How To Use Your Laptop As A Spy Camera

Affiliate Disclaimer: SpyDrill is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you!

Looking for a hidden spy camera for surveillance or spying purposes? If yes, then wait because you don’t have to spend your money on buying a new spy camera if you already have a laptop. Yes, you can turn your laptop into a spy camera with the help of free software. If this excites you then let me share with you the trick with which you can spy on someone through their laptop camera. But before that let’s find out why would you want to use your laptop webcam as a spy camera.

Table Of Contents

Quick Summary
You can turn your laptop into a hidden camera and use it to record videos secretly. To spy on someone through a laptop camera you need to make use of a third-party software such as Yawcam. However, to properly use the laptop as a hidden camera recorder you need to keep a few things in mind such as placing the laptop in the right place, keeping it plugged into the power source, and hiding the camera light.

Why Use Laptop Camera As A Spy Camera? How To Do It?

There can be many reasons behind using laptop as spy camera but the most prominent ones are as follows:

1) Surveillance: The most important use of your webcam as a spy camera can be for surveillance purposes at your office or home to keep an eye on your employees, maids, and babysitters.

2) Collecting Evidence: The second reason for using your laptop as a hidden camera can be for collecting evidence and carrying out a sting operation on someone.

3) Prevent Shoplifting and Theft: With a hidden spy laptop camera, you can catch a thief red-handed because they won’t know that they are being recorded in the camera.

To use your laptop webcam as a security camera or spycam you will need a special tool that allows you to use computer camera as spy camera. There are many such paid and free tools available online, but for this purpose, a free laptop spy camera app is as good as a paid one so you don’t have to necessarily spend your hard-earned money for it.

The freeware we are going to use today for using your laptop as a spy camera is Yawcam(Yet Another Webcam). Here’s a step-by-step process of how you can use this tool.

Step 1: Install Yawcam On Your Computer

You need to go to the Yawcam official website and from there, you have to download the software.

laptop as spy camera

Once downloaded, install the software on your laptop. If you don’t have JAVA installed on your computer it will ask you to do so before installing the Yawcam software.

Step 2: Add Your Webcam

Now once the software is successfully installed, launch it on your computer and then you have to add your laptop webcam to it. For that, you can click on the Settings button in the menu bar on the top and then go to Device > Change to > Webcam.

Add webcam

With this, your webcam will be added to the software and you can see a preview window of it on your screen.

Yawcam preview

Similarly, you can add an external webcam if your laptop does not have a webcam of its own. Also, you can use IP cameras if you want to use them for surveillance.

Step 3: Configure Output Methods

There are multiple output methods provided by Yawcam that you can use to get an output of the recordings. These include saving to file, FTP transfer, saving to HTTP server, and live streaming through the internet. Let’s discuss all these methods one by one

1. File Transfer

If you want to save the photos captured by your spy camera on the local storage of your computer then follow these steps.

  • Go to the Yawcam dashboard and enable the first option which is File.

enable file

  • Next, click on Settings and then select Edit Settings…

edit settings

  • Now under Output select File and a new tab will open on the right side. Here you can select the format of the image i.e JPG, PNG, GIF. You can also choose the quality of the image, the folder in which you want to save the images, and the interval i.e. how often should it update the photos. Once you configure the settings according to your requirements, click on OK to save the settings.

save recording in files

  • As soon as you do that, the webcam will start saving the photos in your selected folder at your selected interval. Here’s a look at the folder where these images are stored.

saved images

2. FTP

With FTP (File Transfer Protocol) you can store the captured photos on another computer device.

ftp transfer

Similar to the file transfer, here also you can choose the type of photo and its quality by adjusting the slider. You can take help from this guide from Yawcam if you want to use the FTP output method to store the captured footage.


If you choose the HTTP output then you can see the captured image online on the HTTP server address. To use this method, you can go to the dashboard and enable the HTTP option.

http enable

Now go to Settings> Edit Settings… > Http. Here you can see the HTTP server address where you can see the captured images.

Http url

You can see two URLs here, the first one is for static images and the second one is for dynamic photos.  This means these photos will be updated every 10 seconds. Here’s how you will see the photo on the HTTP server.

http server address

4. Stream

This one is a great feature with which you can spy on someone through their laptop camera remotely viewing what they are doing in real-time. With the stream feature, you can see the live recording of your laptop webcam on another device which could be a laptop or phone. Here’s a video on how to use a laptop hidden camera and view the recordings on your mobile.

5. Motion Detection

The motion detection technology allows you to keep an eye on a still object like a sleeping baby, or your car which you have parked outside. You need to turn the camera angle toward the object you want to track. As soon as it detects a motion in the frame it will record it. The motion will be seen with a bluish color on the screen. It will also record the time at which the motion was detected.

motion detected

If you go to the Actions tab, you can choose to save the video, or photo on your computer when the motion was detected.  If you want you can also get notified about it via email whenever it detects a motion.

Detect motion output

How To Use It Secretly?

Now you know how to use your laptop webcam as a spy camera using Yawcam software. But you still need to learn how to spy using a laptop camera secretly so that the other person doesn’t know that you are spying on them through your laptop.

Disable The Sleep Mode On Your Computer

If your computer goes in sleep mode while recording then your camera will be shut down and you won’t be able to record anything. So to properly use your laptop as a spy camera, you need to disable the sleep mode on your computer. For this, you can click on the battery icon in the bottom right corner of your Windows PC. From there select Battery Settings. Now under Power & Sleep settings change the Sleep settings to Never in both conditions.

disable sleep mode

This will help you record video on a laptop with the screen off and the other person will not know that their activities are being tracked.

Hide The Camera Light

All the new laptops have this feature where the light next to the webcam glows when the camera is in working mode. This is provided for privacy reasons so that no one can remotely use your camera without you knowing about it.

Hide the webcam light

However, if you want to spy using a laptop camera then you need to block the light with something so that the other person doesn’t get suspicious of you. You can use tape or a camera cover like this to block the light. Once the light is blocked no one will know that they are being recorded secretly.

Place The Laptop In Right Location

If you are using the laptop camera for secret recording then you need to be sure about placing the laptop at the right location. If the laptop screen is not properly aligned towards the target of the investigation then you won’t be able to record anything properly. Also, you should place the laptop in a way that the person you are spying on doesn’t get suspicious that you are using the laptop as a spy camera and secretly recording them.

Keep The Laptop Plugged Into Power Source

If you are planning to spy on someone for long hours then it’s a must that your laptop is plugged into a power source. If not then the laptop battery will get discharged and it will shut down. Therefore you must keep your laptop plugged in so it doesn’t run out of juice.

Final Verdict

After going through the article it is quite clear that you can use your laptop webcam to spy on someone. You just need to install third-party software on your computer like Yawcam and you can use the laptop camera for secret recording. However, you should keep some crucial things in mind like hiding the webcam light, keeping the laptop plugged in on a charger, and disabling the sleep mode. So that your PC can properly record everything and you can spy using laptop camera without the other person knowing about it.

About the Author

Shivam Yadav is a cybersecurity enthusiast dedicated to clarifying the complexities of cyber threats and making online safety accessible to all. With a background in Computer Science and Engineering, Shivam’s passion for keeping people safe online has been the driving force behind his journey with SpyDrill. He specializes in simplifying concepts related to web protection and guiding parents on the effective use of monitoring applications to ensure their children’s online privacy & safety.

Don't waste your time and money on spying apps or gadgets that won't work!

Subscribe to our newsletter for the best tips, advice and recommendations regarding spying or monitoring a smartphone or PC.

    Leave a Comment