Can a Cellphone Detect a Hidden Camera?
Every few months, a story appears in the media about how someone used a hidden camera in an illegal or immoral way.
These stories help to raise awareness that there may be hidden cameras in hotel rooms, bathrooms, workplaces, or areas where you least expect them.
People who want to protect themselves from hidden cameras may want to use their cellphone to detect them.
If you are wondering if your cellphone can detect a hidden camera, the answer is yes, in multiple ways.
Hiding Places for Hidden Cameras
Before you use your phone to look for hidden cameras, it's good to identify common places that cameras are concealed, so that you are sure to check these areas. Some of the most frequent hiding places for hidden cameras are:
In smoke detectors and other electronic devices
Smoke detectors, DVRs, alarm clocks, etc., are all good places to hide a camera, because many cameras have LED lights that will blend in with the lights of the device. Also, most of these devices have some form of vents or openings that a camera can peep through.
Inside heating vents or air ducts
Heating or air conditioning vents and other duct work is a convenient place to hide a camera, since they have openings that a camera can see through, and yet most people don't notice or pay attention to these vents.
Many people wouldn't pay much attention to a pinhole in a wall, particularly if a room is a bit old, and one would normally expect to find old unfilled nail and screw holes.
Anywhere with a good viewpoint
Keep in mind that the person placing the camera wants a good view. Many cameras are placed up high, on top of a curtain rod, or in a light fixture or ceiling vent, so that there is a wide view of the space. If you are concerned about hidden cameras, consider what the optimal vantage point would be and look there. For example, stand in the shower and consider everything you can see from that position.
Ways to Use Your Phone to Detect Hidden Cameras
There are many ways your phone can help you detect hidden cameras, and each may be better in different circumstances.
Use your phone camera to ‘see’ infrared light
Hidden cameras often emit infrared light that is invisible to the naked eye. But the camera on your phone can see into the IR spectrum, and detect these light sources. Look around the room through your smart phone's camera to look for invisible IR lights.
Use your phone signal to detect electromagnetic interference
Make a phone call, and talk on the phone will moving slowly around the area you are scanning. A hidden camera will often emit electromagnetic signals that will cause audible interference when it is near your phone, so listen for localized static and interference on your call.
Use your phone's flashlight to search for hidden lenses
Darken the room you are scanning. Look closely for any small LED lights that may be indicative of a hidden camera. You can also use your phone's flashlight in a dark room and move it back and forth, from multiple angles, looking for light to reflect off of a hidden lens.
Use a hidden camera detecting app
If you want to spend a little money for more reliable results, there are a number of well-reviewed apps that will help you detect hidden cameras. These apps typically work by detecting electromagnetic interference, more reliably than simply listening for static on a phone call, and are available for iOS and Android phones.
Some also work by detecting infrared light, and the best hidden camera apps work with two or more methods, to increase their chances of detecting a hidden camera. Keep in mind that many stud-finding apps can also detect magnetic fields, and may help you detect a hidden camera in a pinch.
If you suspect that a hidden camera is being used to record you, your cellphone can be a fantastic aid to help you find the camera. Start by searching the most likely and probable areas, but consider that modern hidden cameras are tiny, and could be concealed anywhere. If you find a hidden camera, experts recommend first disabling it, and then contacting the authorities.
With these techniques, you can relax and feel assured that your privacy is secure in a hotel, Airbnb, or anywhere that you are worried about being spied upon.