
3. Once you’re logged into your account, tap the “Viewer/Camera” item in the toolbar and select “Camera.”
4. When prompted to set up this device as a camera, tap “OK.”
5. Alfred will now request permission to record video and take pictures and permission to record audio. If you’re okay with these requests, tap “Allow.”
Congratulations, your old, unwanted smartphone or tablet is now a fully-functioning security camera!
How to set up your security camera
You can now position your old device so that it’s pointing at the area you want to monitor. This step can take some trial and error, imagination, and potentially also some duct tape or other fixtures!
To get the best results, you should generally:
- Place your camera device around one to two meters away from the object(s) you want to monitor.
- Avoid pointing your device at reflective surfaces, such as windows and mirrors, as this can result in false motion detection alerts and may also interfere with the picture quality.
- Avoid pointing your camera at moving objects such as fans or objects that show movement such as TV and laptop screens.
Once your device is in position, you should avoid pressing the “Power” or “Home” buttons, as this may put the device into sleep mode or close the Alfred app entirely. Instead, allow the screen to dim and then turn off naturally.
Monitor your home from any location
Next, install Alfred on the smartphone or tablet you’re using as your Viewer:
1. Install and launch the Alfred mobile app on your Viewer device.
2. Log into your Alfred account. Make sure it’s the same account you’re using on your Camera device!
3. Alfred will now request various permissions; grant these permissions to proceed to the next screen.
4. Tap the item in the Alfred menu bar and then select “Viewer.”
Once Alfred detects more than one device using the same account, it should link those devices automatically. Whenever you want to view the live feed from your Camera, simply launch the Alfred app on your Viewer, and the feed should appear automatically.
Add motion detection to your home security system
By enabling Alfred’s motion detection, you’ll receive a push notification on your Viewer every time movement is detected:
1. Launch the Alfred app on the device you’re using as your Viewer.
2. Find the camera where you want to set up motion detection.
3. In the upper-left corner of the Camera feed, tap the little cog icon.
4. Find the “Motion Detection” slider and push it into the “On” position.
5. While you’re in the Settings, you may also want to change the sensitivity of the motion detection by tapping “Sensitivity” and then choosing from the available options: “High,” “Medium” or “Low.”
Now every time movement is detected, you’ll receive a push notification on the smartphone or tablet you’re using as your Viewer. You can then launch the Alfred app and see exactly what’s happening in real time.
Accessing and storing Alfred’s security videos
Whenever it detects motion, Alfred will automatically record everything that’s happening and upload the clip to the cloud for safekeeping.
To review all of Alfred’s recordings:
1. On your Viewer, launch the Alfred application.
2. Find the security camera that you want to review and then click its accompanying “Events” tab.
3. You’ll now be taken to Alfred’s “Events Book.” To play any clip from your “Events Book,” give it a tap. If you want to save a clip, then tap the dotted icon in the clip’s upper-right corner and select “Save to Moments.” Alternatively, you can delete a clip by tapping the “Trash” icon.
Access your security camera from any Internet-enabled device
Don’t have your Viewer at hand? You can drop in on your security feed from any web browser.
1. Head over to the Alfred website and sign in to your account.
2. Select the “Camera” tab.
3. Select the camera that you want to view.
4. You can now view this feed on your laptop or computer.
If you have an old smartphone around, we have shown you a way to repurpose it and use it as a security camera. You can also use it as a dashcam or a smart speaker. If that is not enough, find out more ways to reuse your old Android phone.
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox