There are many security cameras that will work with your iPhone, but only a select few support Apple’s HomeKit software. Security cameras account for 60 percent of all spending on smart home devices in the US. It’s hardly surprising that so many manufacturers are keen to get a slice of that growing market.
Most security cameras provide an app for iOS devices. Which allow you to control the camera and send notifications to your iPhone. Apple has been making a number of improvements to its HomeKit software.
The HomeKit software lives inside the Home app on your iPhone, iPad or Mac. It is designed to link smart devices so that they can work together. Instead of using two different apps you could use the Home app to link those devices together. So the lights automatically turn on when the camera sees someone. Just remember that both devices will need to support HomeKit in order to work together like that, so look out for the logo – it’ll look something like this:
Security Cameras Categories
With so many different options, it’s worth thinking about the particular features you need when choosing a new camera.
The resolution and image quality are obviously vitally important. Some of the more expensive cameras go up to 4K resolution. But they’ll cost £200 or more and buying three or four for your home or office. You should also make sure the camera has a night-vision mode for detecting movement in low-light conditions.
Most security cameras are designed for indoor use, so they’re not particularly sturdy, but manufacturers such as Netatmo and Arlo also make weather-resistant models that are designed for outdoor use, in locations such as gardens or car-parks. Other useful features include a speaker and microphone that will allow you to have a quick chat with the folks back home and a built-in siren or floodlight that can help to scare intruders away.
The cost of the cloud
One of the most important features to look out for is the cost of online cloud storage for the video clips that your camera records. The apps provided with most devices will allow you to view live video from your home. If the camera detects movement when your home is empty it will record a video clip and store that clip online. You can use it as evidence in the event of a crime being committed.
This is where things can get a bit complicated. Some cameras allow you to store short video clips – typically around 30 seconds each – on their online servers for up to one week without charging any fees. But if you want to record longer clips, and store them online for longer periods, then you’ll probably have to sign up for a subscription plan to pay for extra online storage.
All iCloud accounts include 5GB of online storage for free, but if you also have an iCloud subscription for an additional 200GB or 2TB storage then you will be able to store your security camera records in iCloud at no extra cost for up to 10 days – rather than paying an additional subscription to store them on servers provided by the camera’s own manufacturer.
For a wider look at the HomeKit options available right now, take a look at our roundup of the best smart home devices for HomeKit & HomePod.
Best HomeKit Security Cameras
- RRP: $179.99
Free storage: 24 hours
Subscription: from £3/$4 per month
Circle 2 is one of the most versatile HomeKit cameras currently available. There are actually two versions of the Circle 2 – called Wired and Wire-Free.
The wired model supports HomeKit. As the name suggests, it does require a wired power supply.
The camera itself is the same for both models, with 1920×1080 resolution and 180-degree viewing angle. The camera also has a night-vision mode, and a speaker and microphone so you can talk to the people back home via the smartphone app.
However, Logitech has indicated that it plans to support the new HomeKit Secure Video features that Apple is launching later this year. It provides an alternative to Logitech’s own subscription fees.
- RRP: From $250
Free storage: 7 days
Subscription: from £1.99/$2.99 per month
Arlo’s range of security cameras can be quite confusing at times, with portable and outdoor cameras. Even the top-of-the-range Arlo Ultra which provides 4K video recording and a matching top-of-the-range price. You should also keep an eye out for older models.
However, a good all-round option is the current Arlo Pro 2. It’s a little more expensive than many conventional security cameras. But that’s because the kit also includes a hub that connects to your home Wi-Fi router. The hub can control multiple cameras, as well as accessories such as the new Arlo Doorbell. The hub also includes an ear-splitting 100-decibel siren. As it can form the basis of a more extensive security system that covers your entire home.
Arlo’s HomeKit support means you can use automation in the Apple Home app to link the camera to other HomeKit devices.
Like most Arlo cameras, the Pro 2 provides free online storage for your video recordings for up to one week. But longer periods will require a monthly subscription. These start at £1.99/$2.99 per month for a single camera. But there are more expensive subscriptions that cover multiple cameras.
‘motion zones’ that focus the camera’s motion-detection features on specific areas such as doors or windows.
- RRP: $199.99
Free storage: via SD memory card (included), Dropbox, or FTP
This is slightly confusing, as Netatmo originally launched this as the ‘Welcome’ security camera a couple of years ago. However, the Netatmo website now refers to it as the Smart Indoor Camera – although the camera they sent us to test did still say Welcome on the box, and online retailers such as Amazon and Apple often refer to it as Welcome too.
It’s a little pricey, costing £199.99/$199.99, but Netatmo occasionally runs special offers with twin packs at discounted prices (although the company was a little vague about pricing and availability for these offers when we enquired).
The Smart Indoor Camera is part of a wider range of security products, including a weather-resistant Smart Outdoor Camera for £249.99/$299.99 (which also supports HomeKit). An Outdoor camera is a good option for monitoring locations such as gardens and car-parks, and it has a built-in floodlight that can help to scare away intruders. Netatmo also sells additional accessories that can work in conjunction with the Smart Indoor Camera, such as an alarm siren, and sensors to protect doors and windows, allowing you to build a more wide-ranging security system.
The hardware design of the Smart Indoor Camera is fairly straightforward, with 1920×1080 resolution and an infra-red night-vision mode. It runs off mains power, or you can use the included USB cable to provide power from a computer, but there’s no internal battery, which slightly limits your freedom when placing the camera around your home.
- RRP: $190
Free storage: 7 days
Subscription: from £1.99/$2.99 per month
The camera provides HD resolution (1920×1080), with an 8x digital zoom option. So you can zoom in and go “ah, bless” while they’re sleeping. The camera is designed to run off mains power. But it does have a small battery that lasts for about six hours, so you can move it around occasionally if you need to.
Other security-related features include a night-vision mode and a motion sensor, which can tell if the little nipper is trying to escape from their cot. The microphone and speaker can be used to talk to your children. But can also be set to listen out for crying babies and let you know if they need a little TLC.
There’s a built-in, multi-color night light that can be controlled from the Arlo app. Even a music player that has a number of pre-recorded lullabies and soothing nature sounds. It even includes an air sensor that allows you to monitor temperature and humidity in the baby’s room.
The Arlo app is well designed and easy to use. Arlo Baby also supports HomeKit. It has a helpful page on its website that explains how to use the camera with HomeKit and Siri.
Arlo also provides free online storage for your video recordings for one week. If you want to store your recordings for longer then you’ll need to sign up for a monthly subscription.
Security Cameras CONCLUSION:
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