Free home se­cu­rity with old iOS de­vices

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Free (IAPs) From Many­thing Sys­tems Ltd, many­ Made for iPhone, iPad Needs iOS 8.0 or later The down­side of buy­ing new iPhones and iPads is that it’s easy to ac­cu­mu­late older de­vices — es­pe­cially if you don’t trade them in or gift to friends or fam­ily mem­bers. For­tu­nately, app de­vel­op­ers have come up with some clever ways to re­pur­pose dam­aged or un­wanted hard­ware.

One such app is Many­thing — the name is a mash–up of “mon­i­tor any­thing” — which trans­forms spare de­vices into home se­cu­rity cam­eras. As long as your de­vices run iOS 8.0 or later and have a work­ing cam­era, you’re in busi­ness. (The app can be used on older de­vices run­ning iOS 6 or iOS 7, but only if you in­stall on a newer de­vice first.)

Get­ting started is a snap: Reg­is­ter for an ac­count from the first de­vice (this can only be done within the app), then choose whether that hard­ware will be used as a Viewer or Cam­era. Re­peat the process by in­stalling the app on a second de­vice and log­ging in with the

same cre­den­tials. Then you’re ready to tap the red but­ton on the Cam­era de­vice, and a few sec­onds later the live stream ap­pears on the Viewer de­vice.

The app is free but lim­ited to live stream­ing from a sin­gle cam­era. That’s enough for in­fre­quent use or for par­ents with a new­born child, for ex­am­ple, but sub­scrip­tion plans (avail­able di­rect or via iTunes) add cloud record­ing start­ing at $3.99 per month, or up to five cam­eras for $25.99 a month; note that there’s no free trial for cloud record­ing.

We were im­pressed by the breadth of Many­thing’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Stand­alone se­cu­rity cam­era sys­tems are equipped with fea­tures like mo­tion or sound de­tec­tion and alerts, and th­ese are avail­able here as well. You can ad­just video stream­ing qual­ity, with sep­a­rate options for Wi-Fi and cel­lu­lar. (You def­i­nitely should, be­cause the de­fault Fair set­ting doesn’t look so great.)

De­tec­tion of­fers 10 lev­els of sen­si­tiv­ity with the op­tion to set up spe­cific zones to mon­i­tor, while alerts can be sent via push no­ti­fi­ca­tion, email, or both. In our tests, mo­tion de­tec­tion worked most re­li­ably when set to four or five, which trig­gered fewer false alerts.

The only real lim­i­ta­tion is that the app tends to be a bat­tery hog — af­ter all, iOS de­vices weren’t made for con­stant use, while se­cu­rity hard­ware is de­signed with this in mind. Many­thing shows a warn­ing when­ever the Cam­era is started while on bat­tery, and con­ve­niently dis­plays cur­rent de­vice bat­tery level while mon­i­tor­ing. Mount­ing a cam­era is also more of an is­sue with a smart­phone or tablet, es­pe­cially for out­door use; the de­vel­op­ers of­fer a va­ri­ety of com­pat­i­ble ac­ces­sories on their web­site, in­clud­ing a free print­able stand or sun shield.

Many­thing cam­eras can be mon­i­tored from mul­ti­ple Viewer de­vices at the same time, in­clud­ing web browsers. It’s worth not­ing that live stream ses­sions are saved to your ac­count for up to 30 days even with­out a sub­scrip­tion, which could be a pri­vacy con­cern for some users.

One de­vice is a cam­era, while other “Viewer” de­vices log in to mon­i­tor what’s go­ing on at home.

You’ll no longer have to won­der if your dog is tear­ing up the fur­ni­ture while you’re away from home with Many­thing.

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