If you have an old phone lying around, you can easily use it by turning it into a mobile security camera. With Edward Snowden’s app, it’s very easy. Here’s how.

Your phone already has the components of a «real» security camera, namely a camera lens and an internet connection. You’ve been doing this with an Android phone for years, but there’s an even safer way.

We’re going to use an app called Haven, which was developed by NSA chief Edward Snowden. You can use the app on just about any Android phone or tablet, from an old spare seat in your drawer to a cheap $50 phone from WalMart. As long as your device has a working camera and microphone, you can use it as a security camera. You can install the Haven beta from the Google Play Store or compile it yourself from the Github repository.

Haven will work whether your phone is connected to Wi-Fi or a USB to Ethernet adapter. If you’re going on a wired internet route, be sure to purchase an adapter that also provides power. The Haven app itself only works on Android devices, but you can set it up to alert your iPhone.

Setting up Haven on your old phone

Before setting up the Haven app, make sure your ideal location has enough space to set up your phone, provide power, and connect an Ethernet or Wi-Fi cable. When everything is decided, open the Haven app. Swipe across the first pair of screens, then select Customize.

Haven setup screen

Click «Allow» in the prompts for permission to access photos, media and files, and to take pictures and record videos.

Haven Permission Request on Android

Click «Allow» in the next resolution to take a photo and record a video.

Hello image and video recording on Android

The next screen will be your live camera feed. Tap the icon at the bottom left to switch between the front and rear cameras, and use the slider along the bottom of the screen to set the motion detection sensitivity. You can always go back and increase or decrease motion sensitivity to better match your surroundings. Click «Back» in the top left corner to see more options.

Haven feed camera app

Then accept the audio recording permission request so you can hear the environment around the camera. Again, use the slider at the bottom of the screen to adjust the detection sensitivity. Click the back button in the top left corner again.

Haven audio recording setup

Then shake your phone or use the slider at the bottom to adjust the motion detection. This will allow your camera to start recording if the phone physically moves, for example if an intruder starts knocking on the side of your house. Click the back button in the top left again.

Haven Motion Detection Setup

Swipe through the rest of the home screens. Grant permission to send and view SMS messages if you want SMS notifications to be sent to your primary phone, then enter your phone number. To send SMS messages, you need to install an active SIM card or set up an alert tone in the app’s settings (more on that in a moment) if you’re just using an internet connection.

Haven SMS Invitation

Swipe through another screen, then tap Done.

Haven setup on Android is complete

After that, click «Start Now» to start monitoring your environment. Tap the «Settings» gear in the lower right corner to adjust the camera, sound, and motion sensitivity, change your SMS or messaging settings, and more.

Settings Page for Haven Android App

Haven Video Surveillance Setup

The motion and sound detection is great, but Haven also allows you to record video for a set period. Tap the Settings button in the lower right corner of the home screen, then turn on the Video Monitoring switch.

Video monitoring is enabled on the Haven settings page

Click «Set Video Duration» to choose how long Haven will record the environment.

Choice of video surveillance length in Haven

With this you have a cheap and reliable security camera! Your events — complete with photos and audio — will automatically be sent via SMS or signal, and you can always go back and view the events from your old phone. Keep in mind that you will need to start monitoring manually before sending, and it will remain on until you manually turn it off again. Even with these minor limitations, this is a great way to reuse an old phone!

Похожие записи