How to use your old phone as a security camera

use your old phone as a security camera

What do you do with an old phone that’s no longer in use? Give it away, sell it off cheap or lock it away in that drawer? These might be some of your decisions towards an old phone which you no longer need its usage. Aside from the aforementioned decisions, an old phone can be utilized in a much better way. You can achieve maximum usage of your old Smartphone by turning it into a surveillance camera and use it for security. By doing so, you don’t need to worry about buying CCTV or IP security systems equipment. Your old phone has the majority of the components of becoming a real security camera. It already has a camera lens and can be connected to the internet. Nevertheless, you would still need cables and the right software to accomplish this.

By having just your old phone and the needed requirement in place, I will show you the steps on how you can turn your old or spare phone into a security camera.

Needed components and software

  • Your old phone
  • Security camera app (Haven)
  • Cables
  • Access to a Wi-Fi internet connection
Haven turn your old phone to security camera

After getting everything in place, let take a look at the Haven Security camera app. The app was built by former NSA contractor and whistleblower, Edward Snowden. It was created for people who needed a way to protect their personal space and possessions without compromising their own privacy. Moreover, Haven works with an active internet connection using the phone’s mobile connection, Wi-Fi or with a USB-to-Ethernet adapter.


Setting up Haven

Get the Haven app and put in your phone. You can get the app from Google Play Store by typing a search for Haven. Also, you can get it from F-Droid (the open-source app store). Upon installation, open it for configuration by swiping through it and tap on Configure. Give it the necessary permission prompts for photos, media, and file access and also to take pictures and record video.


Your live camera feed will show up in the next screen. Switch between the front-facing or rear-facing cameras at the lower left corner of your screen. You can use the slider along the bottom of the screen to set how sensitive you want the motion detection to be. Also, you can re-adjust the motion sensor anytime to match your environment.


You can adjust its settings to be more sensitive to pick up sound or motion easily. This will prompt your phone to start recording once its sensor detects any sound or motion in its space.


You can receive feedback by either through SMS alerts or signal. To receive SMS alert sent to your primary phone. In the app settings, just provide your phone number to be used. To set up video surveillance, go to settings and turn on the Video Monitoring toggle and set the video monitoring length. This will choose how long Haven will record the environment.

Mounting your phone in place

Look for the right spot to give you the best angle-view to mount your phone. Connect the phone to a power outlet, run your Ethernet cable or get connected using Wi-Fi. Make sure everything is set properly and well placed.


Is Haven supported on iPhone

By the time of this writing, Haven doesn’t support the iPhone yet. Although, there’s hope to run Haven on iOS devices in the future. Nevertheless, iOS users can still benefit from the Haven experience. Just get an old android phone or buy an inexpensive one and get Haven installed. Your iPhone can be used to receive audio and photos notification directly from the android phone. This can be achieved by enabling the Tor Onion Service feature in Haven (it also requires the installation of Orbot app as well). Moreover, this can grant you remote access to all Haven log data by simply using your iPhone with the Onion Browser app.

You can indeed turn your old phone as your security camera

Using an old Smartphone as a surveillance camera is way better than selling it for a fraction or allowing it to gather dust in the drawer. Not only will your phone be able to send you audio and photos automatically via SMS or signal. It’ll also be able to log events on the phone itself which you can view at any time. Nevertheless, you’ll have to trigger the phone’s monitoring manually as when needed and also turn it off manually.

For questions or suggestions, we are a click away.

Please leave a comment below.

Team techablaze


  1. “…send you audio and photos automatically via SMS or signal.” What is meant by “signal?” Does this app require the old phone to have a working line on my wireless plan? Seems like that would cost about as much as the monthly charge for central station burglar alarm service.Please clarify whether or not a WiFi and Internet connection is enough for this to work.Thanks!

    • Yes! Your old phone only need to be connected to your WiFi or you can use a USB-to-Ethernet cable. Once connected and everything is set properly, you will be prompted on your phone through an sms alert or a signal. The signal here is a beep to notify you of an intruder once the phone’s sensor capture any movement within its view.

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