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How To Use An Old iPhone As A Dash Cam

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How To Use An Old iPhone As A Dash Cam

iPhone dash cam camera interior

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You can easily buy a reliable dash cam for under $100, but a higher-end unit that offers high-resolution video and audio recording and does not have limitations like built-in storage may be at least two or three more expensive. If you’re particularly frugal or want better features with minimal investment, you can utilize an old iPhone as a dash cam instead of tossing it. In this article, we will take you through how to use an old iPhone as a dash cam. If you have an Android phone instead, you can also check our guide on the best uses for an old Android phone.

There are plenty of reasons to install a dash cam in your vehicle. Whether it is to record an unfortunate accident or to capture something really funny or spooky, a dash cam can prove really useful for documenting things you would love to share with your friends or want to secure for legal reasons. The idea of using an old iPhone to record footage while driving isn’t new, and that’s why there are apps dedicated to this purpose.

Things you’ll need to turn an old iPhone into a dash cam

Plugging in iPhone car

think4photop/Shutterstock

Before we get started with how to use your old iPhone as a dash cam, we need to ensure you have all the resources required. Note that the biggest requirement is to have a functional iPhone. Don’t worry if the screen is cracked; it should work as long as the touch is responsive. If you don’t have an old iPhone handy, you can get an old and fully functional unit for under 50 bucks through some online retailers and third-party sales sites. 

While it is not necessary, it might be better to use an iPhone that still gets iOS updates, and you can check the most recent list of iPhones that will get the upcoming iOS 16 update. This will ensure that the iPhone is protected against any security vulnerabilities such as spyware, especially if you plan to use the iPhone with the same Apple ID as other devices.

Once you have the iPhone ready, it might be a good idea to get a car mount for the phone so it remains appropriately seated on the dashboard or the windshield of your vehicle. You will also need a spare USB-to-Lightning cable and a car charger because the constant video recording will suck a lot of juice from the old battery on your iPhone. Lastly, if you like to keep things tidy, you may also pick cable management clips to prevent them from dangling freely and obstructing your view.

iOS apps that turn old iPhones into dash cams

Person holding iPhone X in car

Evia_art/Shutterstock

Once you have the old iPhone and all the accessories handy, the first step is downloading an iOS app that lets you use the iPhone as a dash cam. There are various apps — both free and paid — that offer this functionality. Here are a few options for you to consider:

  • Driver: Dash Cam & Cloud Sync — Free and one of the highest-rated dash cam apps on the App Store with dual-camera mode, pedestrian detection alert, and roadside assistance (some features may require a subscription).

  • Smart Dash Cam — Free app that also allows you to record videos while the display is turned off and also upload them directly to cloud storage.

  • CamOnRoad Car Video Recorder — Free app with a built-in speedometer, alerts for speed traps, and free 2GB cloud storage.

  • Nexar – AI Dash Cam — Free app with certain paid features. Uses AI to detect sudden braking and collisions, even if they are not in the camera’s frame.

Once you choose an app, you can follow simple steps to get the setup running.

How to set up an old iPhone as a dash cam

iPhone mount recording car

Caddy Man/Shutterstock

Get started by choosing an ideal spot to place the car mount for the iPhone. If you use one that relies on a suction cup, make sure you place the holder in a spot that does not get too hot under direct sunlight as it may fall off due to heat. Another thing to note is that certain states in the U.S. prohibit vehicle owners from placing anything on the front windshield. So, just check the laws in your region before putting the car mount.

After you mount the iPhone, connect it to the charger using the Lightning cable, then open the app you downloaded. While options may vary per app, certain essential options will be present in each app. These may include the video quality, storage space utilization, and recording duration (including looped recording in certain apps). Once those options are set up, hit the record button to get your old-iPhone-turned-new-dash-cam on its feet. Make sure you either move recordings to another device or delete older recordings that you do not need. This will allow the old iPhone to continue working as a dash cam without issues with limited storage. While you utilize the new and economical gadget, there are a few things for you to note.

Things to know when using an old iPhone as a dash cam

Person using iPhone while driving

ARIMAG/Shutterstock

A few points will help you ensure that your attempt to save money by reusing an iPhone doesn’t turn into a painful loss. Firstly, take your iPhone off the mount whenever you step out of the car because it can be a free invitation for thieves to not only steal the iPhone but also invade your vehicle for other valuables. It is best to either take the iPhone with you or keep it securely in the glove box.

Secondly, as mentioned earlier, make sure the mount is placed at a spot in the car that is least affected by heat. Besides the sun, regular phone usage will generate a lot of heat, so make sure you take caution. Excessive heat, in general, can also lead to the malfunctioning of the iPhone and be detrimental to the battery, so it’s best to avoid it. Although it goes without saying, we still want to clarify that you must not fiddle with any wires or electrical components in the car without getting help from a professional. Avoid using DIY chargers or phone mounts at all costs, as it can be catastrophic.






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5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one

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5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one
Moto G22 face down on top of a wall



The Moto G22 on a wall.
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re looking for a new phone, a key consideration is always budget – you want to buy the best phone you can afford. But maybe, even if you’ve got the money for a premium device, you should still opt for a cheap phone.

“Wait,” you’re probably thinking, “are you asking me to spend less than I’m able on my new phone?”  Yes, I am – you’re absolutely right.

You see, despite budget phones being weaker than premium ones in quite a few ways (obviously), there are a few departments in which they actually beat top-end models.

So we’re going to run through some different areas in which cheap phones actually trump their pricier rivals. 

1. It costs less money

Okay, we’ve got to start with the really, really obvious point. A cheap phone is – you guessed it – cheaper than an expensive one.

If you spend less on your phone, you’ve got more to spend on the best power banks, phone cases, charging cables, and so on. Plus, you’ve got extra for non-smartphone things. Y’know: bills, food, transport, and so on.

Smartphones operate on the rule of diminishing returns: a $400 smartphone is not twice as good as a $200 one, and a $1,200 phone isn’t twice as good as a $600 version or four times better in any way than a $300 one.

So if you want the best bang for your buck, a budget mobile will get you there.

Moto G9 Power

The Moto G9 Power has a massive battery. (Image credit: Future)

2. Much better battery life

Phones don’t have great battery life sometimes: when you factor in features like 5G, high refresh rates, top-end processors, and so on, a giant battery can get worn down incredibly quickly.

But you know what cheap phones don’t have? That’s right – any of those features. If a phone is 4G-only, has a low-res screen, and only runs with a middling chipset, it uses the battery at a much slower rate. All of the longest-lasting smartphones are budget ones.

That’s doubly the case when you consider that cheap phone makers like to use huge batteries in their phones – plenty have 5,000mAh power packs. Motorola has even used 6,000mAh ones in some phones, and certain Chinese rugged phone brands have gone even higher.

If you want a long-lasting phone, you’ve got to opt for a cheap handset with fewer features. It also makes such devices reliable for more extended periods.

3. Hardier designs

Glass has become one of the most commonly-used materials for smartphones – it adds to a premium-feeling build and looks good from all angles. 

But you know what glass isn’t? Durable. It can easily smash from an impact like a drop. It’s also slippery, making glass phones harder to hold. Because of this, mid-range and premium phones are more susceptible to damage, even if brands slap silly marketing terms on them like ‘Gorilla Glass Victus’ or ‘Ceramic Shield’.

Cheap phone makers generally stay away from glass. This is mainly because of cost, but it’s beneficial for affordable phone fans because plastic is hardier.

A plastic phone is much more likely to survive a drop or hard knock, letting you avoid the experience of having to get your device repaired as often (or ever, hopefully).

Realme 9 Pro Plus

The Realme 9 Pro Plus has a cool-looking, yet plastic, rear. (Image credit: Future)

4. Cooler chipsets

Cheap phones often have cooler chipsets. No, we don’t mean ‘sunglasses and Tommy Bahama shirt cool’ – we mean temperature-wise.

Premium phones get top-end chipsets, which provide loads of processing power for tasks like games. An annoying side-effect of loads of power, though, is that these chips can get incredibly hot if you use them for long periods.

Counter-intuitively, this means that mid-range chips can be better for gaming if you like playing for extended amounts of time, and don’t need the most top-end graphics available to you.

As you can imagine, budget phones often have weaker internals, so they generally don’t have overheating issues, and are fine for gaming. Plus, in this day and age, you rarely find phones that are slow, even in the lower-cost market.

5. A bigger range of fingerprint scanners

There’s a trend in the premium phone market towards in-screen fingerprint scanners, where the sensor for unlocking your phone is embedded under the display.

This is a fine way of unlocking your device for some, but if you prefer a back- or side-mounted scanner, you’re mostly out of luck at the top end of the market.

That’s not the case for cheap phones, though: you’ll find those digit sensors all over the place in the lower end of the market. Some phones have them in-screen, others have them on one or both sides of the phone, while plenty have the scanner on the back.

So if you like tapping the rear of your phone to unlock it, or caressing the side of the device, instead of just tapping the screen, budget devices are, in fact, the best phones for you.

Tom Bedford

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design

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We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design
An Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 in white



(Image credit: Nicholas Lugo)

The Xbox Elite Series 2 wireless controller looks like it’s getting a brand new color variant with a White Edition.

The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 has so far only been available in its default black color scheme. But a short clip shared on Twitter (opens in new tab) by leaker Rebs Gaming shows off a new white edition in the flesh.

The clip starts by showing the premium Xbox Series X|S controller’s box. Next, we’re given a look at the controller itself, which wears a clean white-on-black coat.

All the usual Elite Controller bells and whistles are accounted for. That includes the carry case, swappable analog sticks and customizable back paddle buttons. It looks like the genuine article, though we’ve heard nothing from Microsoft to confirm if or when the pad will actually be released.

A sign of pads to come?

Leak: I think this is our first footage of the Xbox Elite Series 2 White Edition controller. A leaked image of the controller was shown by @IdleSloth84 back in March. Source: https://t.co/WfMCEk3FQv#Xbox #XboxOne #XboxSeriesX pic.twitter.com/t97qbaNPCuAugust 8, 2022

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Okay, sure, the White Edition isn’t exactly the most daring design Microsoft could’ve chosen for its Elite pad. But it’s nonetheless eye-catching. I think that keeping certain parts of the controller black – like the sticks and grips – is a smart aesthetic choice. They contrast really nicely with the white center.

The Elite Series 2 is an excellent controller. But it’s lacking the one thing that the regular Xbox Wireless Controller has in abundance: color options. We’ve seen countless bold designs for the standard Xbox controller, including an eye-popping special edition for Forza Horizon 5 and a stunning hot pink design. But the Elite hasn’t really had the same treatment yet.

I hope that this new White Edition not only comes to market, but that it’s also a gateway for more ambitious designs for Xbox’s top pad. Seriously, a purple Elite pad would be an instant buy for me, and probably for many others, too.

Rhys Wood

Rhys is Hardware Writer for TechRadar Gaming, and while relatively fresh to the role, he’s been writing in a professional capacity for years. A Media, Writing and Production graduate, Rhys has prior experience creating written content for app developers, IT firms, toy sellers and the main TechRadar site. His true passions, though, lie in video games, TV, audio and home entertainment. When Rhys isn’t on the clock, you’ll usually find him logged into Final Fantasy 14, Halo Infinite or Sea of Thieves.

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Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back

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Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back

Here come some new challengers. At the end of EVO 2022’s Street Fighter V tournament, Capcom revealed two more characters coming to the roster of Street Fighter 6: Juri, the “I can fix her” returning fighter, and newcomer Kimberly, an ‘80s-obsessed teen.

Kimberly, the spunky new ninja, and Juri, the sadistic thrill-seeker, join #StreetFighter6 when it arrives in 2023! Spray cans, a portable cassette player, and motorcyles have never looked more fresh. ️ pic.twitter.com/Lnw87p27aP

— Street Fighter (@StreetFighter) August 8, 2022

Student of Guy and successor to the bushinryu tradition, Kimberly is spunky and colorful with an affinity for spray painting her enemies midmatch. Though Kimberly is a teenager and Street Fighter 6 seems to be set in the current day, she’s enamored with all things ‘80s, carrying around a cassette player that some younger players probably won’t even recognize.

It’s like Capcom is aware that, in addition to its younger audience, there’s a certain subset of older Street Fighter players rising from their creaking knees and aching back looking at the ‘80s with fondness. In that way, Kimberly is a send-up, a reminder of simpler times. In other ways, she’s a very rude reminder that those happy days are so far behind us now that current teenagers are adopting the aesthetic because it’s quaintly “retro.” Thanks, Capcom, for reminding me I’m old.

Accompanying Kimberly in the character reveal is Juri, a character first introduced in Street Fighter IV. Juri arrives in flashy style with an homage to the Akira slide that’s been having a moment lately, as it was also used to awesome effect in Jordan Peele’s Nope. Juri seems a bit edgier than Kimberly, stomping all over her enemies in bare feet emphasized in ways that would make Bob Odenkirk click “like.” It’s always neat when companies seemingly embrace the thirst players have for its characters.

We’ll get the chance to see more of Juri and Kimberly’s stories when Street Fighter 6 launches on Xbox, PC, and PlayStation in 2023.

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