The feeling that you’re being watched is one of the most unsettling things in the world. When you’re at home, you want to believe that you’re in a safe space, but what if there’s a hidden camera behind your mirror or tucked away somewhere else that isn’t immediately obvious?
In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to find hidden cameras in your home in addition to common hiding spots for hidden cameras. We’ll also address the question of how long hidden cameras can record for, and whether a hidden camera needs an internet connection.
Armed with this information, you can vet your home and take the necessary steps to ensure that nobody’s watching you.
How Do You Know if There Is a Hidden Camera in the Room?
Whether you’re staying in an Airbnb or simply worried that somebody’s keeping tabs on your home, there are some common giveaways that a hidden camera could be recording you. However, it might not be as obvious as you expect. Camera technology is shrinking all the time, so it’s not very hard to discreetly disguise a recording device. If you’re not too familiar with recording technology, then you need to know exactly what it is you’re looking for.
Hidden Cameras: What To Look For
In this section, we’ll give you the most common things to look for when searching for hidden cameras in your home. We’ll also give you some practical tips on what to do if you think you’ve found a hidden recording device.
1. Start by carrying out an inspection: This can be a learning curve, as one hidden recording device may not look like another. Start by analyzing the layout of the room and asking yourself a couple of questions:
- Are there any signs that somebody else may have been in your home?
- Does anything appear to be out of place or repositioned?
- Are there any new items that weren’t there before, such as plants or boxes?
You should carefully examine any small objects that could be the perfect hiding place for hidden cameras. For example, you’ll want to examine houseplants, tissue boxes, lamps and other light fittings, and so on. You may also want to unscrew or detach power outlets, smoke detectors, air filters, and picture frames.
2. Use a flashlight to look more closely: It’s such a simple tool, but the flashlight on your cell phone could be enough to give the offender away. Camera lenses are highly reflective to light. So, kill the lights in your room and activate your flashlight. Carefully examine all of those hiding spots again, paying attention to any reflections. You could find something that you missed the first time around.
3. Scan for hidden cameras using your phone: If there’s a hidden camera nestled in your home and it has Wi-Fi capabilities, you might be in luck. Available on both iPhone and Android is an app called Fing, which can scan Wi-Fi networks for internet-enabled hidden cameras.
Start by disconnecting any of your personal devices that are using your Wi-Fi network. Next, you can follow the app’s instructions to scan the network and see what devices are using your internet connection. Hidden cameras may be listed as an “IP Camera” or may simply have a recognizable manufacturer, such as Arlo or Nest.
4. Consider a spy camera tool or app: If you still have your suspicions but you’re coming up empty, then consider trying a device that can detect hidden cameras. Typically, you’ll want a gadget that’s capable of picking up on radio frequency (RF) signal frequencies; these are fairly inexpensive and widely available on websites like Amazon.
If there’s a night vision camera hidden away in your home, you might be in luck, too. Android phones have a lot of options at their disposal on the Google Play Store, which work by detecting infrared rays used by night vision recording equipment.
5. Disconnect or cover up any devices you don’t recognize: If your suspicions are confirmed and you’ve come across an odd-looking device that you don’t recognize, don’t panic. If you can see the power source, then disconnect it immediately, assuming it’s safe to do so. Otherwise, cover the lens so that it can no longer record.
Hidden Cameras: What Not To Do
There are many steps you can take if you suspect a hidden camera, but there are also some things that you shouldn’t do:
- Don’t remove cameras in common areas: If you’re staying in a property that doesn’t belong to you and you spot cameras in common areas, don’t try to remove them. Typically, cameras are permitted in accommodation as long as they are positioned in general common spaces, listed in the advert, and visible. You could face eviction from the building or be charged for damages if you attempt to remove them.
- Don’t destroy property: If you think you’ve found a hidden camera behind a mirror for example, don’t try to remove the mirror yourself. Again, you could face damages, regardless of whether or not the property owner is secretly recording you. Instead, alert the relevant authorities or homeowners’ association and consider leaving the property until the issue is resolved.
Hidden Cameras: Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can a cell phone detect a hidden camera?
With the right app, it’s possible to detect hidden cameras in your home, but this’ll usually only work if the camera is night-vision enabled. You can also download an app like Fing on iPhone or Android to scan your Wi-Fi network for unknown devices.
2. How can you tell if there is a camera in a mirror?
Mirrors in the home are a common hiding place for recording equipment. Here are some quick tips on how to detect hidden cameras and listening devices in a mirror:
- There’s a quick way to work out whether you might be looking at a false mirror. Place your finger against the glass and angle your head so that you’re looking from the side. Ideally, your face should be just 5 to 10 centimeters from the glass and double that distance from your finger. Due to the opaque, reflective coating a typical mirror uses on the rear, you’ll see a noticeable gap between your finger and the reflected image. If there’s no gap, then you could be dealing with a false mirror that’s obscuring recording equipment.
- The second test isn’t always reliable, but it could help you to come to a conclusion. You’ll need a very powerful flashlight, and you’ll want to try shining it directly at the mirror from different angles in a pitch-black room. Wait until nightfall before following these steps. If it’s a false mirror that’s been placed in front of a hidden camera, your flashlight should produce unusual reflections or flashes of light as it reflects off the camera’s lens.
How Long Do Hidden Cameras Record?
Without a large storage device or power supply, some hidden cameras will only be able to store several hours’ worth of footage. However, technology is constantly improving, so we’re left with the question, how long do hidden cameras record for? There’s no single answer to this question, as it depends on a number of factors.
Most hidden cameras will be able to capture footage for around 1 to 5 hours before running out of power. That said, some cameras can be connected to AC power and function 24/7. Ultimately, the time that a hidden camera can remain functional comes down to its power supply and storage space. Bear in mind that hidden cameras powered by mains electricity but without much storage space could still be recording. However, it’s likely that as new footage is captured, older footage will be overwritten as that storage space runs out.
Do Hidden Cameras Need Wi-Fi?
Hidden cameras don’t need a Wi-Fi connection to be able to function properly. Some cameras do use a Wi-Fi connection, which is typically utilized to transmit footage from the camera to a PC, router, or smartphone. These are typically a bigger risk, as it means that whoever placed the camera will usually have faster and easier access to the recordings. If a camera isn’t using a Wi-Fi or hardwired internet connection, then it’s possible that recordings are being stored locally on the device itself or an SD card.
If you think somebody’s recording your movements at home with a hidden camera, don’t panic; instead, take practical steps to try and find hidden cameras in your home. Armed with your smartphone, a keen eye, and a flashlight, you can carry out some simple tests to detect hidden cameras and listening devices that could be tucked away.
If you suspect that somebody’s trying to record your movements and you can’t find any recording equipment, you might want to source professional assistance from an experienced investigator like Barefoot PI. Or, for more information on hidden cameras, check out the Resources page.