If you're in the market for a dashboard camera, read this before you start shopping around.

Turn your old smartphone into a dashboard camera

by Andrew Segal 25th Oct 2016

Remember that old smartphone you stashed away in a draw never to be used again? Go and grab it, because it’s not as useless as you may have thought. What you have here is a device that can be transformed into a dashboard camera, which are becoming increasingly popular in cars in the UK. And it’s easy to see why. Having an on-going recording of your journey means you have video evidence should there be an incident that is disputed by either party.

So instead of splashing out on a new dashboard camera, this simple trick will save you a few quid. All you need is the old phone, a charging cable that can reach your car’s power outlet and a dashboard or window mount. Simply attach the mount, secure the phone and plug in the charger (this eliminates the prospect of the battery dying at a crucial moment!). Make sure the phone is at a good angle to capture the best view of the road ahead.

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Of course using your current phone is an option too, but it makes it impractical when you need to take or make a hands-free call.

Once you have all the hardware set up, the next step is to download the app to complete the transformation. There are plenty on the market to choose from so feel free to browse the appropriate app store for your device. To save you time, we’ve selected one each for Android and Apple.

Android: AutoBoy Dash Cam

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.happyconz.blackbox&hl=en_GB

Apple: DashCam

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/dashcam/id396087757?mt=8

As a word of caution, ensure you unplug the phone and take it with you when you leave the car. Firstly, this stops the device from over-heating if you are travelling long distances, and secondly it won’t encourage thieves to break into your car and take your phone that’s staring right at them (and any other items they may find!).

So despite the slight inconveniences, this a viable alternative to receiving all the benefits of a dashboard camera without spending money on a brand new device.