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Troubleshooting: How to Tell If A Security Camera Is On And Recording

Security cameras are often purposely built to be discreet–so much so that you might not even realize if they are on or not. 

Learn how to tell if your camera is on so you can be sure to capture every moment, and find out how best to troubleshoot should it be unresponsive.

4 Ways To Tell If A Security Camera Is Recording

1. Movement on its axis

One of the best ways to tell a security camera is working is to observe if it is moving

Security cameras that rotate on an axis will keep rotating if they are turned on, and you should hear a buzzing sound alongside such movements. If you have already set up the camera’s tour function, it should record as it moves. 

2. LED light

Another way to tell if a security camera is on and functioning properly is to check its LED light. 

An Infra-red IP security camera, for instance, will almost always feature a small red light around its lens, indicating that the surveillance camera is working. 

If it initially appears to be off, make sure to check again in the dark, since it won’t be particularly visible in daylight.

3. Using a corresponding app

4. Bugs

Using electronic bugs to test whether security cameras are turned on is also a practical option that might be appropriate for more advanced security setups. 

A balanced video signal should come up if the camera is working: this is a video that has been successfully converted for transmission over other mediums aside from coaxial cable.

Troubleshooting: What To Do If Your Camera Isn’t Working 

You can take several steps to deal with issues causing your security camera not to turn on. Here’s how to fix the issues.

Faulty electrical components like wires and power sources may cause your security camera not to turn on. Similarly, power interferences and poorly terminated cables may also cause the camera not to turn on. A malfunctioning DVR can make it appear that the camera is broken. 

  • Check and fix the security camera connection and power source.
  • Check to see the cabling is functional and replace it if not. 
  • Check camera settings, including the software or interface operations.
  • Reboot the security camera after changes are made to see if it is working. 
  • Check to see if the IP address doesn’t conflict. If there is an issue, re-enter the real IP address. 


Do security cameras record all the time?

How can you tell if there is a camera in your room?

The best way to tell if there is a camera in your room is to switch off the light at night. Most security cameras will blink their LED lights, and you can see these lights better in darkness.

How do you know if a camera is watching you?

A red light blinking is not the sole means of telling if a camera is actually watching you; you need to pay attention to the movement of the camera. A camera that moves in your direction is recording, unlike a camera that stays in one place. 


Telling if a security camera is on can be a pretty cumbersome process, so using someone else as an ‘experiment’ is a good way to make sure it’s working properly. 

You can test the movement speed on a camera by asking another person to move around at different paces. You can also use this experiment to detect the maximum coverage of a camera to help you discover where you can strategically locate such a camera. 

You need to pay attention to your security camera settings also to ensure that the camera’s resolution and detection capacity are efficient. You will probably need Wi-Fi internet for your security camera connected to other devices, and you need to ensure that such connection is reliable.