Make an iOS se­cu­rity cam

Give your old iPhone a new pur­pose in your smart home with Many­thing

Mac Format - - APPLE SKILLS -

One key com­po­nent of the smart home is se­cu­rity, but it comes at a cost, par­tic­u­larly if you want to mon­i­tor more than one spot in your home.

But why spend hun­dreds of pounds on cam­eras when you’ve got the hard­ware ca­pa­bil­i­ties locked away in an old, unloved iPhone or iPad? Thanks to apps like Many­thing (many­thing.com), you can dust off your old de­vice and turn it into a smart se­cu­rity cam­era.

You’re not skimp­ing on fea­tures ei­ther – thanks to mo­tion-sen­si­tive record­ing, alerts and the abil­ity to view and ad­min­is­ter your cam­eras re­motely, Many­thing ri­vals the likes of the Ca­nary, Arlo Q and other smart se­cu­rity cam­eras. It en­ables you to con­nect up to five mo­bile de­vices for house-wide sur­veil­lance, plus ac­cess ad­vanced tools like op­er­at­ing Many­thing to a time- or lo­ca­tion-based sched­ule by in­te­grat­ing it with ifttt.com.

Sadly, like most home se­cu­rity sys­tems, Many­thing doesn’t of­fer all of its ser­vices for free, but its prices are com­pet­i­tive and flex­i­ble. The Ba­sic Free Plan in­cludes live stream­ing, mo­tion alerts and de­tec­tion zones with one cam­era only. To record footage so you can re­view it, you’ll need one of the paid-for plans, which re­quire two de­ci­sions: how many cam­eras you want to record (one, two or five) and how many days of footage to store in the cloud (two, seven or 30).

Many­thing’s prices range from £1.99 per month for two days’ record­ing on one cam­era, to £17.99 per month for 30 days of record­ing on up to five cam­eras – see bit.ly/2bmupYl to find your sweet spot. How­ever, don’t rush into a de­ci­sion; when you first in­stall the app, you get a free five-day trial of the full five-cam­era setup. The cheap­est op­tion is to sub­scribe through the web­site rather than the app, as the lat­ter adds a pre­mium of up to £1.50 de­pend­ing on the pack­age you choose.

Get started

Many­thing lets your old de­vices live on in a rel­e­vant, help­ful way

First, ver­ify your old iPhone is run­ning at least iOS 6.0, which is the min­i­mum re­quire­ment. That ba­si­cally means you’ll need at least an

iPhone 3GS, iPad 2 or fourth-gen­er­a­tion iPod touch to be able to use Many­thing. As­sum­ing your de­vice fits the bill, down­load Many­thing from the App Store, then open the app and tap ‘Sign up’ to cre­ate an ac­count. En­ter your email ad­dress and pro­vide a strong, unique pass­word, tap ‘Sign up’ again and you’ll be taken to Many­thing’s main menu.

Next, tap Cam­era to add the phone you’re us­ing to your Many­thing ac­count, and then grant the app ac­cess to the de­vice’s cam­era and mi­cro­phone when it prompts you for per­mis­sion to use them. The main screen will ap­pear, show­ing you what your phone’s cam­era can see. You’ll be prompted to press the big red but­ton that’s on the right or bot­tom of the screen (de­pend­ing on your de­vice’s cur­rent ori­en­ta­tion) to switch on the cam­era’s record­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

Af­ter do­ing all of this, the app will start to record video when­ever it de­tects mo­tion in front of the cam­era. (Note that a con­tin­ual record­ing op­tion is also avail­able in Many­thing’s set­tings). All record­ings are streamed or up­loaded (in the case of time-lapse record­ings) to the cloud, so make sure your de­vice has in­ter­net ac­cess wher­ever you de­cide to place it in or­der for this to hap­pen.

Po­si­tion your cam­era

Place­ment of your de­vice is, of course, cru­cial. First, it needs to be po­si­tioned next to a power source, so it can be per­ma­nently pow­ered from the mains – Many­thing will keep your phone awake while it’s run­ning, so you can’t af­ford to rely on bat­tery power for long. Sec­ond, your de­vice will need to be on its side so its cam­era shoots a land­scape view, as this pro­vides a wider field of vi­sion. Search eBay for ‘wide-an­gle iPhone lens’ to pur­chase a cheap lens (about £3) to widen this fur­ther. There’s a slight bow­ing of the pic­ture at the top and bot­tom with these lenses, but it doesn’t pre­vent you from see­ing what’s hap­pen­ing, and they should also work with iPad and iPod touch cam­eras too. The lens may ob­scure the cam­era’s flash, which could be an is­sue if you want night-time se­cu­rity.

Third, which cam­era should you use? Ide­ally the rear-fac­ing

Be­yond se­cu­rity, you could record your pet’s unat­tended an­tics to post on YouTube.

Search eBay for a range of in­ex­pen­sive ways to se­cure your iPhone or iPad to a spe­cific spot.

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