A lot of people who are considering buying a Spy Camera want to know how they work before purchasing.

In this post I’ll tell you all you need to know about how Spy Cameras work, to help you make a decision!

Parts Of A Spy Camera

The vast majority of spy cameras nowadays are DVR (Digital Video Recorder). This means that all the parts of the spy camera are built into one unit.

The typical parts of a spy camera are:

1: The Camera
2: The Microphone
3: The Storage Device

The player (where you watch the spy cam footage) is typically external to the spy camera. In 90% of cases, you playback the footage on your PC or laptop – though with the right cables you can also watch on a TV or even a mobile phone.

Let’s take my spy watch camera as an example:

Spy camera watch parts

My Spy Watch Camera with the various parts annotated

My spy watch camera is a typical DVD spy camera. You can see that when you get a spy camera, you get all the parts you need.

In this case, my spy watch camera is self contained and has all the parts to record video and audio, and transfer the files to a PC, mobile phone or watch on a TV.

You obviously also get a USB cable, so that you can connect the DVR spy camera to your PC / laptop to transfer the files.

spy camera usb connected to pc

My spy watch camera connected to my laptop

The principle is the same for the vast majority of spy cameras. They all are built in with a camera, audio recorder and a USB connection cable so that you can easily transfer the files to your PC (laptop or desktop).

Just to illustrate the point, take a look at this water bottle spy camera below. Although a totally different spy camera, it is still a DVR – meaning all the parts are built into the camera itself.

As you can see, it contains the camera, microphone and a USB connection (with cable included) so you can transfer the files to your PC:

water bottle hidden spy camera

Body Worn And Static Spy Cameras

The first major difference between spy cameras is whether they are body worn or more static. As you can probably guess, my spy watch camera is a body worn spy camera – it is attached to the body for portable recording of spy footage.

This means you can capture covert footage in all sorts of situations at a moments notice, without any possibility of detection. It’s just important that you stand in the correct position to get optimum footage, and avoid detection.

Here’s an example of me showing a typical position to record covert footage using a Spy Watch camera:

folded arms watch cam recording

A good way to stand using a spy watch camera

Of course there are other body worn cameras that you can use for a simliar result. A popular body worn (or portable) spy camera is a spy pen camera.

Using this device, you can fix it to your body…Or remove it unobtrusively and record without anyone suspecting!

spy pen camera on shirt

A spy pen camera attached to shirt pocket

Using Your Spy Camera

Spy cameras are typically very easy to use. One thing you may want to know is how to remove the time and date stamp on a spy camera. This is a very common query, because many people become irritated by the obtrusive time date stamp.

My Youtube video explains everything you need to know about this:

If you need more information, check out our guide which gives you the exact format of the files you need to change.

Recording, charging the spy camera, transferring files to PC

This is probably very important to you. I’ve made a Youtube video showcasing the main features of my Spy Watch camera.

Whilst the method of operation is slightly different for each camera, you can get an idea of the quality of the footage and audio of DVR spy cameras by watching this video.

You’ll also see that they are generally very easy to use!

Body Worn Vs Fixed Position Spy Cameras

So far I’ve shown you body worn spy cameras only. Of course, there are a variety of fixed position spy cameras.

These are typically more suitable for home protection – perhaps in your bedroom (for example).

Here is an attractive example of a fixed postion spy camera. Like the DVR cameras I have already shown you, these spy cameras also contain all the parts within one unit.

alarm clock spy camera

You might use this example in your bedroom, alongside another spy camera for complete coverage of the entire room.

Have a look at our related post about the best spy cameras for home protection for more details.

Wifi And Motion Detection Remote Spy Cameras

Spy cameras can also be connected to your Wifi. The main advantage of this is that the footage can be recorded to the cloud, rather than a memory card contained within the spy camera.

They can also be controlled and viewed remotely! This means that you can view the footage, turn the camera off and on whilst you are not physically present (for example, when you are on holiday).

They can also even be set up to send you alerts if something significant happens. Since Wifi spy cameras are typically motion sensitive, they can alert you instantly if they are switched on – meaning you can contact the police and catch a potential burglar.

For a full guide on using Wifi Spy Cameras, check out our handy guide here:

Spy Cameras For Your Car!

Yes, there are even spy cameras that you can use inside your car! These spy cameras are known as Dash Cams, and are typically used to record “significant events”, such as a car accident.

The footage can then be used as evidence to prove who caused the crash. They are very useful in the case of dealing with the police, and can even be used to lower your car insurance costs.

Have a look at our complete guide to Dash Cams for more information.


I hope this guide has been helpful. It is intended to give you an introduction to Spy Cameras, to help you decide if you want to go ahead and purchase one.

As you can see, Spy Cameras come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are multi functional. You can use them to protect your home, record meetings, catch a burglar…Even record car crashes and lower your insurance costs.

The technology is advanced nowadays, so they are small, easy to set up, configure and use…And can even sync with your Wifi so you don’t need to be physically present to capture useful footage.

Have a look around the site if you want more information about how Spy Cameras work.

Until next time – happy spying!