How to turn your old Android phone into a home monitoring system

If you have an old Android phone around, there are a bunch of very useful projects you can do with it. Android devices come with advanced hardware and software that can do a lot of amazing things if you find the right app.

One such project is the creation of a temporary home monitoring system. You don’t need any special hardware or previous experience with home security systems. All you need is your old Android device and two apps from the Play Store. Want to see how? Let’s get started.

Temporary home monitoring system

There are a lot of advanced home monitoring systems that you can buy for your home. From simple things that help you keep track of your pets to ones that can spot burglaries or broadcast live events, there are plenty of options on the market.

However, if you are using a simple DIY home monitoring system and it doesn’t cost you anything to set it up, this could be a perfect project to try. It doesn’t promise a five-star performance, but if you do everything right, it should be a very enjoyable setup at home. It is one of the interesting uses that you can put an old Android device on.

what do you need?

  1. An old Android phone with Android 7 or earlier is preferred.
  2. Google Live Transcribe and Notification App.
  3. An automation app like Tasker, IFTTT, or MacroDroid (we’ll be using MacroDroid).

Set up Google Live Transcribe and Notification

The Google “Live Transcribe and Notification” app is where most of the heavy work will be done. The neat little app can detect and select a wide range of sounds. From animal sounds like barking, burglary related sounds like broken glass, fire alarms and babies crying, the app has you covered.

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To prepare the application:

  1. Download the Live Transcribe and Notification app from the Google Play Store. Once downloaded, install it and grant all necessary permissions. Depending on your phone manufacturer and Android version, the app may already be installed.
  2. Exit the application.
  3. Open the Settings app on your phone, locate and tap on the location Accessibility > sound notification And toggle between audio notifications. Just search for “Accessibility” in the “Search Settings” entry box on newer versions of Android.

  1. Press the back button to return to the access permission screen.
  2. Scroll down to locate and tap He lives Copied.
  3. Switch to Direct Write. A button will appear at the bottom of the screen, unless you’re using a newer version of Android.

  1. Tap the floating accessibility button that appears at the bottom of the screen to open the Direct Copy UI. If you don’t find any of them, just launch the Live Transcribe app.
  2. Press your finger, whistle, flush the toilet, play some music and try several other sounds to test if the app is configured correctly. Also say a few words to see if the transcription is correct.

If you follow the steps accurately, the app should name each sound with a great deal of accuracy. With this, you are clear to proceed.

To receive notifications on your phone when it detects an interesting sound, you will need to turn it on and choose the sounds you want to let you know. Do it with Live Transcribe and Sound Notification app like:


  1. open the sound notifications Screen of live typing and voice notifications app. The audio notification screen is different from the live typing screen. You should be in the sound notification screen as shown in the first screenshot above. If you are in the live writing screen, tap the setting icon in the lower left corner of the screen and tap Open sound notifications.
  2. Click the setting icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
  3. Toggle on the switch next to sound notifications paused. if he says Voice alerts are activeLeave it as is.
  4. After that, press Voice Notices be Energetic To reveal the audio notification preferences screen.
  5. Toggle on the switch next to the sounds you want to receive notifications about. For example, switch on the adjacent switch Child sounds And the dog barking If you want to receive an SMS on your phone any time your dog barks or your baby cries when you are away.


MacroDroid setup

Next is setting up the MacroDroid app. MacroDroid is an Android automation app that you can use to automate a wide range of Android tasks. It uses an operational model of trigger action in which it performs an action in response to a predetermined condition, or trigger. For example, you can program the app to text your child’s number with an SMS “going home” at 6 PM every day.

In this project, we will be using the app to extend the functionality of the Live Transcribe and Notification app. Live Transcribe does not come with a remote notification feature. Instead, you’ll use MacroDroid to send remote notifications when your phone detects an interesting sound.

To start:

  1. Install the MacroDroid app from the Play Store.
  2. Launch the MacroDroid app and grant any required permissions.
  3. On the MacroDroid home screen, tap add a macro Then the plus sign symbol above the area labeled Catalysts.

  1. On the next screen, tap Device events > Notification > Receive notification > OK.
  2. At the prompt that appears, choose Select the application(s) Then press OK > Live typing and voice notifications.
  3. On the next screen, leave all options as they are and press Yes. You will return to the main MacroDroid screen.

If you have reached this point, you have successfully set up the remote notification launcher. The next part is to prepare the action to take when applying the condition. To do this:

  1. On the MacroDroid main screen, click the plus button in the upper right corner of the panel labeled Procedures.
  2. On the next screen, tap Messaging > Send SMS.

After performing the above steps, on the following screen:

  1. select Carrier and provide a phone number to receive alerts.
  2. Click the three-dotted button next to the text entry area labeled “Text message.” He chooses Notification address and hit Yes. Press the button again and select Notification text and hit Yes.

  1. On the add a macro On the main screen, type the name of a macro (for example home monitor) in the space provided and hit the save icon next to it.
  2. Press the back button and press Memorizes to save your macro.
  3. On the MacroDroid main screen, toggle the switch in the upper right corner to put MacroDroid into active mode.

With automation apps like MacroDroid, giving all the required permissions is a big problem. Failure to do so may make using the app very cumbersome if not impossible.

To ensure that the app has all the necessary permissions:

  1. Open the Settings app on your phone, locate and tap on the location Accessibility > MacroDroid. Toggle the switch to grant access permissions to MacroDroid.
  2. Hit the back button and repeat the same process for MacroDroid Volume Button Monitor And the MacroDroid UI interaction.
  3. Exit Settings and launch the MacroDroid app again.
  4. On the main screen of the MacroDroid app, tap Settings in the lower right corner.
  5. tap on Ignore battery optimizations.
  6. Locate the MacroDroid app and tap on it.
  7. He chooses no improvement.


The path to access some Android settings may vary depending on the device manufacturer and Android operating system. This post uses details from Android 6 and 7. It is generally best to use older versions of Android for the project.

Once the setup is done, place the phone in the general area where you want to detect sounds. Preferably close enough to areas likely to emit sounds. If you want to monitor baby sounds, keeping them in your baby’s room should be helpful.

If you have a Google wearable device, you can add it to the Direct Write app and voice notifications and get notified about it.

What can you get from the setup?

Depending on your phone’s battery life, you can get up to 8 hours of continuous home monitoring. You can reuse it as a baby monitor to monitor crying babies, or a fire alarm to monitor fire alarm activations. You can even use it as an activity monitor to monitor sounds like barking, door knocking, and running water.

Apart from SMS notifications, you can get notifications via automated phone calls, emails, tweets, and many more. You can try MacroDroid or another automation app to explore dozens of other functions that can improve your setup.


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