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How to Turn Your Apple Gear Into a Custom Security System

There’s something about video surveillance that makes you feel safer. Whether you’re a homeowner, business owner, or just a conscientious citizen, video security solutions have been shown to prevent crime, track down criminals, and provide peace of mind. But the last thing you probably want to do is run wires and learn another piece of new technology. What if you don’t have to, though?

Two Ways to Develop Your Very Own Apple Security System
If you’ve purchased an Apple product in the past three or four years, then the chances are pretty good that it has a camera embedded into it (and possibly multiple cameras). Whether it’s an iMac, MacBook, iPad, iPhone, or even an iPod Touch, cameras are pretty much a standard feature. And while you probably use these cameras for the occasional video conference with work colleagues or FaceTime with family, what’s stopping you from leveraging them for security purposes?

It’s not as crazy as you think. Even in the security industry, there’s been a rise in the popularity of DIY video surveillance. As the marketplace becomes more familiar with surveillance technology and individual devices become more intuitive, consumers are more comfortable than ever with the idea of building their own security systems. So what’s stopping you from utilizing your existing Apple devices to keep an eye on your property? Here are some ideas:

1) Use SecuritySpy With Your Mac
If you’ve got an old Mac lying around – or are willing to buy one online – you can turn it into a security system with very little cost or effort. You can either use the camera that’s built in, or if you need a better angle, you can purchase a cheap USB camera and feed it to the Mac.

The next step is to download software like SecuritySpy, which starts at just $50 for a single-camera license. This guide will walk you through the specifics of getting it set up, but you can completely customize your settings so that the camera records what you want, when you want, and how you want. Video can then be saved directly to the cloud for easy access.

2) Simply Use FaceTime
Maybe you don’t feel like buying another software program and learning how to use it. Good news! There are other options that are much easier.

As long as you have an Apple device with a front facing camera at home, you can utilize it as a security camera wherever you are. Here’s how it works:

  • Set your home Apple device up to automatically accept FaceTime calls from your iPhone (or whatever Apple device you primarily use when you’re away from the house).
  • Orient your home Apple device so that it provides the appropriate coverage. (Such as in the corner of the living room where it can see the front door, hallway, and kitchen.)
  • Whenever you want to check in on your house and see what’s happening, simply make a FaceTime call and the camera will automatically activate. When you’re done, just hang up and the camera will shut off.

There are obviously limitations to this approach (no automatic detection), but it’s free and easy – so who’s complaining?

Keep an Eye on Your House
If you want perfect, high-resolution video that’s motion-activated and always recording, it might make sense to invest in a higher-end solution. However, you don’t need a sophisticated system to keep an occasional eye on your home or office while you’re gone. With a little ingenuity and the right Apple products, anything is possible. Explore your options and see which ones work best for you.

Also Read: Safe & Green: Repurpose an Old iPhone as a Home Security Camera 

Anna Johansson
the authorAnna Johansson
Contributing Author
Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant. A columnist for,, and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.
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  • Hi, thanks for sharing, this sounds like a great piece of software however im running a mac OS 10.12.6 would there be a download suitable for this system ?

  • Hi there, can we still do that with the latest updates? I can’t find the auto-answer settings now…

  • Be sure to save your video to the cloud so you can later watch the thief spotting your open laptop sitting out in plain sight, breaking in, and stealing it. :D

  • Funny. I have an old Macbook. We have two dogs one of which was a “bad dog!” in the middle of the night. Forgot what the software I used but was able to set up the camera to come on when Neo, out late loving dog, did his “business” and played a recording of “BAD DOG!”. Scared that poor dog but he was good from them on.

  • This sounds wonderfully creative! We need security surveillance something fierce at my home. We tried a couple options uneventfully. It was a huge mess. This is a great

  • Hi… VLC works good too.
    And if you have a fourth generation Apple TV…There are several CCTV apps that work quite well for free.

    • “several CCTV apps that work quite well for free.”
      Any you can recommend?

      • VLC works the best for me…Easy CCTV works pretty well also…WebCam HQ Does pretty well…All of them seem to Freeze and hang up after about an hour.

        VLC seems to clear itself the best… John