How to detect hidden camera?

“Hidden camera found in Chennai women’s hostel, police arrest owner …”

“Travelers found hidden camera in their Carnival Cruise bedroom”

You often read such news. With the commercialization and evolving nano technology cameras are getting smaller and cheaper. It is very easy for someone to plant hidden cameras and spy on you for various reasons. From teenagers to business man, everybody is victim of privacy invasion.

So how to detect hidden camera? There are various tricks that can save you from potential exposure to hidden cameras. In fact, you can use your android and iOS device to stay protected. Let’s see different tricks to find out hidden camera.

What are different types of hidden camera ?

There are 3 main types of hidden camera:

  1. Wired Camera
  2. Wireless Camera
  3. Infrared Camera

There are different techniques to detect different types of camera. The way we detect wired camera is totally different than the way we detect infrared camera. Let’s see step by step guide on how to detect these camera.

In many places hidden cameras are installed by premises owner in such a way that it is invisible to the victim. These cameras send image/ video data (could also be a live stream) through a wired network. These cameras could be connected to a display or memory units like hard disc/ memory card etc.

It is very difficult to detect hidden wired cameras, but thanks to “magnetic sensor” in all modern android and ios devices.

  1.  Download hidden camera detector app on android and ios device. Select “detect wired camera” or “magnetometer scanning” option.  If you see a message on your android device that “No magnetic sensor”, use different android device that has magnetic sensor. For ios, iphones and ipads have magnetic sensor for all of its versions.
  2.  Once you start to see numbers on the screen, app should say “No camera nearby” or “No camera detected”.
  3.  If app starts beeping with potential camera detected message without having any camera nearby, reset your magnetic sensor. Also check if there is any electronic device nearby like microwave oven or refrigerator.  Try to avoid electric influence as much as possible. App might give you false signal if it is influenced by electronic device other than camera.
  4.  Now once readings are stabilized and app is not beeping, find objects that you have suspect on like flower pot, bathroom mirror. etc (look for most Common Places for hidden Cameras section below) and move app closer to it, (around few cm’s or inches) and check if it is causes any spike in magnetic readings or if app started beeping.
  5.  If app is beeping then check for lens over that object. If suspect itself is electronic device like television, it could be a false signal. Sometimes electronic influence from electric wiring inside walls can interfere with the app providing false signal so always be thoughtful before making any decision. The best way is to check for lens around those suspects.
  6.  The other way to detect wired camera is to only detect lens. For that, turn off all lights, open torch and turn on camera of your phone. if you observe any reflection or glint, check for camera lens.
  7.  The last way is to turn off all the lights, if you see any red or white light blinking on any device, inspect more for that device. Sometimes camera comes with LED light indicator which you can easily detect with this technique.


Most Common Places for hidden Cameras 

• Smoke detectors
• Air filter equipment
• Wall decorations
• Electrical outlets
• Screws
• Fitness trackers
• Wall clocks
• Car keys
• Clothes hooks
• Alarm clocks
• Pens
• USB drives
• Charging plugs
• Power banks
• DVD cases
• Lava lamps
• Wall sockets
• Hairdryer holders

Wireless cameras are easy to detect as compared to wired cameras. These cameras use WiFi , Bluetooth of the premises or sometimes create own hotspot / WiFi Direct to send video /image data or live recordings. They are easy to install. With the little awareness, you can detect wireless cameras.

    1. Open hidden camera detector app or just open settings from your phone.
    2. Turn on WiFi and scan for near by devices.
    3. If you see any device name having same as below, be cautious and ask more information to the premises owner. ( 1080p, 720p, IP Cam, Cam, HD, Any name that has multiple “-“, Device name that seems to be a model number of device)
    4. Turn on Bluetooth and scan for nearby devices.
    5. If you see any suspicious Bluetooth devices like above, ask more information to the premises owner.

list of bluetooth devices

Note:  Initiate respectful and kind conversation with premises owner if you find any suspicious device. If you do not receive any helpful response then you can call authority.

Infrared cameras are also easy to detect. Mostly infrared cameras are used to record during night and low light environment. Also infrared are invisible to human eye.

There is a brilliant trick to detect infrared camera. You can use digital camera, your mobile phone’s camera to detect infrared lights. Even though infrared lights are invisible to human eye, those are captured by your phone camera and shown as visible white or blue light spot in the camera preview.

    1. Open hidden camera detector app and open detect infrared camera option, or just open camera of your phone,
    2. Scan 360° to check visible white/blue light which is visible in camera preview but invisible to naked eye.
    3. If you find any such light, check the source, it can be infrared camera.

Note: There could be many devices that may have infrared light, not necessarily a camera like reflection of phone’s own IR lights in the mirror or TV remote control.  So always check which device is emitting IR lights. If you see lens on device emitting IR lights, ask more information to premises owner.

Bonus : 2 Way Mirror test

Sometimes, especially in changing rooms, camera is placed behind the mirror. Such mirrors are 2 way mirrors that means you see your reflection in the mirror but person or camera behind the mirror can see you through the mirror as a transparent glass. It is very easy to find out 2 way mirrors. Just touch the mirror with your fingernail. For normal mirrors, there is always a gap between actual fingernail and its reflection. But in case of 2 way mirrors, there is no gap between actual fingernail and its reflection. So if you do NOT see any gap between the fingernail and its reflection, it can be a 2 way mirror

Is there any evidence above tricks work?

Yes,  there are many examples where people found hidden cameras with above tricks.

Chennai police have arrested 48-year-old Sampath Raj, owner of a women’s hostel in Aadambakkam, after they found that he had kept hidden cameras in several parts of the accommodation including the bathroom.

There were a total of six cameras set up around the house. The first one was found by a girl when she was using the bathroom. She kept trying to plug a hair dryer into the socket and realized that the plug wouldn’t go in. She became suspicious after following steps above and then dismantled it and saw that there was a hidden camera.

On a thorough check of the premises, police found two cameras hidden in light bulbs, two on hangers and behind curtains in bedrooms and two in the bathrooms.

This story has been covered by reputed TV channel Mirror Now and you can watch the complete story here.

With another example, we received this story from a corporate guy who tried to find out cameras in his cabin for fun hoping nothing will be there, actually found out IR snake camera.

It was not visible at all until he saw blue light in the camera preview and he wondered why he could not see it with his eyes. Upon checking he discovered IR camera installed for some bad intentions.

And yet another example, we received from ex-military person. He installed the app and scanned it around the places. App started beeping around some weird places and he found out listening devices in his house. Later on he found out it was placed by his ex-boss for having doubt on his for national security.

How to detect listening devices?

All the steps are same to detect listening devices. Hidden camera detector app can also detect listening devices as it can sense the magnetic activity.  The process to detect wireless listening devices is exactly same as process of detecting wireless camera.

However it is difficult to confirm listening device as it doesn’t have anything identifiable as it is lens in case of hidden cameras. But little awareness can be very useful.


Do Oyo rooms have hidden cameras?

There were some incidents where people reported hidden cameras installed in the Oyo rooms. But the fact is Oyo is just a hotel booking platform that facilitate users to find hotels and book rooms.

The hotel and its operations are managed by hotel management and not Oyo. Some of the hotels are engaged in such activities while it is also a responsibility of Oyo to tie up with legitimate hotels and have some precautionary measurements.

As a customer, it is always advisable that people should take charge on their own, be careful and always follow above steps to stay safe from hidden cameras. Not only that, incident reported by one customer saves hundreds of other customers.

With these simple steps you can save your self from hidden camera’s. Your awareness of surrounding is the key !.

Write down what you think. If you have any other fantastic way to detect hidden camera or just a story to share with people, comment below.

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