Want to keep an eye on your home but don’t have the funds or DIY skills to install a security camera? If you have a spare smartphone or tablet, or even an old one taking up space in the back of a drawer, you may forget to spend money and try to drill a straight hole.

A good selection of apps is available for Android users to repurpose their devices as security cameras capable of remotely updating you when intruders are detected.

Old webcams for smartphones: not new

Previously, we demonstrated how to create a network of security cameras from old smartphones. network of surveillance cameras from old smartphones. create a network of surveillance cameras from old smartphones. and it remains a great way to do it on a budget, whether your device is running Android, iOS, Windows Mobile (if you still have one of those older devices, there are still plenty of useful apps around) or Blackberry.

As long as there is a suitable application to convert your device into an IP camera, you can use it. This is also a great way, as the software you choose to view your webcams can be configured to alert you when motion is detected.

However, for a limited approach that does not require a central PC to manage channels and store images (potentially using up valuable hard disk space), Salient Eye is a strong alternative.

But hold on, this is not a webcam!

Salient Eye, available for free on Google Play (an iOS version is planned, see www.salient-eye.com for details), does not provide the usual IP camera functionality that is expected from security camera applications. Instead, the app takes photos and plays a fairly loud alarm when motion is detected. The images are then saved to your device and you can provide an email address or SMS number to send them.


Compatible with both Android smartphones and tablets, Salient Eye is also capable of low-power operation for up to 10 hours on your phone’s battery and remains active when the display is off. You can see in the image above where it detected the objects highlighted in red and distinguished them from the wall. Any change in these items and motion detection will raise an alarm and send an email.

Setting up a security camera for your smartphone with Salient Eye is very easy.

Creating a security camera for a smartphone with a distinct look


Launch the app to get started and immediately switch to screen » Settings» on the menu. Here you must set Disarm Password and choose which camera you want to use in the application. In the examples here, I used the front camera.

You must also add your address email in email settings, and if you want to receive SMS notifications, add the corresponding phone number to SMS settings . Please note that there are options to set notifications to disable networks low energy consumption and low battery charge . However, the most important thing here is setting event pages where your intruder’s images will be uploaded. Check the box and the page will be created automatically.

The Salient Eye video tutorial is also worth watching.

From the home screen, touch the email icon to set the app to send you email notifications of violators, and touch the camera lens icon in the center of the screen to activate the app. Please note that you have 30 seconds to clear the area by default, although this can be configured in the settings.

When the Salient Eye detects motion, it will beep and images of the intruder will be uploaded. With email or SMS notification enabled, you will receive a link to view images online, wherever you are. Pretty helpful!

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Salient Eye also has a remote access feature that allows you to check what’s happening from another device using the Salient Eye Security Remote app, also free.

In order to use remote access, you need to be logged into the same account you created on the first device (i.e. when you added the email on the settings screen), and this can be used to remotely turn on and view photos from Salient Eye, not rather than waiting for an email or SMS notification.

Other Smartphone Security Camera Apps

Salient Eye is a strong app, but it’s not the only option for those who have spare or older smartphones and are interested in home security. Others include:

AtHome Camera: Offers remote monitoring via 3G/4G or WiFi, features motion detection, two-way communication, scheduled recording, and multi-platform.

Smart Home Security WardenCam: This app offers most of the same features and is free, but its unique advantage is the use of cloud storage support, in particular Dropbox.

Security camera apps on smartphones have clearly evolved, and through the use of remote servers and cloud storage, they can prove to be extremely useful. Whether you’re using an old smartphone or have a spare wobble, if you need to keep an eye on a room, a pet, or a small person, then these apps warrant further study. And don’t forget that an old phone isn’t the only way to create a home video surveillance system. You can use the webcam collection connecting to a desktop PC or even a Raspberry Pi.

Have you tried any of these security camera apps? Perhaps you know the best option? Write to us in the comments.

Image Credits: Thief steals computer Via Shutterstock

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