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IP Camera turns your iPhone into a security cam

A new app turns your iPhone into a remotely-controlled camera that can be viewed over a local Internet connection.

CNET / Josh Lowensohn

The iPhone has many applications that let you view Web cams from around the world, but what about turning your phone into a remote camera of its own? A new app called IP Camera (warning: iTunes link) does just that. This $1.99 tool takes a photo from your iPhone's camera every 12 to 15 seconds, then posts it to a local Web page that can be accessed from other computers on the same network.

All that's needed for setup is to make sure your phone is on Wi-Fi, then to jot down the special local HTTP address it gives you. It will keep running until you quit the application manually or get a phone call; although like any good iPhone app it starts right back up when you're done with a call.

While there are very few bells and whistles, this app worked really well in my testing with an iPhone 3G. Although one big thing that's missing is a way to archive the photos it takes. You can temporarily stop its stream of photos, then save whichever one it's on, but it does not keep a "recents" on its Web page, or on your phone's camera roll.

I'd also like to see a way to change the frequency in which it takes photos, which could keep it from zapping too much juice if you're using it while disconnected from a power plug. And a way to run it with the display off would be nice too, since hitting the sleep button freezes the app into re-sending the same shot over and over again.

Tip: the iPod universal dock and iPhone 3G dock are both angled in such a way that makes it incredibly easy to perch your phone on a bookshelf or on top of a coworker's cube and get a great view. They'll never suspect you're watching their every move.

Related: DIY home surveillance with a Webcam

The IP Camera app turns your iPhone into a mini server, taking photos every 15 seconds and posting them almost-live to a Web page. CNET