How to Use Mobile as CCTV Camera Without Internet

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How to Use Mobile as CCTV Camera Without Internet

Many people have been looking for more affordable alternatives for home or office surveillance.

And one of the alternatives that have been gaining steady traction is the use of mobile phones as CCTV cameras without internet access. However, as with any subject that gets widespread attention, there has been a lot of misinformation about how exactly to use q mobile phone as CCTV without an internet connection.

This is why, in this article, we are going to answer questions about if it is possible in the first place to use mobile phones as CCTV without camera. And if so, how to go about it to get the best results.

Can You Use Mobile as CCTV Camera Without Internet

Yes, you can actually use your mobile phone as CCTV camera without internet. And you don’t need any complicated setup and IT knowledge to get it working. All you need is a smartphone that you are no longer using…as long as it’s got a working camera. And then a few other technical stuff that we will outline shortly.

Normally, you would need WIFI connection to set up your smartphone as CCTV camera. And it is this fact that has caused some of the misinformation about using phones without internet as a CCTV camera. But with the right tools and guide, you can also use your phone as a CCTV camera without internet access.

Caveats

1. One important thing you need to bear in mind is that using a mobile phone as a CCTV camera is not a permanent alternative to a proper CCTV system. At least it shouldn’t be.

You would need to have the phone camera turned on for the duration of its use as a CCTV camera. And doing this for prolonged periods will cause overheating and possible damage to the phone.

2. Another point you need to remember, which makes using your phone as a CCTV camera to ideally be a temporary solution, is that you would need lots of storage space on your phone for recording the video data from the camera feeds.

So, unless you are syncing your storage to cloud real-time, you can only use your phone for so long before it runs out of space.

For some of the apps used for this setup, recording usually comes as a premium feature. So, if you only wish to use the setup for live feeds without recording, you can use the free app versions without problems.

3. Furthermore, the CCTV camera phone needs to be connected permanently to a power source for it to stay powered on for the duration of its use.

Now, with all those caveats out of the way, let’s go right into setting up your phone as a CCTV camera without internet access.

Requirements

In this article, we are going to provide you with options for setting up Android and iOS phones as a CCTV camera without internet. And each of the options requires different configurations and applications.

Option 1 – IP Webcam App

Phone OS – Android

Features

  • Monitoring on web browser, VLC player, and other platforms
  • Optional cloud broadcasting available for instant global access
  • Two-way talk
  • Real-time video upload to Dropbox, SFTP, FTP, and Email
  • Motion detection
  • Date, time, and battery level display on monitor display
  • Baby monitor support including, night vision, motion detection, and sound detection

Option 2 – IP Camera Lite App 

Phone OS – iPhone

Features

  • Live camera feeds
  • Local storage
  • Simultaneous capture using the front and rear cameras if supported by the CCTV camera phone
  • 4k UHD resolution
  • IPv6 support

However, the following features are only available on the paid version:

  • 2-way talk
  • Recording
  • Motion detection
  • Mail notification
  • Cloud and FTP storage

The paid version of IP Camera Lite is IP Camera Pro.

We have included the publisher for each app because there are many apps on Play Store and App Store that try to copy these originals. You would do well to steer clear of them.

A Local Network

Even though you are not connecting to the internet for this setup, you will need a network connection for it to work. The network connection is required for the transmission of the video feed data from the CCTV camera phone to the monitoring phone.

You can use a phone hotspot for a small-to-medium range setup. But if the space you are monitoring is a large one, you would need a router or even WIFI extenders. The router does not need to have internet connection. It is already a local network by default.

The hotspot and router work for both Android and iOS phones.

How to Use Mobile as CCTV Camera Without Internet

We will provide the steps required for each of the options outlines above. This will help you choose what works best for you.

Option 1 – Using IP Webcam by Pavel Khlebovich

1. Using Android to Create CCTV – IP Webcam

Download and install IP Webcam on the CCTV camera phone from Google Play Store. Note that this app only works on Android devices.

Next, create a local network:

Because we are looking to set up CCTV without internet, we need to create a local network for the connected devices, that is, the CCTV camera phone and the monitoring phone. To create a local network, you simply need to use the hotspot feature on the CCTV camera phone (the phone you will use to capture the video vids).

It does not need internet connection. It will serve as the local server to which you must connect the monitoring phone before you can view the feeds.

That is:

  • On the CCTV camera phone, turn on the hotspot
  • On the monitoring phone, turn on the WIFI and connect to the hotspot of the camera phone.

Next, set up the CCTV connection

1. Launch IP Webcam app on the camera phone

2. You will see a page where you can make various configurations

3. Click on Local Broadcasting under Connection Settings

4. At Login/password, you can create login and password details for the connection. If you do not need this, leave it blank

5. Leave the Primary IP Address as IPv4

6. Leave the other settings on this page as they are, too.

7. Go back to the previous page and scroll down to Cloud Streaming

8. If you want to be able to monitor the camera from anywhere in the world, you can log in to enable the feature. However, you would need internet access for this, which defeats your aim here

9. Next click on Video Preferences and allow permission to access your phone camera

10. Click on Video Recording

On the Video Recording page, you can select how you want your video to be recorded using the options below:

  • Chunk size: this determines how to split continuously recorded videos. The default is 60 minutes. This means that the camera records for 60 minutes and then saves it as a file, then records the next 60 minutes and saves it as another file. And so on. You can choose your desired value in minutes
  • Cleanup: this automatically deletes older videos when storage left is less than a certain value. Here you can choose how much space should be kept free on your device
  • Another important setting here is Save Videos To. Here you decide the folder where you wish to save the video recordings on your phone
  • You may leave the rest of the options as default
  • Now, go back to the home screen, click on the More icon (3 vertical dots) at the top right of the screen and select Start Server to start recording
  • It will take 2 seconds to generate an HTTPS certificate and then request permission to your phone audio and storage
  • When the camera starts, two IP addresses will be displayed at the bottom of the screen; one HTTP and the other, HTTPS. Note them down.

Next, use Browser (PC or Phone) to Monitor Feeds From IP Webcam

1. Now, go to your monitoring phone and make sure that you are connected to the hotspot that you created on the camera phone. Make sure that it is the only active connection on your monitoring phone

2. Open the browser on the monitoring phone

3. Type in any of the IP addresses that you noted down from the camera phone. Be sure to type it in exactly as you see it, including the corresponding HTTP or HTTPS and click enter

4. On the page that opens, under Video Renderer, click on Browser and the video feeds will start displaying on the browser.

5. You can turn on 2-way audio under the video feed

6. If you used the HTTP IP address, you may not be able to use 2-way audio. You would need to enter the HTTPS address instead to use 2-way audio.

7. Next, scroll down to Renderer control and enter the name for the current recording. Then click on the record button to start recording the video feed to your phone

2. Using VLC Player to Monitor Feeds From IP Webcam

You can also view the video stream using VLC media player instead of a browser. And you can either do this on your phone or PC, too. But note that you will not be able to record the video feed using VLC player.

1. Simply download and install VLC media player on your phone or PC.

2. Launch VLC

3. Click on Media at the top left of the screen and select Open Network Stream from the menu. On PC, you can also click Ctrl + N to open this

4. On the page that opens, enter the IP address that you noted from the camera feed on the camera phone. But this time, you need to add /video at the end of the IP address. For example, https://192.169.12.123:8080/video.

This will tell VLC that you are accessing a video feed locally and not through the internet. If you do not add /video, VLC will search the internet for a website with that IP address.

5. If you use the HTTP option, you will be prompted to view and allow the certificate. Click on View Certificate and select Allow.

Option 2 – Using IP Camera Lite 

1. Go to your App Store and download IP Camera Lite on the CCTV camera phone

2. On the CCTV camera phone, turn on the hotspot and disconnect internet

3. On the monitoring phone, turn on the WIFI and connect to the hotspot of the camera phone.

4. Launch the IP Camera Lite app on the CCTV camera phone and click on the Menu button at the top right of the screen

5. Select Settings from the menu options

6. If you want to use security, you can create a username and password on this screen.

7. Here, you can also name the camera for easier identification if you will be creating more than one phone CCTV camera

8. Then, go back to the main menu and tap on Turn On IP Camera Server

9. Allow all requested permissions when prompted

10. Now, to obtain the IP address, you need to click on the Share icon at the top right of the camera server. Then take note of the provided LAN HTTP Address.

3. Using Browser to Monitor Feeds From IP Camera Lite or Pro

1. Open a browser on the monitoring phone, and enter the LAN HTTP Address followed by /video. For example, https://192.169.12.123:8080/video

2. The feeds from the CCTV camera phone will immediately start displaying on the browser.

To enjoy the full features of IP Camera, we recommend the Pro version where you can save the recording, enable 2-way talk, and so on.

Using VLC Player to Monitor Feeds From IP Camera Lite or Pro

1. Download and install VLC media player on your phone or PC.

2. Launch VLC

3. Click on Media at the top left of the screen and select Open Network Stream. On PC, you can also click Ctrl + N instead

4. On the page that opens, enter the IP address that you noted from the camera feed on the camera phone. But this time, you need to add /video at the end of the IP address. For example, https://192.169.12.123:8080/video.

This will tell VLC that you are accessing a video feed locally and not through the internet. If you do not add /video, VLC will search the internet for a website with that IP address.

5. If you use the HTTP option, you will be prompted to view and allow the certificate. Click on View Certificate and select Allow

Range Limitations:

In this setup for Android and iOS, we have used the hotspot on the CCTV camera phone as the local network connection.

This works just fine if the monitoring phone is within range of the hotspot on the CCTV camera phone. If you want to monitor from a wider range, you would need to use a router or a WIFI extender. The router or extender does not need to have internet access.

It is easy to create a new local network with no internet on your router, even if your current WIFI connection has internet access.

You can do that using the steps provided below. But if your current WIFI connection does not have internet access, then skip the steps below and just connect to it anyway.

To set up new local network:

1. Connect your PC to the router using an ethernet cable

2. Enter your router IP address into a web browser and click enter

Your router’s IP address is in the router’s manual. If you do not have access to the manual, please use the steps below to find your router’s IP address:

On Windows PC

1. Click the Windows button on your PC

2. Enter Control Panel and select it from the results

3. Select View Network Status under Network and Internet

4. Select the name of your connected WIFI network

5. Select Details in the window that pops up

6. The IP address for IPv4 Default Gateway is your router’s IP address

On Mac

1. Press Option and click the Wi-Fi icon in the Menu Bar together.

2. In the menu, your Wi-Fi router IP address will be listed under the Router.

or

1. Click the Apple Menu icon and select System Preferences

2. Select Network

3. Select WIFI

4. Select Advanced at the bottom right of the screen

5. Select the TCP/IP tab

6. At Router, you will see the router IP address

After opening the IP address on your router, log in with the admin username and password. Again, this detail is on the manual, but if you do not have the manual, please go to Router Passwords and search for the default admin credentials for your router.

1. Next, click on the Settings or Configuration tab on the router portal

2. Then, click on WLAN. If you have options like Basic and Advanced WLAN settings, click on WLAN Basic Settings

3. On the next page, you will see two SSIDs. One is turned on (which is the network that you are already connected to). The other is turned off.

4. Click on Edit next to the other SSID that is turned off.

5. You can change the username and password here. But make sure to click on the On button to turn it on.

6. Now you have created a new network that does not have access to the internet

7. Connect to the new WIFI on your camera phone and connect to the same on your monitoring phone

Points to Remember:

The CCTV camera phone and the monitoring phone must be connected to the same local network for you to be able to view the live feeds. You can either use the hotspot from the camera phone or use a WIFI connection that has no internet access.

If you are using PC to monitor, you must also connect the PC to the same network as the camera phone

  • The camera phone needs to be connected to constant power supply because of the power that the camera function consumes
  • Storage can soon become a problem. But if you do not mind not having several recordings and you want to only use the setup for live monitoring, then this setup is a great alternative to buying and installing expensive CCTV systems.
  • This setup may cause overheating and damage to the CCTV camera phone if used for prolonged hours.
Brady Klinger-Meyers is an experienced tech writer and marketer who currently writes for Techzillo as well as other popular sites like MakeUseOf. At Techzillo, he focuses on consumer technology in general with his interest being Android OS. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.

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