The Ultimate Guide to Recording CCTV Footage Across Different Platforms

Security is the main reason why we install security cameras. We have to make sure our houses and buildings are protected while we are away for long periods of time.

Thanks to the ever growing advancements in technology, recording your CCTV footage is made much easier.

You can record using different platforms such as your PC, Android phones, Mac computers, and iPhones. It requires different steps, but they can assure you of recording your CCTV footage as easily. No need to worry about your security anymore.

This article will discuss the different ways on how to record your CCTV footage using different platforms such as Windows, Android, Mac Computers and iPhones.

We will also discuss each platform’s pros and cons, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to record using your devices.

Various Ways on Recording CCTV Footage

There are a lot of ways using various devices in recording your CCTV footage. This article discusses these options in full for your information.

You can choose from your personal computer, Android smartphone, Mac computer, or your iPhone or iPad.

You just have to install the necessary apps and follow the instructions, then you are good to go.

Recording Using Your Personal Computer

Still The Best Way to Record CCTV Footages

You can use your spare PC or laptop to record CCTV footage and access it as soon as possible. This is the best way to record your CCTV footage and gain instant access on it as soon as you sit down in front of your computer and check those recordings while you are away. 

A lot of people and businesses use computers to monitor and record their CCTV footage for the longest time. You can also use your business laptop or PC if you are using it for your office or business establishment.

Pros And Cons of Recording Using Your Computer

One of the best things why using your computer is much better is that it is the most common way, so a lot of people know how to use it already.

It is also the cheapest way to record CCTV footage since you do not need to spend a lot on buying or subscribing to many specialized apps or tools online.

However, you must have a spare unit because the CCTV footage can eat up a lot of storage memory on your computer.

Make sure your computer has a lot of storage memory to handle the huge amounts of recordings. It is also recommended that you transfer all the other footage to empty the space on your computer to another storage device for reference.

The software that you will use should also be compatible with your computer specs for smoother workflow.

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Steps On How To Record CCTV Footage On Your PC

There are a lot of webcam softwares and apps available on the market nowadays, but iSpy is one of the most common softwares used in CCTV footage recording. iSpy works on Windows based PCs only (both x86 and 64 bit versions). It is also tested on Windows 7, 8, and 10.

However, it may not work on other variants supporting .Net v4 Framework. Your computer must have at least 2GB RAM and 200GB free hard disk space, which works well for four cameras recording simultaneously, in a 320 x 240 resolution.

First, you have to download iSpy and run the executable. You will need admin permissions to install, but there is no need to run iSpy after installing. The download size is 15MB, and it takes 40 seconds on ADSL connection, and much faster on other connections.

Next, install VLC for smoother playback of recordings, but it is not highly required. VLC, however, is preferred by most users, since you can also utilize its different features to playback on your videos more effortlessly.

If you have another video player, that will do too. As long as it works well, it is definitely okay.

Once installed, click “settings” then “storage” then “add” then click on “directory”. Create a new folder for CCTV footage, then choose the maximum size for your folder as well as number of days for videos to remain in the folder.

After selecting the folder, delete the default storage location so that the video recordings will be saved to your designated place.

Then, add a new camera by clicking on “add”, and then choose the type of camera you are going to add. Create a username and a corresponding password for the camera. Make sure that “RTSP” is selected, then “save network”.

Open a new browser and check if it works by logging in to the admin page. Login with the camera credentials to check if the camera works and if the system is enabled. A footage of your security camera will pop out of the screen.

Once your camera works, click “device config” then “system” then “net service” (click the globe icon), then double click on “RTSP” to check if it is enabled. Then go back to iSpy and click “scan network” then set the resolution of the camera.

Finally, complete the information about the camera on the window box after the resolution setting. Click “motion detection” to configure the motion sensor and choose the recording mode if desired. You can also choose the video size from the selection. Then go to “Storage” and click “enable”.

Installation is as easy as that!

Recording Using Your Android Phones

Another option that you can choose from in recording CCTV footage is through your phone. Some homeowners or business owners use this option because it is easy to access since we always have our phones with us.

IP Webcam Maximizes Your Phone Usage

Thanks to the wonders of technology, your smartphone can serve another purpose too. You can also use your Android smartphone to record CCTV footage from the security cameras.

It turns your phone into a network camera with multiple viewing options, depending on the app you are going to use. 

Generally, you can view the camera on any platform with VLC player or a web browser. You can also stream videos inside the WiFi network without Internet access. It is a very handy way to check your CCTV footage anywhere, anytime.

Pros And Cons Of Using Your Android Phone

Accessibility is one of its selling points. You can check the footage anytime, anywhere, without necessarily requiring you to sit down in front of a computer and check the footage there.

You can also check on your CCTV without Internet access, a feature offered by most apps.

On the other hand, once your phone is stolen, you cannot retrieve the videos back unless you have a backup. You can also encounter storage issues since CCTV footages are usually bulky in size.

Steps On How To Use IP Webcam On Your Phone

IP Webcam is one of the most recommended apps for surveillance on most smartphones, and it is very much easy to use.

First, connect both the computer and your smartphone to the same WiFi network. Install the IP Webcam app on your smartphone. Close all other camera apps to prevent conflicts on your phone.

Launch the app, scroll to the bottom and tap Start Server. The app will start the camera on your phone automatically and display a URL. Enter this URL on your computer browser and click Enter.

Select Video Renderer, then Browser. Below, select the Audio renderer then select HTML wav. Then check if the camera works.

You can record via your browser by pressing the red ‘Record’ button under the video. It saves CCTV footage as MP4 files. To ensure a smooth playback of your recordings, download and install VLC, then go to media > network stream > enter the URL from the app.

There is absolutely no need for your phone screen to be on, because it works even on phones that are locked.

Recording Using Your Mac Computer

SightHound Works Best For Your Mac

SightHound is the most preferred app for Mac users, though can be also used for Windows computers. You can choose from different licenses available, costing from zero dollars up to $250.

It offers a lot of features for your CCTV recordings, depending on what subscription plan you chose.

SightHound has a lot of advanced features for CCTVs such as Smart People, Vehicle, and Animal Detection, which is better than motion detection offered by most CCTVs.

Pros And Cons Of Recording Using Your Mac

SightHound offers seamless recordings from your CCTV to your Mac computer. It also supports recordings better. However, your computer might require more storage since most CCTV footage is bulky in storage.

Thus, it is not the best option if you also use the computer for other purposes, such as working or studying.

Steps On How To Setup and Install SightHound

Download SightHound from the website. Install, then follow all the prompts. Once the setup is finished, it will configure most cameras automatically. Alternatively, select your camera model from the list then enter the login info of your cameras.

Confirm if the video feed can be seen on your computer, then name the location of your camera. Click Finish, then the camera will be automatically analyzed.

You can set rules for your camera by clicking “edit rule”, “new rule”, or “delete rule”. You can select who gets detected, where they get detected, how long they get detected, and so on.

You can also set the storage limit to maximum capacity, since most CCTV footage requires large amounts of free space.

Recording Using Your iPhone

iPhones Can Be Great Alternatives Too

Similarly to Android smartphones, a lot of webcam apps are also popular on IOS. Some examples are EpocCam, Presence Video Camera, and PocketCam.

These can also be used on iPads and other Apple smartphones. Like its Android counterparts, these apps offer a lot of features beneficial for its users.

Pros And Cons Of Recording Using Your iPhones

Accessibility is one known advantage, meaning you can check it wherever, whenever. It can also detect and post motion detection videos and thumbnails to Twitter, as offered by some apps. Some apps are also free to use (EpocCam), while some offer subscriptions at low prices (Presence).

As always, storage can be a big issue, especially on phones in general. EpocCam has ads, which can be very annoying at times, but the Pro version is always available for about a dollar a month.

It is much better if you can use a spare phone or tablet lying around instead of using what you have to avoid crashes and lags affecting your phone’s overall performance.

Steps on How to Record On Your Phone Using EpocCam

For EpocCam, make sure both your phone and computer are on the same WiFi network. Download the EpocCam app, then install the drivers needed for your webcams by clicking “Install Anyway”.

Start the app on your phone and computer. The app automatically searches devices running EpocCam on the same WiFi network. You have to remember, however, that you can only use one device as a camera at a time.

Steps On How to Record Using Presence Video Camera App

For Presence, you have to download and install the app. Register a new user account, and leave your device plugged into a wall power. On your mobile app, select “this camera”. It is highly recommended and encouraged that you should not lock or turn off your device.

You can enable motion detection by using Modes in your camera Options, both locally and remotely. Modes can also be customized to toggle motion detection on and off across all cameras.

As default, the motion detection will be enabled when Away mode is selected and disabled when Home mode is selected.

Thoughts, Tips, and Personal Recommendations

Make Sure You Have Enough Storage

CCTV footage is naturally big and bulky in size. You have to make sure your PC or phone are capable enough of storing such files.

Maximize your storage by cleaning the cache, history, cookies, and unused apps and files on your browser or device.

Transfer footages into another hard drive for safekeeping so that new files will have space in your surveillance computer or smartphone.

Use A Spare Device For Recording Purposes

These CCTV recording apps work best when a dedicated device is used. You might encounter conflicts such as crashes and lags when used with your daily devices, and it can also affect your smartphone’s overall longevity and performance.

Storage issues are also a concern, especially in phones, so make sure spare devices have enough storage and capabilities to handle the tasks in CCTV recordings.

Check Which Device Works Best For You

Do not get swayed by other people’s opinions and trust your instincts. If you are more comfortable using a smartphone for your CCTV recordings, you may do so.

If you think watching and monitoring your security cameras would work more if you use a computer, do as you please.

It is very important that you feel comfortable on whatever device you use. At the end of the day, it is your security that is in question here so if you are more comfortable using one specific device, feel free to use it.

Check The Reviews On The Apps

You can also rely on checking the reviews left by other users of the apps you are considering to use at home in the Play Store or Apple Store.

Of course, some reviews are not to be trusted so you can also check online for YouTube videos of vloggers reviewing these apps.

Some apps, even though they are wildly popular among users, might not fit your personal preferences and requirements so it is okay if you choose an app with not a lot more reviews but the features are the ones you are more comfortable in using.

Personal Recommendations For CCTV Recordings

Personally, computers are better than phones. Most computers are compatible with more CCTV units and models.

Computers also have bigger storage capabilities and hardware makeup than phones so it will not cause much lags and crashes compared to smartphones.

Lastly, computers can also be used to be solely dedicated on surveillance which is a much easier thing to do than checking your smartphone every now and then, clashing with other background apps on your phone.


There are a lot of different ways on how to record your CCTV footage. You can use different platforms and apps suited for these platforms so that you can view the footage from your security cameras at your convenience.

Make sure your device has the capabilities to do this so that you will not encounter issues when it comes to the time when you need to review your footage the most.

If you’re enjoying this article then why not check out these related articles after finishing this one:

Should You Camouflage Security Cameras?

Dome Cameras vs Bullet Cameras – I Compared 10 – Here’s What I Found Out

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Is It Legal for Security Cameras to Record Sound – US State Covered

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Steve Foster

Suburbanite, tech geek, handy man, automation enthusiast who started blogging about the stuff I do around my home and found he had a knack for it.

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