If you have a bunch of cameras from different manufacturers and brands, then it might be convenient to use an IP camera viewer app to view and control everything through the phone.
Using an app on your Android smartphone or tablet, you can see the live feed from the cameras, playback, group the cameras accordingly, get certain notifications and adjust other settings.
The only requirement is that all your IP cameras, regardless of the manufacturer, should support the ONVIF protocol, or the RTSP/MJPEG stream. These protocols allow third-party software to access the camera’s resources and transmit the data to the respective apps.
In this guide, we will show a few free apps that can be used on Android smartphones and tablets. They come with various features and functions and will make it easier for you to control all your security cameras via one app.
- tinyCAM Monitor
- IP Cam Viewer Pro
The Best IP Camera Viewer Apps for Android Devices
From our experience, tinyCam Monitor is the best Android app for viewing ONVIF cameras. It has various basic and advanced functions that can help you thoroughly utilize the camera, has an intuitive interface, and is beautifully designed.
Moreover, the app is reliable, fast, and responsive. We’ve been using this app for a few years on various Android phones (and tablets) and there was never any major issue. The cameras show up just fine and in their proper quality.
The app can detect and support more than ten thousand different camera models and brands. It uses ONVIF protocol, RTSP streaming, etc, and can live stream the video feed without any lag.
Also, the app offers a multi-window split camera view which means that you can view multiple cameras on the screen combined in various configurations. The screen will auto-rotate in horizontal or vertical mode. A sample of what the cameras look like in the app is shown below.
The tinyCam Monitor comes in two versions, the free one with limited features and the paid pro version. The basic one may work just fine if you’re looking for something simple.
However, the paid version offers more additional features and options that may give you an edge in your home or business security.
Moreover, the paid version is around $5 and it’s a one-time payment. That’s not a bad deal at all. You can use this app to see the live view of your cameras around your property, keep an eye on your kids, playback, utilize the motion detection feature, etc.
⦿ Reliable and responsive
⦿ Supports thousands IP camera models
⦿ Pro version is affordable
⦿ One-time payment
⦿ Optional cloud recording
⦿ Motion and Face Detection
⦿ Web server built-in
⦿ No too many advanced functions such as line crossing or intrusive detection
IP Cam Viewer Pro
This app is another solution for viewing your mixed cameras on an Android device. However, the app’s interface and layout are lacking when compared to our favorite tinyCAM.
Overall, it feels like the look of the app is left a few years behind. But, does it matter after all? The app does what is designed to do, shows the camera’s feed, playback, and runs smoothly.
The cameras are easy to add and the app supports both ONVIF and RTSP streaming. Moreover, the app can automatically detect and configure over 1800 cameras regardless of the model and brand. You can even add NVRs or DVRs.
The app comes in two versions; the free one is ad-supported and has limited features; the paid pro version one shows no ads and has all the available features.
⦿ Support a wide variety of camera models
⦿ Motion Detection
⦿ Good price (one-time purchase)
⦿ Web server support
⦿ Outdated interface
⦿ Some issues with the in-camera motion detection
⦿ Lacks advanced features
ONVIF IP Camera Monitor (Onvier)
This app is not very popular when compared to the previous ones listed here, but still works decently and does its job. The interface is passable, not good but not bad either, and easy to use.
The app supports just basic functions but lacks advanced features such as two-way audio, web server, Home Automation, etc.
The app comes in two versions; the ad-supported one and the paid pro version that has more features. Overall, we may say that the app is reliable and doesn’t lag. Still, not too many features are available.
⦿ Easy to use app
⦿ Support a wide variety of cameras
⦿ The pro version comes at great value (one-time purchase)
⦿ Basic user interface
⦿ Basic motion detection
⦿ No advanced features
Comparing the features between these 3 apps
IP Cam Viewer Pro
Yes, plus Face Detection, Notifications
Yes, plus Notifications
SD, FTP, NAS, Cloud
SD, FTP, Cloud
Web Server, Tasker
Web Server, Tasker
Yes via third party devices
Yes via third party devices
Yes via third party devices
Check the app
What are the pros and cons of viewing all the cameras through a phone app?
While there are other more reliable and professional ways how you can view all the cameras in one place, the phone apps are a convenient method of controlling your cameras.
However, there are pros and cons. The pros include being easy to set up, the apps usually detect the cameras automatically. Also, these apps support the ONVIF protocol and RTSP streaming, which are a way that third-party devices communicate with each other (using these standards).
Another positive thing about these apps is their cost, relatively cheap, and most of the time a one-time purchase without any subscriptions plans.
The list of cons is a little bit longer starting by supporting a limited number of channels. While the NVRs can handle all the necessary cameras, these apps are limited on the number of cameras that they show and support.
Additionally, only ONVIF/RTSP cameras can be linked to these phone apps and the recording is challenging considering that you’ll be storing the footage on the app. Also, you need an uninterrupted internet connection to make things work and to avoid missing recordings.
What features are important in an IP Camera viewer app?
Automatically detects and adds the cameras
This is an important one because not a lot of people are tech-savvy. A good IP camera viewer app should automatically detect ONVIF-compliant cameras. The app scans the network, finds the IP address of the camera, and then auto-configures it.
This feature will save you a lot of headache and time, there’s no need to add the IP addresses manually or type any ports. Let the app do it. As we mentioned, this function works with ONVIF cameras only.
The IP camera viewer apps need the RTSP protocol to stream the image. RTSP is the industry standard for streaming surveillance videos. And all the app needs is the RTSP URL and the login credentials.
Then the app processes this video feed further providing useful functions such as motion detection, triggering, notifications and alerts.
Nowadays, some IP camera manufacturers provide P2P support in their cameras. This means each camera is identified by a unique number (such as serial number, Device ID, or UID).
All you have to do is enter this unique code on the app and the camera will show up there. Moreover, using P2P doesn’t require any port forwarding on the router or any IP address. Just the P2P code is enough.
Motion detection and continuous recording
These are two crucial features and the whole point of the app is to record the important video for you. Motion detection can be done in-camera. Meaning, that the camera’s software detects the motion and then just sends out the signal to the app.
Or it can be done in-app. In this case, the app gets the video feed and then using its algorithm detects the motion or applies other smart functions.
Some IP cameras have inferior software and their motion detection is not good. You may get skipping seconds or fail to trigger the motion etc. So, you may need to look for a phone app that can perform in-app motion detection.
Additionally, some apps can also do continuous recording to a microSD card or to a NAS. Many users want to have 24/7 recordings, no matter what. You need an app that can do that.
Some IP cameras come with a built-in microphone, and sometimes with a speaker as well. Two-way audio means that you can hear the audio coming from the camera (mic) and you can talk to the people under the camera (through the camera’s speaker).
Some apps support this feature, you can get the audio feed from the camera and talk back to it. The conversations will be like a walkie-talkie setup, but it’s worthy especially for cameras installed on the main door or entrance.
Reliability and Cost
If you want a stable camera system, then you need a reliable IP camera viewer app. It needs to be fast, responsive, and not laggy. The app will run day and night and you need your footage to be safe. The last thing you need is a crashed app.
Additionally, the price needs to be affordable. And by far, the three apps listed come at a great value with their inexpensive cost. Surely, the free ones are full of ads, but maybe spend $5-$10 for a one-time purchase and enjoy the app. As with anything, you definitely get what you pay for. This is your security, so it’s worth it to pay a little bit more.
Imagine that you’re using an IP camera as a baby/nanny monitor, do you need to keep the camera app running on your phone? Obviously, you need to, but you want an app that is able to run in the background and record the video and audio. No one wants to keep the app open on the phone the whole time.
So, you need a camera app that supports background audio and video. You do the settings and let the app run in the background while you do other stuff on your phone, or just lock the screen.
Different stream qualities
Having a few HD IP cameras streaming at the same time may exhaust the resources of your phone. A good camera app viewer allows you to switch between streams with different qualities. For example, you can view the camera in 1080p, and then you can switch to a lower quality that the phone can handle easier.
Some camera apps will automatically choose the phone-optimized stream if you are on a 3G/4G mobile network or any other low internet speed. This will save data and make the camera experience better.
Web server support
Apps that provide web server support are great for home automation setups. You can adjust the IP camera viewer to do certain things when triggered by your home automation system. Ideally, you’d want an app that features an API or HTTP web server.
If you have various standalone cameras and you want to see them in one app, then you should go for an IP camera view app. These apps will automatically connect to the cameras via the ONVIF protocol or the RTSP streaming URL.
We listed three camera apps that you can use on your Android phone or tablet. They have one free version with limited features and the paid one with advanced functions.
Their prices are affordable and at great value. Moreover, it’s a one-time purchase. The one we’d recommend is the tinyCam Monitor app.
If you need a whole camera system, we’d recommend checking this list of the best camera systems of the year. These setups are pricey but it’s a professional camera system that uses an NVR and all the footage is stored in its internal hard drives.