Android character holding a screen showing a spy

I was researching the latest spy gear and I noticed a lot of interest in Android Spy Apps.

So here are the Best Free Android Spy Camera Apps.

The android spy camera apps fall into two distinct categories and I am going to look at each one in turn.

And finally….I am going to answer the big question:

Do I need to buy a spy camera or can I get away with just using my phone?

You might be surprised….these apps can do more than you think.

Android Spy Camera Apps that work directly on the phone

Single Android phone

So as these apps run locally on the phone you might think they will be very basic.

Wrong…..These apps are capable of doing some incredible tricks.

SVR – Secret Video Recorder

The first out of the bag is SVR and I have got to say I was taken aback by what this could do.

There are loads of options.

You can use the simple recorder, this allows you to start recording and lock the phone and it just carries on.

But that’s only the start of it.

You can create schedules so that it just kicks in and starts recording (for example 10 am every day).

It can also be linked to your cloud drive so even if the device got discovered you would still have the footage.

But it does something I never expected.

Allows you to start and stop recording via SMS.

You can configure the app so that if it receives an SMS message it will start recording and then stop.

From any number with any message.

screenshot of SMS options in SVR app

All the SMS options in SVR

For example “Honey are you home?” from your number starts the recording. “On my way home” stops the recording.

All backed up to your cloud drive.

Impressive.

But you’re thinking…..Ok..tell me the negatives

The ads are intrusive and constant. These can only be turned off with a paid subscription.

However, on the free version, there are a lot and you will be doing well if you don’t click on them.

Pop up advert on SVR app

Example of a pop up in SVR

Background Video Recorder

This is another very popular app, which in functionality is similar to SVR.

This one does have a lot more configuration options for camera settings such as white balance, exposure, and zoom.

Lots of camera options on the app Background Video Recorder

Lots of camera options

However…….if quality is your main concern then don’t use a free app, buy a proper spy camera.

Again, as with SVR there are a lot of adverts.

Hidden Spy Video Camera

When I started this app up I immediately took a dislike to the interface.

If pressed I would describe it as medieval themed but that doesn’t sound quite right so I’m going to say odd.

Screenshot of Hidden Spy Video Camera app

Medieval themed interface

The ever-present intrusive ads are across the MIDDLE of the screen…surely these would be better placed on the bottom.

Not many options other than record so not much to recommend this app.

Android Spy Camera Apps that utilise a second phone

Three old android phones

Android phones have been around since 2008, that’s 10 years. So like me, you probably have several old battered phones lying around the house gathering dust in the bottom of draws.

Doing nothing.

This range of apps aims to resurrect those old phones and re-provision them as spy cameras.

But will these apps run on my old phone – it’s really old?

This is the best part…….the developers of ALL the apps reviewed have taken this into consideration.

And the answer is yes…….which is great!!

IP Webcam

If the ability to configure every minute aspect of your spy camera is what you are after.

This is the app for you.

The list of configurations on this app is very impressive.

screenshot of IP Webcam app

An impressive number of configuration options

And it doesn’t stop there.

There is a feature that allows you to create and upload plugins.

So you’re only limited by your imagination.

Some of the very cool existing plugins include automatically emailing you once motion is detected.

This is a nice and quick alert if you are away from your phone.

Screenshot showing all the plugins for the IP Webcam app

All the existing plugins

As with a lot of these apps, everything can be saved on the cloud drive so if the devices get discovered and/or damaged you still have the footage.

This one also has night vision for that super convert footage.

Track view

So apparently not everyone is happy spending hours tinkering with their spy camera equipment.

Weird huh!

Some people just want something that is simple to set up and really easy to configure.

This app was designed for them.

Within the app on both phones, sign into your google account and……..you’re done.

Easy to use interface on Track view app

Simple configuration for Track View

It’s that easy.

And that’s not the best part…

This has a feature that will be really useful.

You can put this app on the slave phone and PIN lock it.

And then get alerts when it is moved to certain locations…..its called Geo-Fencing.

And it’s very useful.

Think of the teenager who wants to go out but is told not to go to the nightclub.

The phone moves to that nightclub……..you get alerted.

It also has full location history and again all uploaded to the cloud.

However it only works with a google account……so if you don’t have one or don’t want to create one then this might not be the app for you.

WardenCam

This app is very much like trackview, without the need for a Google account.

Easy to configure and you can use dropbox if you still want the cloud functionality without the google account.

Screenshot showing that WardenCam app can use both Dropbox and Google Drive

WardenCam can also use Dropbox

This app also lets you set up a live stream and give people access using their email address which is great for people who might need to view but don’t want the app.

Screenshot showing that WardenCam app can use email address to give access to live camera feeds

Conclusion

So what have we learned?

There is an incredible range of apps available.

Also, having zero budget doesn’t mean no spy camera action.

In fact the opposite……lots of options.

Whether it’s covertly recording a conversation or setting up a remote security camera.

These apps have something for you.

I was very impressed.

However…..

Let’s discuss the elephant in the room.

If you want to spy using these apps…..you might get caught.

The secret conversation with the phone on the table.

The phone left in a convenient spot.

They are all going to trigger people’s suspicions.

Not many would suspect a watch or a smoke alarm but phones cause people to get suspicious

You could hide it and put it on silent and schedule a recording etc.

But it might still ring, beep low battery………lots can go wrong.

And the apps themselves……..lots of adverts.

Also, these apps have flaws for one simple reason.

The underlying hardware isn’t designed for a spy camera so the apps try work to around this.

Which is never going to be as good.

If you have zero budget……fine….pick one of these great apps.

But if you can scrape together the money.

Get the real deal.

Everything will be better, the ease of use, the footage…the quality…..everything.

And less chance of detection.

Happy spying.