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This app will turn your old phone or tablet into a home security camera

Sometimes the urge to acquire new gadgets can leave old ones sitting and gathering dust, but the creators of an app called Manything – a portmanteau of 'monitor' and 'anything' – have come up with a creative solution for any such abandoned phones or tablets.

Manything claims to turn older devices into home security cameras to give you peace of mind while out and about. By installing the app and setting up the device, you can use it to keep an eye on your pets, or watch over your place of business, or anything else you can think of. That could save you having to buy your own wifi camera.

(If security and safety is on your mind, you might also want to take a look at our separate list of the best dash cams for your car.)

The company behind the app has recently updated it with a few new features, chief among which is 720p recording straight to the cloud. There’s also pinch-and-zoom functionality for zooming into live and recorded video to get a closer look at what’s going on, and a Date Picker feature that lets you zoom straight to your footage from a particular date in history.

A two-way talk feature is also available, allowing users to remotely issue commands to pets if they need to. There are also smart motion alerts, which send alerts to your device when the camera detects movement, and these can be set to different parameters and levels of sensitivity.

The app can also be set to record if triggered by motion or sound, shooting stills and even creating time lapses, although one thing the marketing spiel doesn’t mention is battery. The promo pictures all show devices unplugged and recording, but presumably they wouldn’t stay that way for long without a power source – especially if they’re older devices, whose batteries may not perform as once did.

You can get hold of the Manything app now on iOS or Google Play. The app itself free, although there are paid subscription plans that give you a little more functionality. Head to Manything’s website to get a closer look at what’s on offer.

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Best wifi camera: for home security and surveillance indoors and outdoors