Review: iCam app streams webcam to your iPhone

I was pretty shocked when I read on Gizmodo that a man had used the iCam iPhone app to watch as someone burglarized his home. Not just because the story was so crazy, but because I often wondered what I would do if I witnessed my home getting robbed while using that exact same iPhone app. I’ve been testing the iCam app for several weeks and, while it won’t keep intruders out of your home, it will certainly give you some piece of mind while you are traveling.

The iCam app allows you to monitor your webcam via your iPhone (or iPod Touch) from anywhere so long as you have an Edge, 3G or WiFi signal. Obviously, WiFi is ideal for monitoring the video, but I was surprised with how well it streamed over 3G, as well. You can also enable motion detector alerts which will push notifications to you whenever your webcam senses movement. This is ideal for people wanting to use iCam for home security.

In order to use iCam, you must first download the free software to your computer (available for both Mac OS and Windows) and download the $4.99 app to your iPhone. A very simple setup process links your webcam to your iPhone, allowing you to remotely view your camera feed from anywhere you have a signal.

I tested the app while remotely keeping an eye on my two dogs. iCam allows you to stream up to four webcams directly to your iPhone, so my girlfriend and I set up both of our MacBooks in the bedroom while our dogs stayed behind. Leaving your dogs at home can be stressful, so having the ability to check in on them no matter where we are definitely intrigued us.

When you open the iCam app on your iPhone, you see thumbnail views of every feed that you linked to your phone. In the photo above, you can see our two camera feeds. Tapping on one of the small boxes opens that feed in full screen, as shown here:

Additionally, you can set iCam to take still images of any motion activities that it detects. Curious pet owners will finally see what their dogs and cats do when left alone and victims of burglaries may just have a critical piece of evidence to show to law enforcement officials.

On a few occasions, iCam failed to sync with my webcam. I remedied this once by repeating the initial setup and two other times the situation resolved itself when I closed the iPhone app, waited a few minutes and relaunched it.

Overall, the iCam app is worthy of its $4.99 price tag. It provides piece of mind, shows only a few signs of being infrequently buggy and offers more than enough features beyond just the video streaming to make it both useful and entertaining (at least for people watching their pets while also out with friends).

If you have pets (or perhaps a babysitter that you don’t trust) or want an inexpensive home monitoring system, then iCam might just be right for you.

The iCam app is available in the iTunes App Store and the software for your computer is available on the company’s website.