I live in an apartment and want to install security cameras. However, I want the cameras to be activated (ON) only when no one is at the home (or when I want it to be ON). I do not want it to monitor (and possibly broadcast) me.

I am sure this is a feature lot of other people would be interested in and the cameras might be providing this. I just do not know what to search for? Or what is this feature called?

  • I tried the Momentum camera and turning the power on-off. But turning that camera back on is very finicky. Sometimes it gets ON, sometime it just gets stuck. Sep 10 '19 at 0:57
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  • It's called closed-circuit television. but if you avoid anything that mentions "cloud" you should be fairly safe. getting them to record may require more effort though. this is probably a better question for superuser
    – Jasen
    Sep 11 '19 at 11:17

If you trust Amazon's security/privacy features, their CloudCams have a "geofence" feature that works in conjunction with the location service on your smartphone - it will turn the cams on when you're away from home, and off when you're back home. From their FAQ:

You can also set up Home/Away, a geo-fencing feature that automatically turns off Cloud Cam when your phone is in the same location and on again when it's not

They also have a scheduling feature that lets you schedule when the camera is active.

Note that this is not a "hard" off switch, so you're really relying on their software to do what it says. The only way to be sure would be to cut the power to the cameras.


There are likely cameras that have such a feature. But a simple solution is:

  • Use wired cameras, not WiFi
  • Connect all the cameras to one network switch. If you are using PoE then you are likely to do that anyway, unless you have other PoE devices such as VOIP phones.
  • Turn the "camera network switch" off/on as needed.

If the cameras have no substantial memory of their own, then you could actually leave the network switch "on" but disconnect it from the rest of the network. That would avoid any power-cycle issues as the cameras would not lose power, while still preventing broadcast to a recorder (whether local or in the cloud).


Or easier yet... Here's something that I've installed for a couple of my customers. You've probably seen the commercials for these. They are called "Ring". It's a doorbell with a camera in it. You connect it to your smart phone I don't remember if the door bell camera is activated by motion or just when someone rings the doorbell. It comes with an extra motion activated camera also. So if someone rings your doorbell (once again I'm not sure if the doorbell camera is motion also) or activates either motion the cameras will turn on and immediately notify you. You will be able to see them and talk to them through your phone. They have no idea if you're home or 1,000 miles away. I've rung the doorbell and was immediately greeted by my customer who was in San Diego. I live in Tucson. I think that it's around $200.00 for the doorbell/camera and a second camera. Super easy to set up and less than an hour to set up.

  • Ring is motion sensitive. This is where Youtube videos of package thieves come from. Sep 10 '19 at 20:10

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