How To Watch My Security Camera On My Phone (Android & iPhone)

Whether you like checking in on your home when you are away or if you need to receive alerts when something suspicious is going on, a phone security camera that lets you watch live video on your phone is a great feature. A lot of security cameras already come with these features and we go through how to use them and activate them below.

Quick summary of steps we’ll cover:

  • Check your camera’s manual to see if it can be linked
  • Identify the app needed, download and install the app to your mobile phone
  • Launch the surveillance app and add your security camera(s)
  • Click the security camera(s) link to your cell phone and enjoy live viewing and set custom surveillance configurations like motion detection mode, upload path, alert frequency, and others to meet your specific surveillance monitoring needs.

Now, we’re going to talk about these steps in a bit more detail. 

Check your camera’s manual to see if it can be linked


Not all security cameras can be linked to a phone. CCTV cameras are less likely to be easily linked to a smartphone. However, most modern IP cameras have a dedicated app that you can set up quite easily. If your camera has an app via which you can connect your phone to the camera, there will probably be a section dedicated to this feature in the manual included with the camera. You may also need to verify if the app is compatible with the operating system on your phone. (1)

It is possible that your camera manufacturer does not have an app for your operating system. Depending on whether you have an iPhone, an Android phone, a Windows Phone, a Blackberry, or a unique type of smartphone, you will need the app to be available on iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry OS, or some other operating system appropriate for your phone. Most IP cameras are compatible with iOS and Android. 

Identify the app needed

If your camera can be connected to your phone, it won’t be difficult to find the app. You will find the name of the app in the manual. Alternatively, you can search the name of the manufacturer in your AppStore or Play Store, as the name of these apps usually includes the name of the manufacturer. Lastly, you can visit the manufacturer’s website, you will likely find a link to the app there.

Some phone apps for the most common models include:

Download and Install the app to your mobile phone

download app

It shouldn’t take a lot of time to download the app. Most security camera apps take up less than 200 MBs. However, the app might take up more space later after you sign up and start storing data. There are also some third-party apps that support cameras from different manufacturers. (Note android has had some security issues lately so be careful which app you use looking at a number of downloads and ratings to make sure it’s secure and not a backdoor) (2)

If you don’t find the app from the manufacturer suitable for you, you can download these third-party apps and use these apps alongside the app from the manufacturer. Third-party apps may also allow you to control cameras from different manufacturers via the same app; a feature you won’t find in a manufacturer’s app. Lastly, third-party apps might be better designed than manufacturer’s apps due to competitive market pressures.

Launch the surveillance app and add your security camera(s)

launch app

Usually, you have to create a user account and then sign in. Once signed in, there are many different features you can access. We can’t go through these features here since different models and apps offer different things. However, a commonality among these apps is the ability to monitor multiple screens and set up alerts for specific functions. Be sure to read the manual and see what functions your device offers.

Click the security camera(s) linked to your cell phone and enjoy live viewing

phone securityapp

These apps are usually quite intuitive and it won’t take you a lot of time to find your way around them. Once your app is set up and your cameras are connected, the app will allow you to view live footage from your camera.

Set custom surveillance configurations like motion detection mode, upload path, alerts frequency, and others to meet your specific surveillance monitoring needs

A lot of cameras have additional features that can be accessed and controlled through the app. You can turn these features on or off remotely from your phone using the app. 

Other options

cctv wall

You can also choose where and how the camera stores recorded footage and captured pictures. You can configure notifications, whether and when to turn on night vision, whether to compress the footage or to store raw footage, among other options on your phone.

Features to Look Out For

seccam at home

Wired vs Wireless

It is important that a camera gets enough power and stays on in order for you to rely on it to give you footage of a certain event. Wired cameras are easy to use because you don’t have to recharge them. However, WiFi cameras are much easier to set up than wired cameras and usually offer much more features.

Battery Life

The most important feature you want in your camera to enjoy superior remote viewing is good battery life. There are three categories of cameras that run on batteries. Those that need to be charged directly, those that have a replaceable battery, and those that charge using solar power.

Cameras that charge directly either need to be disconnected in order to be charged or you have to bring an extension cord to the camera. Cameras with replaceable batteries are easier to charge because you only need to take out the battery and charge the battery. You can also replace it with another battery while you charge the first one. Solar power wireless cameras do not need to be charged at all. It keeps charging via the energy from the sun.

Here’s a good read on how long do wireless security camera batteries last.

Infrared Night Vision

Most security cameras have infrared night vision. You may want to check the best night vision security cameras in the market nowadays. As a rule of thumb, the more individual infrared bulbs a camera has, the better and farther it will see at night. The ability of the camera to capture and process footage from the infrared sensor matters too. The only way to judge the night video footage quality of a camera is to witness its function in the dark.

You might also want to get a camera whose infrared light is not visible at night. Some infrared bulbs in the camera also emit red light when they’re on, revealing the location of the camera.

Easy App Navigation

The more intuitive the app is, the easier it will be to use the features of the camera. Check if the app is well developed before you buy a camera.

Seamless Phone Connectivity

The camera must be able to seamlessly transmit the data it captures, or it’s no good. Place the camera at different distances from the WiFi router and the phone to see how well it works. Try placing the camera behind walls, too, since there will be more space between the camera and the WiFi router when you mount it.

Secure Sign In

The app and the camera should allow you and only you to view the footage. If anyone can connect to your camera by simply downloading the app, it’s not secure.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage allows you to view your footage any time from anywhere. Some cameras offer limited cloud storage for free. Whether you get a camera with free cloud storage or you choose to subscribe to a plan, do consider cloud storage.

Continuous Live Streaming

Cameras that run on a battery only turn on when motion is detected. Only wired cameras allow you to stream live 24/7. If that’s something you want, get a camera that runs on AC power so you can live stream directly via the app.

Motion Detection

If your camera has a motion detector, the app will send you an alert when someone approaches your door. This means you only have to view the live stream when something is happening at your door. 

2-Way Talk

Two-way talk allows you to converse with anyone at your door. Make sure the camera and the app have this feature.

(1) operating system –
(2) third-party apps –

About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gJohn Fox has worked as a security consultant for over 20 years. During his time in the industry, he's learned about what it takes to ensure your home and family are always safe.

With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it with others to help them figure out how to make the right choices for their businesses and families.

John writes tips and guides to prevent crimes, as well as product recommendations, and tips for what to do in case of an emergency and how to protect yourself at all times.