What would we do without our smartphones? We eat, breathe, and sleep with them. What was once a device simply used to make phone calls has become a cultural icon, if not a crutch — itís a way to entertain, educate, and connect. And whatever stigma there is surrounding smartphones as a source of distraction (which it can be…especially when you find yourself beating level 213 of Candy Crush) smartphones have a lot of useful applications.
Today, we can even use our iPhones, Androids, and tablets to help us keep our homes safe and secure. There are hundreds of apps available for home security which are easy to use, sometimes free, and most importantly, allow us to protect our home and loved ones while we are on the go.
Whether you need to keep an eye out on your mischievous puppy, check that your kids have made it home from school safely, or make sure there are no intruders in your home, these top ten home security apps have got your back.
Features: Connects to existing security systems
Alarm.com allows users to connect to their already-existing home security system, such as ADT or Guardian, so they can monitor and control their home from their phone. By downloading this app, users get real-time alerts on their phone if there is any movement in their home or security breach from your alarm system. With Alarm.com, you can manage your energy use, watch video streaming from your video cameras, and interact with your security system — all on your phone. Alarm.com requires a compatible security system and is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones.
Price: Device is $149 with free app
Features: Innovative system with climate sensors
Canary replaces your outdated, bulky and confusing security systems with a small, sleek and inexpensive device. The Canary app lets you track your home’s motion, temperature, sound, activity, even air quality from your phone. To use the free app, you first have to buy the Canary home security device. This device is equipped with an HD camera with nightvision, a microphone, motion sensors and climate sensors. The price may seem steep compared to other free apps, but the security system that comes along with it is one of the newest and most innovative systems on the market and is currently offering pre-orders on the devices.
Features: Home computer becomes your surveillance camera
iScentry turns your home computersí web camera into a surveillance system. You simply point your camera towards an area in your home you want to monitor and when there is motion, the app notifies you on your phone. This free app enables you to snap photos from the video stream, and also get live video feed of the selected room. The app works well with any web camera. I used this app when I was crate-training my dog and was able to watch him from my phone and make sure he didnít escape the crate when I left home. It also works great to prevent and sensor home invasions.
Features: Security for home computer
Security Camera helps protect your home computer from identity theft and keeps track of everyone who has used the computer. The way Security Camera works is it takes a silent and time-stamped snapshot of everyone who is on your computer, stores one photo on the computer and one photo in DropBox. That way, if someone breaks into your computer, you can have an image of that intruder. This app also works great for your childrenís protection and makes sure they are not using the family computer when they are not supposed to. Itís very simple to setup and easy to use.
Price: Camera is $149 with free app
Features: Camera is linked to phone
To work this free app, you must first buy a Dropcam camera and then link it to any of your devices such as your iPhone or iPad. The setup takes about 60 seconds or less. Once activated, the video stream can be sent directly to your phone, or can be recorded and saved for later viewing. Dropcam is equipped with two-way sound, so you can talk to people in the room, distract or scare away burglars, welcome home your family, or calm down your barking dog. It has digital zoom so you can focus on one part of the room. You can also share your video stream with your friends, and vice-versa, so you all can look out for one another.
Price: Device starts at $199 with free app
Features: Sleek design for home automation
With the free Vivint app, which is available for iPhones, iPads, Androids, Blackberrys, you can monitor all your home security systems on the go. The app enables you to lock your doors, set your thermostat, and turn your lights on or off while on vacation or at work. It only works with Vivint home security products, so it does run a bit more expensive than Canary and Dropcam. However, it automates your home, so you can control and monitor every security system in your home, including door locks, appliances, lights and even thermostat.
Features: Connect home computer with phone
The AtHome app, much like iScentry, turns your home computer into a surveillance camera, and is very well-designed and easy to use. To activate this app, you first download the AtHome Camera Free (the app with the orange house icon) on your smartphone or tablet, and then the AtHome Video Streamer (the app with the blue house icon) on your computer, or other device at home. When the at-home device detects motion, a 30-second video will automatically be recorded and sent to your phone. Also, users can access the camera at all times of the day.
Features: Turn old devices into new security units
Presence is a home security app that puts a new function to old, forgotten smartphones and devices. The app captures video feeds and triggers alarms when motion is detected and can be used on several devices. Presence helps protect you from a false alarm because it automatically sends you a video when motion is detected within the home.
Features: Access webcam feed over Wi-Fi
iCam allows users to connect to live video and audio feeds from home. You can connect up to 12 (if iPhone, iPod touch, or Android) to 16 (if iPad) devices to home cameras and view them all at the same time. You use the iCamSource, a free computer app, to stream your webcam videos and audio to your iCam app on your phone. iCam is very similar to Presence or AtHome but allows for more devices to be connected.
Price: Camera is $79 with free app
iSmartAlarm does not just look pretty, but it also functions great. Users first must purchase the WiFi camera (which costs $79) and then download the free app on their iPhone or iPad. When the system is activated, it will send alerts with screenshots to the connected app via text, email or phone call. If you do get an alert that a visitor is in your home, you can either ignore the alert or notify the police. Another great function of the app is that you can control the movement of the camera by swiping your finger across the screen. The best part is that there are no monthly or subscription fees.
All these apps place the control of home security right into your hands. Long gone are the days where we either risked not having home security, or had expensive, bulky and confusing systems. Interactive, DIY and inexpensive home security can be in your home today simply by downloading an app. For more home security and safety tips check out securitychoice.com/20-tips-for-home-safety.html.