Use Your Old Smartphone for Home Security with ManyThing

When our beloved smartphones or tablets die, we are faced with deciding the fate of our old friend. The good news is that you have options. There's recycling for some cash, tossing it in a drawer, or letting your toddler use it as a chew toy. What if I told you that there is also another option. There is a way to keep your old Apple or even your Android mobile devices in use and your home safe at the same time. The technology that can make this happen is called ManyThing.

What is ManyThing?

ManyThing is an application that can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store or Google Play. In their own words, ManyThing's technology can,

“Turn your old smartphone into a video monitoring camera.”

How to use the ManyThing app?

To get started with ManyThing, you’ll first have to download the ManyThing app to your old and new device. The old device will act as your camera, the new device (a.k.a. the one you are always carrying around) will allow you to live stream footage and check-in on things from anywhere.

After downloading the app, you'll be able to create a free account using your email or your Facebook login. Once you've successfully logged into the app, it will show you a screen where you get to choose which devices you will use as a camera (old device) and which will be your viewer (new device).

How does ManyThing work?

Manything cameraThe app comes with two basic features for free: live streaming and motion detection.

The live streaming feature allows you to watch a streaming feed by tapping into your old phone's camera. While streaming, you can activate features such as two-way talk to speak to anyone nearby.

You can also set the ManyThing app to notify you whenever it detects motion. All you have to do is open the app, go to the “Camera Screen”, tap on the settings icon, and allow push notifications. Once done, you will receive push notifications whenever your camera senses motion.

If you're worried that you might get a lot of unnecessary notifications due to things like small movements, shadows, or really anything else unthreatening, ManyThing has two options to help you out. First, you can reduce its sensitivity. Within the app, you have the option to set sensitivity with one being the most sensitive and ten being the least. You can also set a Detection Zone. These are zones that are prone to movements, like the shadow of a tree that is being blown by the wind. You can mask these areas, so the app doesn't recognize movement that occurs within the set area. Both features are useful in reducing false alarms and thus notifications.

In the course of using ManyThing, you might notice that sometimes it sends pictures versus live videos. If you happen to notice that happening, you are not imagining things. ManyThing does that intentionally when your internet connection is too slow to send a video alert. It also happens when your camera’s battery is low. Considering that the app is free, these are pretty smart additions that should improve your user experience.

Does it cost anything?

Wait, did I say free? The app itself is free. However, it is also limited. For one, it doesn't include cloud storage space. You can watch live footage or receive motion alerts, but you won't be able to save clips to the cloud. Two, you can only use one camera device. If you want to add more cameras or if you want cloud storage, you're going to have to pay a monthly subscription fee.

You can choose from one of the following monthly plans.

 1 CameraUp to 2 CamerasUp to 5 Cameras
Videos stay in the cloud for 2 days$2.99/month$4.99/month$9.99/month
Videos stay in the cloud for 7 days$3.99/month$6.99/month$14.99/month
Videos stay in the cloud for 30 days$5.99/month$9.99/month$19.99/month

Take note that these prices only apply if you're paying online (via the Manything website) through PayPal. You have the option to purchase subscription plans in-app, but the prices there are a little higher due to premium fees that go to Apple and Google.

Finally, you can change your monthly plan anytime by logging into

I think ManyThing is a legitimate home security camera option that is relatively inexpensive and environmentally friendly. You can learn more on their website.