How to Build a Tiny Spy Camera From Old Phone Parts


Building your own DIY spy camera using old cell phone parts can be a fun and educational project. With just a little bit of know-how, you can repurpose old smartphone components to create a tiny, hidden camera for cheap.

In this guide, I will walk you through the full process of constructing a miniature spy cam from reused phone parts step-by-step. You'll learn how to disassemble a smartphone, identify the key components to salvage, assemble the camera hardware, and configure the software.

By the end, you'll have the skills to build your own covert camera for under $20. While this project is meant for educational purposes, please use discretion and respect people's privacy if deploying your spy cam.

What You'll Need

To build the DIY phone spy camera, you'll need the following materials:

The total cost for the components should be under $20 assuming you have an old smartphone to reuse. Let's look at how to source these parts on a budget.

Finding a Used Phone Donor

The phone will provide the key hardware like the camera, CPU, battery and storage. I'd recommend an older Android device like a Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel.

You can often find used/broken phones on eBay or Craigslist for cheap. The phone only needs to have a working camera module and motherboard. Cracked screens or dead batteries are fine. Expect to pay $5-$20 for an Android donor phone.

Picking a Camera Case

You'll need a tiny plastic enclosure to mount the salvaged phone camera module inside. A small project box, key fob case or fake power outlet works great. Check eBay, Amazon or your local electronics shop. Get a case under 2" x 1" x 1" in size to keep it very discreet.

Gathering Cables, Wires and Tools

You'll also need some basic supplies like jumper wires to connect the components, a USB cable for power/data transfer and basic soldering gear. It's handy to have a miniature screwdriver set and tweezers to disassemble the smartphone. Expect to spend $5-10 on these.

Disassembling the Phone

With your parts gathered, it's time to extract the camera module from the donor phone. Here are the key steps:

Remove SIM Card and Battery

Open the Phone Case

Locate and Remove the Camera

You now have the bare camera ready to be installed in the new spy cam case!

Assembling the DIY Spy Camera

With the smartphone camera module extracted, it's time to assemble it into the covert camera enclosure:

Prepare the Camera Case

Connect the Camera Module

Install Other Components

Close Up the Case

With some careful assembly, your phone camera components are now incognito inside the DIY spy cam case!

Configuring the Camera Software

To control your phone-based spy cam, you'll need to install camera apps and configure software:

Install IP Webcam App

Configure Streaming Settings

Retrieve Camera Login Info

Install TinyCam Monitor App

Add New Camera Source

With the apps set up properly, you can now discreetly view and monitor video from your DIY spy cam!

Using the Hidden Camera

Your tiny spy camera is complete! Here are some tips on covertly shooting video and staying discreet:

So in summary, salvaging components from an old phone provides an inexpensive way to create your own DIY spy camera! With a bit of DIY spirit, you can build an incognito camera. But please use discretion and legally if deploying your covert device.