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Do Home Security Cameras Record All the Time?

Most modern home security cameras process, compress, and transmit data via the internet.

Depending on the type of device, a security camera will store footage locally (on a DVR, NVR, USB flash drive or microSD card) or upload it to the Cloud.

Whether a home security camera continuously records or not depends on the camera.

In this article, we’ll detail how to know if home security cameras record all the time and explain how motion detection cameras work.

Do Home Security Cameras Record All the Time?

Most home security cameras do not record all the time. The majority of indoor and outdoor cameras use motion detection to record footage. This means the camera only starts recording from the moment motion is detected.

Motion detection saves storage and avoids uploading large, unmanageable files to the Cloud. It makes it easier to view past footage because files are saved in small batches.

For example, if a delivery driver walks up the driveway, motion is detected and the recording begins. 

A push notification will be sent to the user’s phone to let them know motion has been detected. It continues recording until there is no more movement, or once the clip has reached a certain length. This will then be saved as a file.

How Do You Know If a Camera is Recording?

If the security camera is not your own, here are the ways to check if a camera is recording.

1. Check if it is real

A real camera should be substantial in weight with some degree of branding visible. Search the brand name online to check if it’s real.

2. See if it moves

Some cameras move when they are in operation, rotating on an axis when they spot motion. The movement produces a buzzing sound.

Other security cameras will display slight movement in the lens when the camera is recording, particularly when it starts and stops recording.

3. Check for lights

Many cameras have an LED light switched on when recording is in operation. These are usually only visible when the area is in complete darkness.

Check AlfredCam is recording

To check your AlfredCam device is recording, enable motion detection and walk in front of the camera to trigger it.

Then follow the steps below:

1. Click on the Event Book

2. Select an Event Group

3. Tap on the Event video you want to view

What Happens to Camera Recordings When Wi-Fi is Turned Off?

When Wi-Fi cameras are disconnected from the internet, or if the internet is turned off on the property, the home security camera may be temporarily unable to save footage.

If the camera supports continuous recording, it will continue to record regardless. It will save this footage locally, but users won’t be able to view the live feed or see any recent recordings that failed to upload to cloud storage. 

How Do Motion Sensor Cameras Record?

Motion sensor cameras record the moment motion is detected. The proximity the camera detects motion varies depending on the camera specifications, like lens quality, zoom capacity, focal length, and ISO.

A wireless security camera can typically see between 10 to 250 feet in front of the camera. Most motion sensor cameras have a more limited range, between 50 to 80 feet in front of the camera.


In summary, most modern home security cameras don’t continuously record. To save storage and battery, many indoor and outdoor cameras only record when motion is detected in the line of vision.