If you have tried researching alternatives to wireless security cameras, you’ll notice that an old phone is almost as capable as a regular camera. However, using a phone as a CCTV camera requires extensive setup procedures and a stable internet connection to simulate half the features of a standard security camera.
However, specific cameras work well without the internet requirement, but that’s not the question. The question is: can you use a mobile phone as a CCTV camera without connecting it to the internet?
In this article, I’ll answer the question in detail and show you how to use a mobile as a CCTV camera without the internet. You’ll also get answers to common questions about the procedure to allow for a hitch-free conversion of your old smartphone to a capable security camera without Wi-Fi.
Can I Use Security/CCTV Camera Without Internet Using Android Phones?
When you disconnect a CCTV from the internet, it loses all of its features that rely primarily on the internet to work. Looking at any modern security camera system today, a considerable chunk of the features depend on an internet connection, making them somewhat useless when there’s no internet around.
While the camera loses a lot of features without the internet, it also keeps a few crucial ones, one of which is its ability to record to a physical storage device, like an SD card. However, is it possible to connect a CCTV to a smartphone without the internet, or does that feature disappear once you disconnect your router?
Most security cameras won’t allow you to access footage on your phone in real-time without an active connection to the internet. Viewing the footage on your phone without the internet is possible, but that isn’t connecting your CCTV to your phone.
To watch your security camera footage on your phone without an internet connection to either device, you’ll need to get a camera that can record to an SD card. Then, you should leave it running for a while to record some footage, and once it has done that, remove the SD card from the camera, insert it into your smartphone, and there you go.
While that should work, accessing the footage on your phone in real time is impossible. To use that method, you’ll need to admit that you can only view the tape after the CCTV has recorded something to the SD card or storage medium. Since most people aren’t willing to wait, you cannot connect a security camera to a mobile without an internet connection.
How To Make Security/CCTV Camera Without Internet Using Android Phones
If you have an old phone you no longer need, you can turn it into a security camera to prevent it from rotting away unused. Also, the steps for turning an old phone into a CCTV camera are so easy that you’ll wonder why you last used it a while ago.
While you can use Android and iOS smartphones as security cameras, Android phones are best for this purpose, as they’re much more customizable than iPhones. You should also avoid using a phone you plan to use in the future, as turning a device into a CCTV camera is akin to obliterating its battery.
With that said, you should know that simply opening the camera app and hitting record is a terrible way to start recording security footage on a smartphone. At best, the camera app will automatically close after a few seconds of no interaction from you.
In short, there are some modifications you need to make to turn your phone into a decent security camera. Without further ado, here are the steps required to use a mobile phone as a CCTV camera.
Install a security camera app on the phone
There’s a whole category of apps on every mobile app store called security camera apps. What they do is apparent; they turn your phone into a security camera that works using the camera behind the phone. Before jumping into the app store, you should note that several apps claim to offer the functionality, but only a few work.
Try out a few apps in the category to find one that works excellently for you. Some suggestions for apps include Alfred, AtHome, and Web Camera Online. You can choose anything that offers motion detection, alerts, and cloud streaming.
Some of the apps mentioned above work on both iPhones and Android smartphones, while others are designed to work exclusively on Android. You may need to dig a bit to find what works for your smartphone, as bugs are familiar with CCTV camera apps.
Most security camera apps have a setup procedure before they start working correctly. The setup is typically very straightforward; connect the CCTV device to your primary device to receive a live feed, and sign in with Google to back up the footage to the cloud; if you’re in for that feature.
Mount your new CCTV camera phone in a designated spot
If you need any helpful footage from your phone cum CCTV camera, you’ll need to locate it where it can see what you want it to see. You don’t have to select a spot for it at once; you can try several places until you’re comfortable with the quality of the camera and the viewing angles.
A smartphone tripod mount should work magic if you place it somewhere flat. However, you may need some flexibility that you can only get with other devices, like a car mount. The keyword here is thinking outside the box; whatever holds your phone in the position you want works.
Power your new camera
If you’ve ever used your phone for a photo shoot, you should understand how power-hungry the process can be. Since using your phone as a CCTV camera is nothing more than using it as a video camera continuously for as long as it works, you should expect the device to draw a lot of power while at it.
Since a CCTV should be working all the time, the only way to power your camera consistently is by having a power cable that plugs directly right into it all the time. You can buy a very long USB cable, as you’ll likely place the phone somewhere far away from an outlet.
Once the phone has a steady power flow, you can test your new invention by getting feedback from the camera. If it works, congratulations: you’ve now converted your old phone to a functional security camera. You can keep the phone plugged in to save it powered, as most phones automatically stop charging when their batteries are full.
Can CCTV Camera Work with Mobile Data?
Another common question about CCTV cameras is the possibility of getting them to work with mobile data. Since pretty much every camera works with Wi-Fi at this point, it’s crucial to ask if you can use one with a SIM and mobile data if that’s what you prefer.
Surprisingly, a couple of CCTV cameras work excellently with mobile data. They’ll retain all the regular features you get with Wi-Fi connectivity without actually connecting to Wi-Fi. A sweet part of the deal is that you can carry it anywhere, as you’re not trying to stay within your Wi-Fi’s proximity.
However, the bitter part of the deal is that mobile data consumes more power than Wi-Fi and is also more expensive.
Is there a Security Camera that Works without the internet?
Cameras connecting to the internet to send a live feed to your smartphone only came about recently, but we’ve had security cameras for far longer than that. Frankly, it sounds somewhat weird that someone will ask if there’s a security camera that can work without the internet, but here we are.
If the answer wasn’t apparent, there is a security camera that can work without a Wi-Fi connection; not even one: a massive collection of them. Any camera manufactured before 2005 should work without an internet connection, but you should be prepared to deal with many wires.
Also, most security cameras that work with the internet in 2022 can work without any connection. All you need to do to unlock that superpower is deprive the said camera of an internet connection, slap an SD card onto it, and watch it record like a pro. However, you’ll lose a couple of unmissable features, a limitation that will convince you to crawl back to your router.
You can always use your smartphone as a CCTV camera without the internet by installing a few apps and connecting it to a newer device. If you were hoping to use a new smartphone as a security camera, don’t: you’ll be killing its battery!