Nowadays security cameras are everywhere and everything gets recorded in high-resolution images. What if you want to pause a security camera, or even disable it, is it possible to do that? How can it be done?
In this article we will talk about pausing a security camera and, if the circumstances are right, the methods you can deploy to disable the camera.
It’s easy to pause a camera if you are authorized to access (or control) the security system, but it gets difficult if you’re not allowed to manage the camera system.
How to pause a CCTV camera
First of all, we need to clarify the difference between placing a camera on pause and disabling it. When a security camera is paused, it means that it will not record for a certain amount of time or when someone manually turns it on again.
Most security apps or recorders allow the user to set the recording schedule, you can record at certain timeframes and pause on others. For example, make the machine record when you’re away only. Or you can even make the system stop recording altogether.
When you disable a camera, it means you have “forcefully” disconnected it from the system. In other words, the camera doesn’t work at all and it’s usually unplugged (from the power source or the system), or has been taken down. Sometimes disabling can be achieved by vandalizing the camera, or simply cutting the cables.
Pause the recording via the app
One way to pause the recording of the camera is by turning it off via the app. Nowadays most camera systems utilize apps that allow the user to see and manage the camera via their phones and tablets. Each manufacturer runs its own app, so the option to pause the cameras varies between the apps.
Usually, once you login into the system via the app, you should see a stop or pause button on the interface. If you go to the live view on the camera, you should see somewhere there is a stop or pause button.
Press it and the recording will stop. For example, the app below allows the user to select the camera and then offers an option to turn it off.
As we said, the exact location of the pause setting depends on the camera model and make. Just inspect the settings and the options on the app, until you find it. This method assumes that you’re authorized to access the cameras. If you don’t know the password, then you can’t see the pause/stop button.
Additionally, you may pause the cameras using the camera management software. This program gets installed on a computer and allows the user to control and manage the cameras.
If you’re using such software and you have privileges to access it, then you can pause the camera via the laptop. Same as the phone apps, these softwares offer a pause/stop button on the settings.
Also, you can access the system via the web browser and perform the same actions. Simply look around until you find it. You may check the manual as well.
Keep in mind: most security systems record based on a schedule. If you want to pause the camera(s) during certain timeframes, you need to go to the Schedule section of your system and unselect the timeframes that you wish the camera not to record.
For example, you can make the camera record during the daytime when you’re away, but stop recording at night time when you’re home. The possibilities are endless, whatever works for you.
Pause the recording directly through the recorder
You can also pause the camera via the recorder’s local interface. The same options that can be found on the phone app, or web browser, are available on the NVR or DVR.
Access the recorder by entering your username and password, go to the Recording (or sometimes labeled Schedule), and select the camera that you wish to pause. Arrange the schedule to have paused in certain hours and you are done.
Additionally, if you can’t find such an option, you can simply delete the camera from the list on the recorder and the camera will not send any video feed to the recorder, nothing will be saved. If you change your mind, you need to re-add the camera again via the local interface.
Pause via the remote control or recorder’s front panel
Some CCTV remote controls come with a Stop/Pause button that can be used to pause the camera. Check your remote control and find out if you see such a button.
If so, go full screen on the camera that you wish to pause and hit stop/pause. Normally, the record icon on the screen should disappear indicating that the camera is not recording anymore.
Moreover, some recorders come with a front screen panel that includes buttons such as Record, Stop, Pause, Navigators, toggles, and other LED lights that monitor the system’s function. You can hit the stop button via the front panel and the system will be paused.
You will see the live view but the system is not recording anything. This is called a manual stop and you need to re-hit it again for the recording to start. Basically, these buttons overwrite whatever recording schedule the system is set to.
Note: In some recorders (depending on the model), the stop/pause button on the remote or on the front panel will stop the recording for all the cameras at once. They may not allow the user to specifically pause certain cameras.
Unplug the camera or the power cord
This method doesn’t require you to be authorized to access the system. It’s still illegal to do so, be careful and perform it only if you’re the owner of the system.
As the title suggests, you can disable the camera by physically unplugging it from the system. If it’s an IP camera, you disconnect it from the switch or the back of the recorder, or even on the camera’s side. Once you do so, the camera can’t communicate with the recorder and nothing will be recorded.
Additionally, you may just power off the camera. If there is no power, the camera can’t work. Simply locate the power source, unplug it and that’s it. The system won’t store any footage from that camera.
Cut the cables
Again, it is not legal if you’re not the owner of the system, go ahead at your own risk. If you’re trying to disable the camera from an establishment that you have no permission to, expect to be prosecuted.
The method is very basic, you can disable a security CCTV camera by cutting the cables. It doesn’t matter where, or on what side, all you have to do is interrupt the communication between the camera and the recorder.
These cables can be the power lines or the data lines. For coaxial cameras, there are two cables running into each camera, and cutting any of them will disable the camera. IP cameras utilized only one cable. Professional installers utilize pipes and hide the camera, so it’s not that easy to gain access to the lines.
Block the camera’s view
Another way is to simply block the camera’s view by using tape, gum, or any other material that will obstruct the view. This means you need to reach to the camera and stick something into its eye.
While the camera will keep functioning and recording, the picture will be all black and practically useless. Again, this method is illegal if you don’t own the system, don’t do it if you’re not authorized to.
Reasons to pause cameras
There are many reasons why you may need to pause the cameras and the main ones are listed below.
You may pause the cameras to extend the recording timeframe of the system. If you don’t need the recording at certain timeframes, you may pause it and let it resume automatically on your chosen timestamp.
Let’s say you don’t want the front camera to record while you’re home, simply pause it on the Schedule during those hours and set it to resume recording while you are away.
In some systems, the storage capabilities are limited and you may extend it by setting the schedule according to your needs. The system allows you to set the schedule in whatever way that works for you. You may let some cameras record all the time, and some others during specific hours.
Sometimes indoor cameras are a little bit of a problem since they may bother people. For example, you have a camera in the house that you don’t want to record while you have guests, or while your family is there. In this case, you can pause and restart it again once you’re away.
Business meetings, transactions, or even family meetings should not be recorded unless all participants consent. This may vary based on your local legislation but it’s something to consider. If in such a situation, just pause the camera for the time being and enable it once the meeting is concluded.
Additionally, neighbors may not want their private property to be recorded. Sometimes cameras are pointed at other people’s houses, doors, windows, and backyards and you may get into legal troubles unless you adjust the cameras (re-angle it), or use a privacy mask to black out certain areas under surveillance.
Some neighbors don’t want the camera pointed at them at all, even if you use privacy masks, and you may end up having to disable the camera or install it in another spot.
If you need to pause your security camera, you may do so by using the stop/pause function on the app, the camera management software via a computer, or straight through the record. You may also use the remote control or the recorder’s front panel buttons.
Additionally, you may disable (different action from “pause”) by physically disconnecting the camera, powering it off, or even cutting the cables or blocking the camera’s view.
Keep in mind, that you need to be authorized to perform these actions. Otherwise, if you’re not the owner of the system, you may get into legal trouble.