Setting up an iPad as a security camera is possible thanks to apps like Alfred, Manything, and Presence. The setup is very straightforward and requires only an iPad, an internet connection, and a separate smart device for monitoring.
Whether that’s setting up an impromptu baby monitor or another set of eyes on a section of your property, this method helps reuse your old devices and quickly put up cost-effective real-time surveillance.
So keep reading to learn how to implement this effectively.
Things to Know
- It’s possible to repurpose an old iPad into a fully-fledged security camera using apps such as Manything, Alfred, Presence, and BabyCam.
- The setup process is user-friendly and easy to understand. You simply download and configure the selected app.
- These apps offer features such as real-time surveillance, motion-triggered recording, push notifications, and two-way audio to name a few.
- For continued operation, you must mount the iPad in a secure location and provide constant power.
- On the flip side, you’ll lack night vision or the ability to install it outdoors due to weatherproofing concerns.
Turning Your iPad into a Security Camera
With many surveillance applications available, such as Presence, Manything, or Alfred, you can easily convert your iPad to a live-streaming security camera in just a few steps.
So to use your iPad as a security camera, you must:
- Download and install one of these apps to your iPad
- Set up the app on your iPad and separate monitoring device
- Position the iPad to record what you need
I’ll talk more about each of these steps in the sections that follow.
1. Downloading a Surveillance App to Your iPad
There are a ton of apps that allow you to utilize your iPad as a live-streaming camera. They are readily available in the App Store and can easily be downloaded onto your iPad.
Some of the best apps I’ve come across for this purpose are:
Each application has specific features that serve different user preferences.
For instance, Presence offers free motion detection alerts and 50MB of free cloud video storage. Alfred, on the other hand, is one of the few cross-platform solutions, and Manything allows setting up multiple devices.
Also, if you’re looking for a more long-term solution later on, make sure to check out my article on the best indoor security cameras without monthly subscriptions.
2. Setting Up Your iPad Security Camera and Monitoring Device
After downloading and installing an app, you need to set it up. This involves:
- Granting permission for it to access the camera (and microphone) on your iPad.
- Creating an account on their platform and logging in.
- Configuring the camera options and notifications according to your needs.
- Setting up the access options for the monitoring (viewer) device.
Usually, these apps come with easy-to-navigate settings and instructions that will help you set everything up without having to refer to an external guide.
Adjusting Camera Options
Depending on the app, you’ll have several camera options. Some common ones include:
- Switch between the front and back cameras
- Change recording mode between motion detection, continuous recording, and periodic snapshots
- Adjust motion sensitivity and motion detection zones
- Mute/Unmute the audio and carry out two-way communication
- Turn the flashlight on
- Reduce or increase the video quality
So adjust these settings depending on your requirements and security concerns.
Configuring Notifications and Multiple Devices
You can customize your app’s notifications to ensure you don’t miss any crucial alerts.
Most apps allow you to receive push notifications to your viewer device. Some even go out of their way to allow the option to send you notifications through email as well.
Setting Up the Viewer Device
Finally, to monitor the camera feed remotely, you will need to check the settings and instructions in the app to link your iPad to a separate smart device.
Depending on the app and its features, you can check the live view using your iPhone, iPad, or even an Android device.
Also, some apps may offer web access, enabling you to log in to their platform or a specific web address and check your footage from there.
3. Positioning the iPad
After setting up the app on your iPad, you can then position it to monitor and start recording what you need.
However, since this is an iPad and not an actual security camera, there are a few things you must note down:
- iPads (or similar smart devices) typically do not come with weatherproofing enclosures. So only set them up as indoor Wi-Fi security cameras in areas free from excessive dust, water, and direct sunlight.
- You can use iPad wall mounts, tripods, or suction cup-style mounts to secure the device while maximizing coverage.
- Reduce video quality and set up motion detection to minimize data consumption (if the iPad is live-streaming via cellular data).
- The battery can drain faster when it’s recording, so make sure you can easily charge the device whenever necessary or provide constant power.
- The iPad needs a strong Wi-Fi signal strength. If the signal is weak, consider setting up Wi-Fi extenders or an entire mesh system.
- Enable audio recording, two-way audio, and noise alerts on the surveillance app if you’re monitoring pets or a baby.
- As a backup measure, enable “Auto Answer Calls” in the accessibility settings of the iPad so you can immediately face-time the iPad. (In case the surveillance app doesn’t respond).
Troubleshooting Any Issues that Pop Up
If you experience a choppy video feed, the app doesn’t respond and the iPad doesn’t send you notifications, you will have to troubleshoot.
- For Issues with low connectivity: Consider upgrading your Wi-Fi system for an improved experience.
- If your app stops working: try rebooting the iPad or reinstalling the app.
- In case notifications aren’t popping up correctly: check your notification settings or reauthorize the app permissions.
- Any other Issues: Seek assistance from the app’s support team.
Also, check out this article for the best futureproof 5GHz Wi-Fi security cameras.
Using iPad As A Security Camera: Common Questions
What are the Advantages of Using an iPad or Smart Device Over a Security Camera?
- Inexpensive Alternative: An iPad or similar smart device can be an inexpensive alternative, especially if you’ve got one that’s lying around.
- Easy to Set Up: Setup is very basic: you only need to connect to a network, download the app, and configure the settings as required.
- Easy to Move Around: Provided you’ve got a secure and flexible mount, these devices are very easy to carry and move around.
- Storage and Power Options Already Covered: Smart devices already come with storage and battery power; so you won’t need to provide these separately.
What are the Drawbacks of This Method?
- iPads and many other smart devices are not outdoor-friendly; hence, you won’t be able to maintain these devices outdoors.
- Lacks night vision
- Needs to be charged using a phone charger or power brick continuously (depending on the settings)
- Cannot restart the device automatically (in case the app crashes)
Curious about how night vision works? Don’t forget to check out this article on how infrared night vision works in a security camera.
What are the Most Recommended Situations for Setting Up an iPad as a Security Camera?
- When you need to provide surveillance for a vulnerable entrance in an emergency (or when on a budget)
- As a makeshift baby monitor (with two-way audio)
- To monitor children, and pets and keep track of any valuables
- To record indoor activity stealthily (although, make sure you respect other people’s privacy and only record within your property)
Can I Use Other Smart Devices to Record or Live-View Footage?
You can use other smart devices, even Android smartphones, and tablets, as long as the surveillance app you have set up is compatible with other devices and platforms.
So when deciding on an app, make sure you note down cross-compatibility. Alfred Home Security is a good option for this.
An iPad or similar smart device can be a highly efficient and cost-effective option to set up extra surveillance in and around your home. You only have to download and configure a compatible surveillance app.
You can then use another smart device to check the live feed and even receive notifications for any alerts or events.
However, you’ll lack night vision and the water resistance provided by most security cameras, so be sure to use this setup indoors or only as a short-term fix.