Introduction: Free Security Camera, Pet Cam or Babysitter Camera

The other day I was curious if I could use my iPad as a pet cam to view my turtles remotely, while I was on vacation. I looked around to see if it was a function hidden within the iOS platform - no luck there. I know I could use Skype or FaceTime, if only the turtles could press to answer. It's possible that El-Ron could figure it out, he's a smart turtle. Anyways, I decided to search online and was directed to a few apps that promised what I was looking for. After a few bucks spent and discovering some solid rejects, I found just what I was searching for (plus more).
I finally found the app I wanted and much more. I realized that with its motion activated camera that I could also use this as a security cam. This was actually its intended purpose, and not necessarily a "turtle cam". Anyways, this is a pretty easy set-up and the most difficult part of the project was designing a "turtle cam" stand. I do not work for the company who's app I am using, or am I affiliated with them in any way. I'm just saving you time when you search for a similar experience.

Items Needed:

1 device with a camera and internet connection. 1 internet enabled device to view the cam. The Presence app.

Time Needed:

It really takes just a few minutes.

Skills Needed:

If you can download apps from your device, you are good to go.

Step 1: Pet Camera

I went ahead and built an iPod stand for my iPad Turtle Cam. I needed something to ensure that my iPad didn't fall and crack. There are a bunch of ways to keep your iPad standing and focused, but I thought I would go ahead and show you my own acrylic stand I built with a laser.

Let's get started.

Click the appropriate link to get the app.

iOS - iPhone & iPad


Web - Computer

Once you have downloaded the correct application, it's time to log in.

After picking a password and email account and logging in, choose the device roles. For my set-up it was iPad as a remote camera and my iPhone as the viewer.

I also selected to not have motion detection for my Turtle Cam. The are quite active and I don't want to receive motion alerts every 2 minutes. The motion detection is great for the Security Cam, though.

Plug in your Camera, open the app and click "Cameras & Devices". Select this mobile unit as "The Camera".

Now grab your iPhone (in my case), open the Presence app and select "Cameras & Devices", choose your "Remote Camera". It will now show you the Turtles, or whatever you have focused your camera at.

It's really that easy!

Step 2: Security Camera

I have used this app as a security cam, just to test it out. I leaned my iPad against the window facing the back yard before work one day. I failed to set the sensitivity of the motion sensor, so I got email alerts all day because the tree was moving in the wind. You will want to check the sensitivity for yourself when using this as a security cam.

The application will email you if any motion is detected based on your set parameters. The application will also record and save 50 mb of video with the free version. Mobile notifications are also available.

You can also set the ability to do a live recording with a press of a button. The video will be saved to the apps cloud service. Let's say you have the motion sensitivity turned off and notice the babysitter eating the rest of your bon-bons, hit record and you have the evidence you need to convince him/her to replace the eaten portion of your coveted snack.

So worth it!

Do I need to say it again? FREE!

I have also used my old Samsung phone as the security cam. It is much smaller, discreet and easy to conceal. You may want to obscure the screen so that the light does not give away the location of your spy camera.

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