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How to Tell if a Security Camera is Recording

How to Tell if a Security Camera is Recording

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If you are not sure whether your security camera, wherever you may have one installed, is working or not, there are ways to find out. Some security cameras make it easy for you with visual indicators, but with others, you must guess if they are doing their job of recording.

We will take a look at some of the easy tricks you can use to tell whether your security camera is recording. Read on to learn about the different methods you can use to tell if your security camera is recording or not.

How Can You Tell if the Security Camera is Recording?

There are security cameras everywhere nowadays, and with that, also advanced methods used by hackers to bypass them to prevent them from recording their whereabouts. Also, it might be possible that your system in your home or business is simply malfunctioning, and you need to know if that is the case.

Therefore, let us take a look at the different signs you can look for to make sure the security camera is recording.

Blinking Red Light

In the old days, most security cameras came with a blinking red light to show that it is recording and doing the job. Unfortunately, those who have bad intentions also see the blinking light so they can easily locate where the security cameras that are recording them are.

This has changed a lot with stealth cameras that are placed at locations where they are difficult to be found by wrongdoers. This also means that security cameras installed at your home may also not have a blinking red light to show that they are recording.

A red blinking light might be a good way to scare away the not-so-serious intruders on your property. Unfortunately, thieves also know that people are using these blinking red lights to scare them off, so they may ignore it or simply steal the camera itself.

If your camera came with a red blinking light to show it is recording and it is not doing that, it means it is not recording. The red light on your security camera might also not work anymore, but it is still recording or it does not have one.

So, if you do not see a blinking red light, your security camera at home may simply just not have one installed. In that case, you need to find other methods to know whether your camera is recording, so let’s look further.

Whizzing Sound

Security cameras that work with pan tilting movements will move continuously, so you will hear the whizzing sound of the moving camera. Most of these cameras will also have a moving lens to keep track of movements, and you will hear a faint sound when that happens.

The best time to pick up sound from a security camera is at night when there are fewer ambient sounds around. These everyday sounds may prevent you from hearing the very faint sounds emanating from the camera and the moving parts in it.

Cameras that are activated by motion detectors will also make a sound when they move in the direction where the movement was detected. Dome cameras are a bit more difficult, but if you look closely you will be able to see the camera moving inside the dome.

security camera surveillance installed on ceiling

LED Lights

LED lights around the camera are not easy to detect to know whether they are working, but if you are close enough you can see. These LED lights might also be an indication that the security camera is recording as it should and your device is working properly.

You can also use a piece of paper or a book and hold it up against the front of the security camera. If the light shows on the book or piece of paper, you know that it is on and the camera is recording as it should.

Check the Power Indicator

Some IP and wireless IP security cameras come with status LEDs included, and by looking at them you may tell if it is recording. They will have red or green indicators, depending on the make of your camera, that shows their current status and if they are connected.

These cameras are connected via your home WiFi and these LED indicators are a handy way to know if it is working properly.

Watch Your Monitor

If your home security camera is connected to a monitor, you can easily see if it is recording by watching the monitor. If you receive live video footage, that means your camera is recording the area it is supposed to view and record.

Most monitors come included with a recording device attached to it, so you can easily view footage from a few minutes ago. This is a sure way to tell whether or not the camera is recording and storing the footage as it should.

Log Into the App

Most cameras for home security come with a handy app included so that you can easily control and monitor your recording devices. Many of these home security cameras are part of an elaborate smart home monitoring system, so they come with software included.

By using this software from your smartphone or laptop or any other smart home device, it will show you a live feed.

Summing It Up

Below is a quick reference of the different ways to tell whether a security camera is actually recording or not.

  • Check for blinking red lights that indicate it is recording.
  • Listen for a whizzing sound on pan tilting cameras.
  • A dome camera can be seen moving if you are close enough.
  • Cameras with motion detectors also emanate a faint moving sound when activated.
  • LED lights can tell you what is happening, which can be seen when you are close to the camera.
  • Many modern IP cameras come with LED indicators to tell you the camera’s status.
  • Live video feed on the monitor is a sure sign that the camera is recording.
  • Smart apps found with most modern security cameras will show you whether the security camera is recording.


Now that you know what to look for, you do not need to guess whether the security camera at home or work is recording. This will give you peace of mind that there is at least some level of security on your property to help with surveillance.

So, make sure your security camera is working and keep an eye on your loved ones and property.

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