How to use an old smartphone instead of a car recorder


The car recorder does not have to be a separate gadget. Below is a detailed instruction on how you can save on buying it and replace it with an old smartphone.

Detachable lens required

How to use an old smartphone instead of a car recorder

The disadvantage of a mobile phone camera is a small viewing angle. It will not be enough for full-fledged shooting of the traffic situation. A removable wide-angle lens can help improve the situation.

It is better to stop the choice on an accessory with a mount, so it is guaranteed not to fall off on a bump or when accidentally touched. The budget option is lenses with clothespins, their cost varies from 100 to 200 rubles. An expensive and solid choice – optics with thread, the price for it reaches 600 rubles. The picture quality will be better with lenses made of glass rather than plastic.

Before using it for the first time, it is important to securely attach the lens to the smartphone camera, making sure to center it. If the mount slides off the smooth glass and metal case, then a silicone case will help improve grip.

Smartphone holder

The DVR has a standard mount, in the case of a phone you will have to take care of it yourself. It is important to fix it firmly, but with the ability to adjust and center. When choosing a holder, you should give preference to models with the following characteristics:

  • compact size;
  • fewer hinges and fasteners;
  • quick removal / installation;
  • suitable mount (suction cups or double-sided tape).

It is not recommended to place the fixing device on the dashboard, most likely there will be glare from sunlight on the recording.

Install a dedicated app

There are tons of dash cam software options in the app store. They all have similar functions, below are the most popular ones.

Video recorder

The name of the app speaks for itself. It combines the functions of a recorder, navigator and radar detector. The program records in a cyclic mode (over the previously saved files), automatically turns on and off. The user chooses the storage location: local disk or cloud. A feature of the Video Recorder application is the ability to record the traffic situation in the background without activating the phone screen.


Another multifunctional application that combines two devices: a recorder and a radar detector. In addition to the presence of photofixing cameras, the program will notify the driver about speed limit signs, parking restrictions and others. When the vehicle starts moving, the program will automatically turn on and start recording. A useful feature is to adjust the exposure to minimize highlights.


This application is primarily a radar detector. But as an additional option, it has video recording and navigation. The Wearable Camera Database is updated weekly. When a paid subscription is made, such information will be sent to the phone in real time.


Simple and high-quality recorder without unnecessary functions. It works both horizontally and vertically, supports the accelerometer and detects a shock in case of an accident. In addition to video, he performs serial shooting, and also independently uploads the footage to YouTube.

Powered by cigarette lighter

A mobile phone that is constantly recording video consumes a lot of power and runs out of battery quickly. There is no need to rely on its regular battery. The cigarette lighter in the car and the adapter connected to it will serve as a permanent power source.

Since such a connection is created for the long term, all its elements must be of high quality. It is better to choose an adapter from a trusted company with a charging current of 2A. Since the power consumption will be high, such an adapter can not only keep the battery charged, but also charge it. It is better to take the cable with a magnetic connector, so it will be easier to remove it. And longer (2-3 meters), to lay over the windshield and hide under the glove compartment. Otherwise, the driver's view will be blocked by hanging wires.

Configuring video recording parameters

How to use an old smartphone instead of a car recorder

The capabilities of the smartphone and the selected application differ, but there are recommendations common to all devices:

  • do not choose the best picture quality (the best quality takes up more space);
  • activate the loop recording function and adjust the parameters;
  • disable automatic uploading of data to the cloud with a non-unlimited tariff on the SIM card;
  • enable stabilization to smooth out image jerking;
  • choose a convenient option to enable automatic recording.

It is important to experiment in advance with all the available options and carefully study the resulting video several times. This should be done in a calm environment: in a parking lot or in an unloaded section of the road.

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