Can I Use My Phone As a Dash Cam

by Terry Hu on April 14, 2022

Believe that everyone has one or several old smartphones at home. It is not that the mobile phone is broken. Maybe it is just that the mobile phone is stuck, which affects the daily use, so the old mobile phone is left aside. People facing these "useful old mobile phones" may doubt what to do with them? Some drivers proposed to convert old mobile phones into driving recorders so that they don't need to spend money on driving recorders. So is it really feasible to use these old mobile phones as dash cams? Is it the ingenuity of turning waste into treasure, or is it asking for trouble? That's a valid question. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of this alternative. Also, read about the required Apps, Costs, and Requirements. Using your smartphone as a dashcam is definitely an option, but it's not without its own set of problems.


The Requirements of Using a Phone As a Dash Cam

  1. A smartphone----First of all, you need a smartphone.
  1. Wide angle----In order to use your phone as a dash cam, you need to have an ultra-wide camera. If you don't have a phone with a wide field of view, you'll find it difficult to capture good footage. You may also want to reformat your phone and uninstall any unnecessary apps before using it as a dash camera.
  1. Capacitors----While an Android phone can be used as a dash cam, it can overheat when placed in a windshield, causing performance issues or even no video capture. Dedicated dash cameras are designed to handle the heat and are usually equipped with capacitors to resist overheating. You may also encounter limitations in the type of recording you can do with your phone. Some apps only allow you to record continuously for a limited period of time, which may be insufficient for long recordings.
  1. SD memory card----Purchasing a micro SD memory card for your phone will also make it easier to use as a dash cam. Not only will this let you store videos on the device, but you can also use it as a backup if your memory card starts running out. Also, a micro SD card with a class 10 memory is a must for dash cam use. A class 10 memory card will provide the necessary data input speed and ensure that your phone's dash cam app won't crash when recording. Make sure to charge your phone as often as possible so that the battery is always ready to capture the action.
    1. Set up the phone mount in your car. Don't leave your old phone mounted in your carwhen you leave. This should go without saying, but we'll say it anyway: Never leave a phone in a mount right on the windshield for passing thieves to see because that will lead to broken windows and stolen stuff. It can also just be an unsafe idea to leave a phone in a hot car because lithium batteries tend to explode when overheated. Instead, always remember to take your dash cam phone with you when you're done driving, or stow it away safely in your glove box.

  1. Power supply


Be Sure to Dive into the Dash Cam App Settings

How to do Continuous recording? Should start with the Car on and should stop when the car is turned off? So for this issue, you will require some software / App. First, download and install driving recorder software on your phone. 

App has various settings to solve your issues

Recording- It can record videos with High quality, Low Quality, HD.

Continuous recording can be done as per the time you select (for example 10 mins). After that new recording will start as a new file.

Start or Stop- It has an option for starting the recording when connected to the charger and Stopping recording when Charger is disconnected (option to stop after a specific time when the charger is disconnected. You can select 15 secs).

Voice- Enable or disable feature

Pics- Can capture pics as well with set interval (5 sec is minimum)

Store-You can also save clips on your SD card and store them on your phone.

Some other features include- Speed tracking and GPS Coordinates. Some apps even feature an alarm to remind you to start recording videos. This way, you can avoid accidentally recording something, or just driving by an accident without thinking about it. You can still be exploring other features in the app.

When it comes to the software, you have a lot of options. A popular dash cam app for Android is Drive Recorder. This app is free and works on Android 4.0 and above. It features multiple recording options, including auto-recording and repeating recording. It also has the ability to record in 1080p and save videos to cloud storage. It is open-source, so it's free to download. The software is intuitive and easy to use. The downside of Drive Recorder is that it requires an Android device that runs Android 4.0 or higher.

The AutoGuard dash cam app is another free option. Although it has some ads, it's ad-supported. The ad will be removed once the recording has finished. It also allows you to sync movies to YouTube. In addition to being free, this app can also run in the background like other apps, so you don't have to worry about having to keep it running alongside other programs.


The Cost of Using a Phone As a Dash Cam

Depending on what you're trying to record, a dash cam app will likely have a higher resolution than a dedicated dash cam. While a dedicated dash cam may cost a few hundred dollars, using your phone as a dash cam is significantly cheaper. Dash cam apps are generally free or cheap, but they require you to install them before each drive. Ultimately, the cost isn't prohibitive when you consider the benefits it brings.

However, the cost of using your phone as a dash cam depends on the quality of the dash cam app and the storage space of your phone. Some dash cam apps may not come with SD memory cards. Some of them may charge you a fee to store videos in the cloud or for additional safety or security services. These options may be less expensive than you think, but you'll have to pay for the cost of extra storage, as well as the initial set-up.


The Benefits and the Drawbacks of Using a Phone As a Dash Cam

If the mobile phone is used as a driving recorder, there is a huge problem, that is the heat very serious. One thing you have to keep in mind is most of the phone batteries are Li-ion which have a tendency to catch fire or explode quickly on heating up. Be cautious when you leave it out in the sun. Most of the dashcams sport small lipo batteries around 250mah where a phone has a much larger Li-ion battery. Use a phone as a dash cam, please remember to take off the battery if you driving for hours in scorching heat.

Nowadays, just about all smartphones lack a night vision mode, whereas many dashcams already bring this feature to the table right out of the box.

The sight of the phone is unclear, and the sight is still OK during the day. However, on roads with unsatisfactory lighting conditions at night, it is almost impossible to take pictures of the license plate ahead in the darkness.

As we all know, the driving recorder is a wide-angle recorder. When shooting, the breadth is much larger than that of a mobile phone. The wide-angle lens can provide a wider field of view. When shooting with a mobile phone, there are some blind spots and dead spots, and the picture captured by the lens is not as rich as the driving recorder.

The driving recorder with parking monitoring function will automatically lock the video once the car encounters a collision. This function is very important in special condition, but the smartphone does not have this function.

Compared with professional driving recorders, the bracket is sucked on the windshield by a suction cup, which is easy to fall off. And stick a phone to the windshield. Not only will it block part of the line of sight and affect the aesthetics, and illegal.

The only advantage of using an old mobile phone as a dash cam is that it can be recycled, which will be lower than the cost of purchasing a new dash cam.



To summarize, using a phone as a dash cam is happy. If it's once in a while or for an emergency, using a smartphone as a dashcam is OK. But in the long term, if you need to record all your daily commute, we would advise rather use a proper dashcam.

1 comment
by Gebrezgi hagos on April 16, 2024

My dash came has a problems. After the accident the card was not record. Even it is recorded hard to send to insurance company.


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