Since the release of the first true “smartphone” with Apple’s iPhone in 2007, people have begun to take certain aspects of the technology for granted. Make no mistake – that wonderful little device you carry around with you in your pocket all day isn’t just a portable personal computer or a digital data assistant. When raw computing power is taken into consideration, it’s something that is literally millions of times more powerful than all of NASA’s combined computing in 1969 – the year men were first sent to the moon.
Turning Your Android Phone Into a Dash Cam

This has particularly interesting implications when it comes to pushing that smartphone beyond its original intentions. Case in point: If you happen to have an old Android phone laying around the house, you might want to think twice before chucking it into the garbage or sending it off to recycling heaven. With just a few quick modifications, you already have a perfectly good dash camera just waiting to be set up and installed in your car – you just need to keep a few key things in mind.

Turning Your Android Phone Into a Dash Cam: The Materials You Need

Regardless of the Android phone you use, there are a few key materials you need before you can get your brand new makeshift dash cam up and running. Beyond the phone itself, you’ll need a recording app – something that you can probably download for free in the Google Play Store right now.

You’ll also need some type of car window mount that fits the specific model of phone that you’re using, along with a USB car charger to make sure that you always have power when you need it the most.

When picking a recording application, make sure you get one with a “Retain” feature. This will allow you to easily save important footage while getting rid of the hours of worthless video that you’ll also be recording.

The Setup

Start by attaching your Android phone’s car mount to the dashboard or windshield of your car. Make sure it’s in a position where the phone’s camera (preferably the rear camera due to the higher recording resolution) will have a perfect view of the road ahead of you.

Insert your phone into the mount, plug your phone charger into both the phone and the power outlet in your car and open your recording app of choice.

Before you hit the road for the first time, take a few minutes to get to know the app you’ve chosen to download. While most recording apps offer the same basic features, the user interface will always be a little bit different. Every app has its own unique quirks – getting to know yours BEFORE you start driving will make sure that you’re prepared when the time is right.

Because you really don’t want to be messing around with a smartphone while you’re driving, configure your app to record and store a specific increment of footage – usually around 10 minutes should be good enough for most situations.

Once you’ve done that, all that is really left is to fire up the engine of your car and go for a ride. If you think you’re about to enter into a situation where that dash cam is needed, go ahead and hit the “Record” button. Then, do what most dash cam owners do – forget that the device is even there. If you should ever get into an accident, your powerful little smartphone will be by your side every step of the way.

This is just one of the many examples of ways that people repurpose old smartphones. Many also use them as centralized remotes for home entertainment centers, as a “hub” for smart home equipment and more. When you’re talking about a device that was never “just a phone” in the first place, it doesn’t make sense to get rid of something just because you’ve upgraded to a new model. Making and receiving calls was only about one-tenth of your smartphone’s full potential in the first place.