How To Detect Hidden Cameras And Listening Devices? A Complete Guide

Last updated: May 6, 2024 Reading time: 7 minutes
How To Detect Hidden Cameras And Listening Devices? A Complete Guide

Many people feel like someone is watching them or listening to their conversations. They may be right, and it could be the work of spy cameras or microphones that they can’t see or hear.

As technology improves, disguising cameras and other listening devices has become more accessible. It may sound great to anyone who wants to conduct surveillance. But it hinders your ability to stay safe and protected from prying eyes when no one is around, especially when traveling.

Thus, it’s essential to be aware of the possibility of hidden cameras being set up in your hotel room or other places you may be staying. There are a few ways to check for these cameras, and it’s best to be proactive to protect your privacy.

How to detect hidden cameras and microphones

1. Scan for lights

You can find a hidden camera by checking for lights. This can be done by ensuring the room is completely dark, which you can achieve by waiting until nightfall, shutting off the trusted light sources, and closing all the blinds. The next step would be to scan the rooms for any unusual object that emits light. Some hidden cameras can have small LED lights that shine or blink in darkness.

2. Make use of a flashlight

You can also use a flashlight to inspect hidden cameras in some cases. You should first get the room completely dark and shine the flashlight to check for any small light reflections

The reflections may be purple or blue from a small camera lens. So, inspect the objects closely to determine if it’s a hidden camera.

3. Inspect for mirrors

Creeps are becoming increasingly clever to the point of hiding the cameras behind two-way mirrors. Therefore, check the presence of hidden cameras in the two-way mirrors by placing your finger on the mirror. Next, check the gap between the fingertip and the reflection. A real mirror would show a gap between the finger and the reflection. If you notice that the fingertip and the reflection seem touching, it can be a two-way mirror, meaning it could be used to hide a camera.

4. Scan your Wi-Fi

You can detect hidden cameras by scanning your Wi-Fi network. Sometimes, the hidden cameras can be connected to the internet, so one can monitor them remotely. If the camera is connected to your Wi-Fi, you can detect it by scanning the network.

The first step would be to download a network scanning app. This can be done by opening your smartphone’s app store and searching ‘network scanner.’ After finding the app, you should install it and proceed as instructed.

You must connect your smartphone to the Wi-Fi for the network scanner. When analyzing the app’s results, you should focus on devices with suspicious names such as ‘IP camera.’

5. Inspect for signal interferences

Most surveillance cameras have radio waves that can constantly disrupt phone calls. There is a possibility of you experiencing annoying crackling or buzzing when on a phone call if you are near a hidden camera.

To check for hidden cameras using this method, you should start by calling a person and asking them to stay on the call. Then, walk slowly around the room during the call and listen if there is any interference. If the quality drops in certain room sections, you might be close to a camera and thus should check for any suspicious objects. However, you should note that this checking method is not 100% as your mobile phone could have lousy reception or interfere with other signals.

Hire an expert, or if you are unsure of the other methods for detecting hidden cameras, you should let the experts check for you. Hiring a professional can be a reliable and more effective way of ensuring the room is free of privacy threats. In most cases, they’ll use specialized equipment to uncover any hidden cameras or listening devices

States and countries have different surveillance laws but the same general principle. Using a hidden camera in places you expect reasonable privacy is illegal.

The legality of a hidden surveillance camera depends on its intent. For instance, secret cams are legal if they are used on sound moral grounds. You must obtain a warrant or own the property to install a hidden surveillance system.

Hidden cameras in Airbnb, rental cars, rental apartments, and hotel rooms are illegal, as people expect privacy. However, hosts can have legal grounds to place cameras in public spaces such as lobbies and corridors for security reasons, as long as they inform the visitors.

Airbnb has a clear policy on surveillance that requires the host to mention all cameras in the listing, whether operational or not. You should review the listing thoroughly if concerned about the hidden cameras. Airbnb’s policy on surveillance states: ‘Intentionally concealed recording devices (such as hidden security cameras) are never permitted’. This means that hidden cameras are against the company’s rules.

Why is it important to detect hidden devices

If a hidden camera is recording you, there are a few consequences that you should be aware of. First, if someone has footage of you doing something compromising, they can use it to blackmail you. They can even leak the footage, which could damage your reputation. If you suspect you may be being recorded, taking some precautions and investigating further is best.

Moreover, it’s vital to remember that hidden cameras and microphones are often illegal. If you believe someone is illegally spying on you, you may want to contact the police for help.

How to detect hidden devices with Wi-Fi scanning

The threat actors can even hide some spy cameras and listening devices on your phone’s list of Wi-Fi connections. If you doubt, then follow the steps below and find out the truth:

  1. Open the Settings option > Network & Internet.
  2. Click on Wi-Fi
  3. Move your phone around and check the list of nearby Wi-Fi networks.

If you find some unidentified and suspicious name, quickly remove it from the Wi-Fi connection list. In this way, you can protect yourself from being recorded.

Can smartphones detect hidden cameras?

You could use your smartphones if the abovementioned methods don’t work out. Both Android and iPhone can detect hidden cameras and uses the following two methods to recognize a hidden camera:

  • Detecting electromagnetic fields: It detects the magnetic fields, but you need to know the camera’s position. If it sees a strong field, there’s a camera within the wall of the object. 
  • Identifying light reflecting from a lens: Though unreliable, you can still use it to find small objects dropped or hidden on a carpet.

You can even use camera apps on the App Store to eliminate this problem.

What to do if you discover a concealed camera?

After finding a hidden or concealed camera, your first instinct would be to disconnect or destroy it. However, this is not recommended, as you can accidentally damage any fingerprints that the police could use for investigations. If you find a hidden camera, you should follow the following steps:

  1. Take a photo of the concealed camera for your record
  2. Cover the hidden camera using a blanket or towel if possible
  3. Move your belongings and yourself out of the hidden camera’s view if you cannot cover it
  4. Contact the law enforcers and act as instructed

Three best camera detection apps for Android

Several apps can help you detect hidden cameras and microphones if you’re an Android user. Some of the best options include:

1. Camera detector

The app is designed to help you find hidden cameras in your environment. It uses your phone’s camera to scan for suspicious objects that may be spying on you.

2. Spy camera detector

It uses your phone’s audio capabilities to help you detect any listening devices that may be present.

3. Anti-spy Camera Pro

The app uses your phone’s camera to scan for any suspicious objects.

If you’re concerned about the privacy of your conversations and activities, it’s a good idea to use one of these apps. These apps can help you feel safe and secure in your environment, and they can help you avoid potential privacy violations. 

Most frequent spots to look for concealed cameras

People hide the cameras in familiar places and objects. Some cameras can be as small as a screw, meaning you cannot find them with a glance. These are the typical hiding spots and objects for hidden cameras, which you should pay extra attention to:

  • Light bulbs
  • Smoke detectors
  • Lamps
  • Doorbells
  • Alarm clocks and clocks
  • Pens
  • Books
  • DVD cases
  • Power strips
  • Wall décor
  • Night lights
  • Two-way mirrors
  • Screws
  • Small holes in the wall
  • Decorative plants
  • Clothes hooks
  • Picture Frames
  • Computer mice
  • Vents
  • Keyholes
  • Rechargeable air fresheners
  • Showerheads
  • Electric Outlets
  • Stuffed Toys


The use of hidden cameras and microphones is rising as more people look for ways to invade our privacy. It’s essential to be aware of these devices and know how to detect them to protect yourself from potential privacy violations.

Taking steps to secure your privacy is essential in today’s world, and it’s something that we should all be concerned about. Hopefully, you’d better understand detecting hidden devices and maintaining security and privacy.

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About the Author

Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.

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