Know How...

Aug 22nd 2013

Know How... 57

Turn Your Android into a Spy Cam

You demanded it! Today you'll know how to make your Android into a surveillance camera!
Records live every Thursday at 2:00pm Eastern / 11:00am Pacific / 19:00 UTC.
Guests: Iyaz Akhtar
Today, we're going to do a viewer request episode. Lots of you wrote in asking how to make your old phone into a surveillance camera.


First up, we asked our audience, the "Know-It-Alls," what apps they used to make a surveillance camera. (You can see our questions if you follow either @iyaz or @snubs on Twitter.) Ever turn your Android phone into a surveillance cam? What app did you use? #TWiTKH Michael Tonge @MikeTonge @iyaz Ustream. It means if someone steals the phone, I still have the evidence on the ustream site. #TWiTKH Alex Ho @Imalexho @iyaz ip webcam and tiny cam monitor

Setting up your Android as a webcam

We used IP Webcam, a very powerful Android app (that's free, too!) that turns our phone or tablet into a camera accessible on our home network. When you start up the app, you'll get a preference page where you can set your resolution of your video and photos, set image orientation, create a login and password, and more. Scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page shows you the "Start server" option. When you start your server, you'll see your camera's output. On the bottom of the screen will be your internal IP address. The application itself is very helpful.

Watching your camera

To watch your camera, you just have to type in that internal IP address along with the port in a web browser. On your browser, you'll be greeted with plenty of options on how to watch your video. Try out "Use javascript to update frames in browser" to see your video. If you'd like to view your camera on another Android device, you can use a web browser or use tinyCam Monitor FREE for Android. As the name suggests, the app is free and lets you view cameras. To add your camera, select "Manage Cameras, then add one by clicking the "+" button. Put in the information that corresponds to your camera in tinyCam Monitor Free. If you'd like to record the output, you'll have to pony up for the pay version.

Accessing your camera outside your network

To access your camera outside of your home network, you'll have to do a couple of extra steps. You'll need to know your home IP address. You can find that by simply typing into Google "What's my IP address." You'll also need to set up port forwarding on your home router. Routers vary greatly by company, so we suggest checking out to find where on your router port forwarding is. For our home router (an Asus brand router), we had to create a virtual server. We named the service something recognizable ("IP Webcam"), picked 80 as our port range, then input the local IP address of our Android device at home. Then we inputted the local port and selected TCP as the protocol. After adding that server, hit apply.

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