Many of us who want a dash camera for our car either don’t have the money right now to buy a dedicated dashcam, or would rather use what we currently have, our iPhone. Although nothing comes close to having a real dash camera for your car, you can still get similar results by using the right dashcam APP and mounting bracket for your iOS phone. Below we will share the best reviewed APPS currently available on iTunes and the best iPhone mount to turn your smartphone into a car dvr. This will work on the iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 models. Below we will show you how to use your iPhone as a dashcam.
Our Review of the Best iPhone Dash Camera APPS of 2020
Our Top 5 APP Picks Below:
Dash cam applications generally focus on providing a simple user interface to interact with your device. With the AI Dashcam app, Nexar aims to take it a step further and create a large network for a community of dash cam users to interact and share their experiences in order to make driving safer.
The user interface is clean and informative. One of the more unique features of the app is that it will continue to display the notification bar on the top of your screen, allowing you to see your phone’s battery life, connection status and the time without having to close the app.
The app comes with a multitude of advanced features that provide a comprehensive safe driving experience through the power of connected technology. For example, if you experience a collision with the Nexar app enabled, it will automatically warn other users nearby of the incident, potentially preventing traffic problems or further accidents.
Nexar also uses their in-house artificial intelligence system to warn you when the vehicle in front of you heavily brakes or comes to a sudden stop. In the case of a collision, the app is also able to provide a collision reconstruction report, which aims to provide the evidence required for insurance claims.
The app is capable of using your smartphone camera as a dashcam and if storage is an issue, Nexar promises to alleviate significant storage usage by using advanced algorithms and encoding to efficiently store footage. Your recordings can also be uploaded to their cloud storage service to further eliminate the need to delete older recordings.
Nexar AI Dashcam is especially useful for ride-sharing as recording passengers is as simple as facing your smartphone towards your interior. All things considered, its a viable alternative to forking out cash for a full-fledged dash cam.
Built specifically for iOS, DashCam is capable of playback via AirPlay enabled devices, as well as seamless integration with the built-in GPS and gyroscope. The app is capable of tracking your route and storing the data for later access. It will also track your speed and calculate the average, as well as your distance. Being able to analyze these statistics is especially useful for economical travelers.
While the interface is somewhat reminiscent of older versions of iOS, it is nonetheless reasonably clean and functional. Once you understand all the familiar icons at the bottom of the interface, interacting and changing settings should be a breeze. DashCam also displays the notification bar on the top section of your display, eliminating the need for closing the app or swiping down to see the time, connection status or battery life of your device.
Recording can be done in Landscape or Portrait mode and the start time, end time and the date of the recordings will be stored within the file information for each video. Playback within the app is possible and there are a few features that make storage space management a little easier as well.
Memory size allocation and resolution settings are built-in. This enables you to customize the final size of the files, potentially preventing corruption due to a lack of storage space to save the videos. There is also a mapping initiative built into the application called SoshalMap, which aims to help the compact map roads more easily by analyzing your submitted recordings.
Drivermatics takes a more unique approach to the conventional dash cam alternative by providing useful statistical data that makes analyzing your driving a convenient and easy to interpret process. By using the GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer of your device, the app will record a multitude of telematics for you to analyze.
This includes the distance you traveled, your top and average speed and your total travel time. It will also display your current speed as your drive, which can act as a useful alternative for vehicles that have faulty or non-functioning speedometers. Drivermatics can also provide a record of your speed, which can prove useful if you are stopped for speeding and are issued an unnecessary ticket.
The app is capable of calculating a driver score based on your acceleration, braking and cornering by using your device’s sensors. This score will determine how safe your driving is. While the feature is no more than trivial, it can act as a good indication of what you can – or shouldn’t do, while in your vehicle. There are also certain telematics-based insurance policies that you can take advantage of by using the app.
While the user interface is far from minimal, it is highly informative and the consistent design throughout each element of the application provides a great overview of all the statistics you want to see. There is also a dashboard which can provide your scores by vehicle, journey type and month. The built-in accident management workflow engine provides an informative guide on what you need to do after being involved in an accident by making use of photographic, audio and video evidence.
Drivermatics is capable of making use of both your front and rear facing cameras. The former of which can prove useful if you wish to see who is at fault for an accident or to simply record passengers or hitchhikers for safety reasons.
#4 OSMAnd DVR
OSMAnd DVR is a great alternative to conventional dash cams and provides a comprehensive set of features, as well as some interesting functions that are not found elsewhere. For example, the viewing angle can be increased by lowering the recording resolution within the application, providing a better view on wider highways. Lowering the resolution also prevents heavy resource usage, decreasing heat and battery drain.
The user interface is clean and consistent throughout and looks synonymous with the modern operating systems found on the devices you’d be using the apps on. There is a rather impressive layering system in the map section, which allows you to view different types of maps on a single display, including various routes and types of traffic.
Some other interesting functions include being able to simply tap the display while recording to instantly save the video. This is especially useful for situations that require concentration on driving as opposed to having to navigate your phone to save the video. This also extends to being able to capture still photos while recording video. There is also a speedometer mode which removes the camera view in exchange for a clear reading of your current, maximum and average speed.
As with any application, the software on mobile phones limits their ability to work in the background and as a result, many dash cam apps fail to work after an incoming call. OSMAnd DVR alleviates this by returning back to the recording after a phone call has concluded, which prevents data corruption or loss of those video files.
The app is capable of tracking and displaying your location via GPS, as well as your current speed and altitude. Password protection comes standard and files can be exported to other devices via WiFi or into other applications such as the Camera Roll. Exporting the files also presents the option of having subtitles, which is rather rare for applications like these and can prove very useful in certain situations.
Another great power-saving feature of OSMAnd DVR is the ability to keep the display of your device blank while recording. This will further save battery life and decrease resource usage, which in turn decreases the chance of your phone overheating. Manual controls such as frame rate and resolution adjustment are included.
Sidekick is a clean and straight forward dashcam and GPS application that provides a comprehensive set of features within a clean and informative user interface. One of the most impressive features of Sidekick is it’s ability to activate its sensors when you are driving and automatically enable the battery saving mode when you stop. Given the limitations set by iOS, this is an impressive feat.
While Sidekick is great as a dashcam app and provides all the features you’d expect, including manual settings, various orientations for recording and a clean and unobtrusive view, the main star of the show is the GPS capabilities.
Sensor information from Google Maps, Bing and OpenStreetMap are combined to create a powerful GPS system that aims to be more accurate than any other app in it’s class. Sidekick is also capable of sending alerts when it assumes you are about to enter a collision by using sensors within your car and the mapping system.
When you are in a high force impact, the app will automatically call your emergency contact, which can provide to be life-saving in some situations. Expense reporting is a little easier with the trip mileage recording system built into the app and with the help of sensors in your device, Sidekick can also give you an idea of how good your driving is based on your average speed and cornering. Sidekick also prides itself on being connected and is able to help other drivers by sharing data on the roads you are driving on.
Best iPhone Dash Cam Mount
We have chosen the Drive One-Touch Smartphone Car Mount by Logitech as the best iPhone dash cam mount. One of the biggest benefits of this car mount is that it allows you to mount it directly to your dashboard, or to your windshield. It is also a universal mount, working on all major smartphone brands and models, while still allowing you to keep the case on your phone. The phone holder works by adhering a small piece of metal on the back of your phone, which is then attracted to the One-Touch mount. The powerful magnet securely holds your phone while driving. Using a magnet makes it far faster and easier than having to fit it into a holder each time, like many of the other cumbersome mounts out there. You simply touch your phone to the mount and it sticks there from the magnetic attraction.
When you buy it, what’s in the box?
- Logitech drive car mount
- 2 universal phone adapters
- Dashboard mount adapter
- User Manual
Disadvantages of using an iPhone as dash cam
There are a number of disadvantages to using your iPhone as a dash cam that you should be aware of.
iPhones cannot withstand the heat like a capacitor based (no battery) dash cam can, which are designed to be left on a car windshield in very hot conditions.
Some APPS might stop recording when an incoming call or text message comes in, putting you at risk for not having full-time video coverage out on the road.
You will need to setup your phone every time you enter or exit your car, and if you decide to leave it in, it may attract thieves having it mounted there in plane sight. While traditional dash cameras are small and discrete, that can be left in your car full time and will auto start each time you start your car.
iPhones have a small lens angle or field of view, giving you less coverage of the road ahead. You may not capture a front corner impact, while a real dash cam is designed to have a very wide lens angle, giving you full front coverage.
Your iPhone will never fully replace dedicated dash cameras in functionality and ease of use, but they can be a good choice for those who do not currently have a dash cam or want to invest in one. However, having your iPhone recording the road ahead of your while you drive is truly a better option than nothing at all. We encourage you to experiment with the APPS listed above, as well as the various mounts out there and see what fits you best.
Be sure to check out our Dash Cam Buying Guide
and if price is an issue for you, take a look at a list of our Top 5 Dash Cams Under $100