Surveillance cameras are one of the most important security tools that people buy to protect their properties.
They are now being installed in all types of spaces, private and public, and contribute considerably to making every space they serve safe and secure. The market is full of various camera types from different manufacturers.
While many security cameras come with audio recording systems, some are not.
So the question now is, how can you tell if a camera has audio? Don’t worry; we provide the answer to this question in the below section.
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Different Ways that Tell if a Camera has Audio or Not
Nowadays, all security cameras are capable of recording audio. But if you want to make sure it’s true and the camera has audio, you should check the camera external body, and the manufacturer’s specifications, search online on the camera model, play and see the recorded videos, and hear if there is a sound or not, and you can also ensure from camera app that is available for mobiles.
It will save you from trouble, as all cameras are recorded by law, and such recording is a sign of compliance with the laws of the land.
However, In most jurisdictions, the audio recording could be a direct invasion of your privacy, and it is your right to be aware of whether you are under sound supervision.
So, here are five ways to make sure whether the camera has audio surveillance or not.
1- Look for Microphones on the Camera Housing
The easiest way to find if a camera has audio is to make a physical check on the camera housing. First, you can look around it and check to see if there are microphones installed.
Most surveillance cameras, whether indoor or outdoor come with a built-in microphone that is used for attaching sound to the recorded videos. The built-in microphone is designed in a way to makes it hard for anyone to detect it.
But, the difficulty of finding a mic in the camera depends on the camera type that you have.
For example, it’s so easy to detect the audio microphone on the dome cameras, whether it’s CCTV analog or IP camera. The same is also the for wired, or wireless bullet cameras.
There are some cameras where the microphone is very easy to spot. The microphone is usually a black dot similar to what you can find on many kinds of headphones and smartphones that you will find around the camera housing (below or on the top of the camera’s image sensor).
Some camera brands come with an Audio Iris, which is a tiny black hole in the middle of the camera that tells you the camera has audio.
2- Play the Recorded Video of the Camera
Another excellent way to tell if a camera has audio facilities or not is to check the recorded videos.
Generally, many security cameras offer online platforms for users to check the footage on their mobile devices through an app or by accessing a specific website, etc. So, if you have access to recorded videos, you can check whether you hear noise or sounds from the recordings.
In this way, you’ll make sure if the camera is fully designed with audio capacities or not.
The only disadvantage is this method doesn’t work for cameras in public spaces as in most conditions, common people will not have access to check the video footage!
3- Search Online on The Camera Model
Searching for the camera model online will be a quick method to know if a security camera is recording audio.
This method is suitable when you’re going to a new work location and don’t know if the camera records video only or both audio and video.
So, If you want to know everything about the camera, you have to search for it on Google.
For example, if you have an Arlo Pro 4 Camera and want to see if it has a microphone or not. Go to the Google search bar and type (Arlo Pro 4 review).
You will find a lot of websites that offer reviews for this camera, open a website, read the review article of the camera, and be aware of all the features that the camera has, including whether it has audio facilities or not.
The best benefit of this approach is that it can be done quietly without anybody noticing and getting suspicious.
If you are not sure about the name and model number of the camera, no worries.
You can take a clear picture of the camera, go to Google images, upload the image, and let Google do the rest.
The good news is Google will find the name and model number of the camera for you.
You can then search on Google for the camera details and whether it comes with a mic or not using the technique mentioned above.
But, the bad news is you can’t trust everything you see online, especially when it comes to security camera technology.
So, to get accurate data on your camera check the manufacturer’s specifications, and if you have time you can contact technical support and ask them about the audio recording capability of their cam.
4- Open the Camera Mobile App and Scroll
Most camera manufacturers offer apps to be installed on your mobile apps. If you’re not sure if it supports audio, then just open the app, scroll down and try to notice the speaker or mute icon.
Nevertheless, some cameras are equipped only with a built-in mic (you can listen) but not with a built-in speaker (talk back).
Just open the app and check if the speaker and mute options are clickable. If so, turn up the volume to check if you hear anything.
If the camera is equipped with audio capacities, those options will be selectable on the phone. If you do, they’ll be greyed out.
It is important to know that if you can talk from your mobile device and the audio is projected through the camera; you have two-way audio capacities, which means you can speak and hear using the camera.
However, some cameras allow you to only hear without having the option to speak or answer back because the security camera audio is blocked.
5- Contact the Camera Manufacturer
If you have applied all the above ways and still can’t find out if the camera has an audio recording feature?
The easiest way to find out is to ask someone who knows. So, it would be an excellent idea to ask the support team of the camera manufacturing company.
This is maybe the most straightforward method of all as all you need to do is call the customer support number, provide the name, and model of the camera.
After that, ask one of the support team members whether it can record audio or not.
You can also contact the seller via their online website and pretend that you want to purchase the cameras.
Question them if the camera is equipped with a built-in microphone and if it does record audio.
So, we do encourage you to buy your camera from a well-known company that offers a technical support team ready to take your inquiries, whether on the phone or chat box on their website.
The perk with this technique is you can also check if it is possible to switch off the audio recording option and, if it is possible, how to do it.
The only drawback of this approach is that you need to know the company that produced the particular camera and the particular model name to get the correct information.
Alternative Methods to know if a camera is recording audio?
Having a camera with audio facilities may add an additional layer of security for you, and it can be beneficial in several scenarios.
One more example is you can hear what the subjects are talking about or even talk back to them. So, here are more different ways to tell you if a camera has audio or not.
6- Search for External Mic Connection
This method is perfect to tell if a camera has audio or not. Especially in the traditional analog CCTV cameras.
In the past, the monitoring cameras captured and recorded video only and there was no possibility to record or hear the sound of what happened while the camera recorded videos.
Years later, security camera engineers discover a new way to add audio to security cameras that allow customers and homeowners for hearing audio with video recorded by the camera only by using a cheap small external microphone.
So, if you’re in a place that installed a wired analog system with CCTV cameras and DVR, it’ll be easy for you to know if a camera is recording audio.
Just look at where the camera is mounted and look for a separate small line and that’s the external microphone.
Note: it’s not always external microphones placed near the camera, sometimes the mics have a special connection and are placed near people’s seats.
7- Look at Camera Monitor
In case you’re a person who has permission to access the control room in your business, or you have a camera in your home and want to know if a camera is recording audio or not, use this method.
In seconds, You can always know if a camera is recording audio by looking at the camera’s display monitor.
Just, Look at a monitoring screen, and you’ll see a red dot in the top right or bottom right-hand corner of the screen and this means the camera is recording video.
For audio, there is a small speaker sign that exists next to the video recording signs.
Note: this way may differ as it depends on the user-interference screen of your camera and the video recorder device, whatever NVR or DVR.
8- Ask A Security Camera Expert
One of the most common ways in knowing if a camera is recording audio is by asking installation experts.
The experts especially those who installed a lot of surveillance systems over years and years know most camera brands and also know which cam is recording audio.
Let’s take an example, I have been installing security cameras, and if you ask me how to tell if a security camera is recording audio?
The first thing that I’ll ask you about your device is what is your camera brand? Is it Arlo, Blink, Ring, Google Nest, Eufy, or something new?
Once you told me I then will ask you What the camera model is and How it’s powered? Within minutes after you answer me I will tell you if your camera is recording audio or not.
Note: This method is considered the easiest but it also costs you a few dollars. On the other hand, the above methods are free and anyone can use any of them, they just take time.
What are the possible consequences of security cameras recording audio?
As we mentioned above, audio in security cameras or recording audio for people may be considered a violation of a person’s privacy.
Depending on your state laws and privacy laws. Some states require two-party consent, and others only require one-party consent.
But in general, it’s not allowed to record audio for people without their knowledge.
Plus, most states have privacy laws that prevent recording audio or video in private spaces owned by others or bathrooms, and bedrooms of your house.
Finally, you know exactly how to tell if a camera has audio or not by using one of the above methods. All the methods mentioned in this blog post are tested by me and some security camera experts.
So, if any of your friends struggle with this problem you can teach him some of these methods or share this blog post to help him or her to know if a camera is recording audio.