How to Use Your iPhone as a Security Camera

Turn Your iPhone Into a Spy

Watch out! Who knows who or what is watching you with that seemingly unattended iPhone?
Watch out! Who knows who or what is watching you with that seemingly unattended iPhone?
Ethan Miller/Getty Images News/Getty Images and Joshua Blake/Photodisc/Getty Images

Again, it's difficult to argue that turning your iPhone into a security camera is a sensible move. Leaving it out to help protect items from theft makes about as much sense as building a scarecrow out of corn and earthworms. Yet maybe you have some nefarious scheme in mind to catch a roommate or spouse in the act of, say, putting the milk carton back empty -- or worse. Hey, you're the one looking to breach some trust. You have your reasons. Just don't blame us when iPhones are stolen or hearts are broken.

To carry this task out, you're going to need a jailbroken iPhone with the Cydia application and a computer with Veency viewer. Remember, if you jailbreak (or hack) your iPhone, you not only void your warranty and violate Apple's copyright; you potentially open your phone up to added security threats and risk ruining the gadget completely. To learn more about this process, read How to Jailbreak an iPhone.

Once you've jailbroken your iPhone and installed the Cydia app, you'll be able to download and install Veency iPhone VNC Server on it. VNC stands for virtual network computing, meaning this program helps you link your iPhone to your computer, allowing you to view your iPhone's display in a window on your desktop. See where this is going?

­Once you've installed the viewer on your computer, you can input your iPhone's IP address (found under the Wi-Fi section in settings). At this point, it's critical that you click "accept" on your iPhone to allow the VNC connection to take place. This means that there's no activating your phone remotely.

Now that you're viewing your iPhone's display on your computer, you can use an iPhone video recorder application such as Cycorder on your hacked iPhone. This turns your camera's 2.0 megapixel camera into a video camera. Once you've set this up, you should be able to observe the live video feed from your iPhone on your computer screen. With a networked iPhone and computer, you'll be able to turn the video camera on and off, as well as adjust settings, play music and do lots of other stuff. Naturally, the amount of video recorded is limited by the storage capacity of your iPhone (they generally boast 8 or 16 gigabytes).

Congratulations, you've turned your fancy phone into a lackluster webcam. Now you're ready to potentially destroy or lose your iPhone -- and possibly solve a few mysteries or invade some privacy along the way.

Explore the links below for even more interesting tidbits about iPhones.

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More Great Links


  • Colenso, Maria. "How to Jailbreak an iPhone." April 15, 2009 
  • "Cydia." (April 3, 2009)
  • Hardy, Brian. Big Nerd Ranch. E-mail interview. April 5, 2009.
  • Khoee, Ramtin. "IFoneHelper: iPhone and iPod Touch Security Camera." Nov. 29, 2008. (April 1, 2009)
  • Sauden, Erica. "Veency: VNC Server for iPhone." The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Sept. 18, 2008.