Manything turns your old iPhone or iPod touch in to a security camera

Many thing video footage view

We’ve reviewed iPad bike apps, iPhone apps and Android apps on London Cyclist and we’ve even talked about the implication of new technology such as Google Glass on cycling. Therefore, when this new app came in to our inbox, we thought it was worth mentioning to readers.

Manything is a free app for your iPhone or iPod touch and it allows you to video record and stream it live to your own private space on the Manything website. Users will get 3.5 hours of video storage for free, although the first 1000 people who sign up to Manything will get 5gb of video storage (roughly 24 hours) for free.

Those who want more, can pay $2.95 (around £1.90) per month for 3gb, rising all the way up to $99.95 for 500gb.

But why would cyclists use it?

It’s a perfectly fair question, and one I must admit I asked myself when I came across the app for the first time.

The organisers tell me that Manything can look to utilise the thousands of unused iPhones and iPods that are left in the back of drawers when their owners have upgraded.

For cyclists, this could mean being able to record your bike while its sat at home, utilising the phone and Manything as some sort of theft prevention device.

But there are questions that arise from this idea:

  1. Why wouldn’t the thief take the iPhone too?
  2. What do you when you’ve got a video of a stranger, presumably dressed in dark clothes without a name tag, stealing your bike?

Perhaps the answer to question 1 is that you keep your iPhone or iPod touch hidden, so that a thief wouldn’t spot it. Although, I question how easy it would be to do this – especially if you had to run a power cable to keep your device charged.

The answer to question 2 is a tougher one. Even with CCTV footage, identifying a thief will be tough.


The developers of Manything have done well to make the system as versatile as possible. They are working to develop outdoor chargers, stands and long leads that will mean you can record both indoors and out, high and low, without running out of battery.

On the bike

While Manything initially was presented to me as being a way to keep an eye on your bike while you’re out,  I think a more realistic use would be on the bike itself, with you by its side.

I’ve often envied those who cycle along with their Go-Pro cameras, recording clips of their journeys and any incidents with drivers. While obviously this would affect your battery, I think this is where Manything could be a great tool for cyclists in London.

Take this morning. I was cycling to work when a cab driver cut across me, putting me in danger, and then shouting out of his window as if I’d done something wrong. If I’d had my iPhone mounted to my bike recording my journey, I’d have been able to log in to once at my desk, review the footage, and note down the black cab driver’s license plate if I’d wanted to take it further.

In reality

I like the premise behind Manything and I’m sure people will find different uses for it.

The app itself is completely free, and the developers tell me they’re still very much in the process of tinkering the app and constantly trying to make it better.

As an app, it’s slick, well designed and very easy to use. The website too is clear and smooth, and videos stream quickly and effortlessly.

As a free app it’s definitely worth playing around with – and if you can think of any further ways in which cyclists could use it, let us know in the comments.

What I like: Smooth design, versatility and free to use (depending on video quantity and size)

What I dislike: I’m still unsure as to why people would throw an old iPhone in the back of a drawer – there’s always demand on eBay!

Good for: Catching a thief? Maybe. Go-Pro camera alternative? Perhaps. Non-cycling related uses? Definitely.


Join 10,221 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter

Sign up for our free newsletter to get...

  • Advice on the best cycling gear
  • A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
  • Exclusive content not available on the blog

Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)

*No spam, ever!

As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

One Response to Manything turns your old iPhone or iPod touch in to a security camera

  1. Ed 05/07/2013 at 11:20 am #

    The only thing I can see this being used for is recording covert sex videos. Even then I am not sure how “covert” they are if the screen is lit up.

    Andreas if you are jealous of GoPro wearing riders and can’t afford one as they are a considerable wedge why don’t you just invest in one of those small Chinese DV mini cams?

    It’s all good and well recording motorists or even just writing their registration down. Unfortunately it is all pretty futile if the police do nothing about it and witnesses are reluctant.

    Attitudes need to drastically change in this country and the only way that can be done is cycling education that is compulsary in schools and to have a cycling part of the driving theory and practical test.

    When I was at school it was compulsary for us to do gymnastics. I can safely say that I have never climbed a rope, performed a headstand, handstand, forward or backward roll, headspring or felt the need to jump over a horse!

    But I have had to learn in the past few years how to change a tyre, repair a puncture, clean and lube a bike, fit new cables and adjust things with a torque wrench – mainly off the internet!

    Sorry – gone off topic a bit. Good that it’s free I guess but in the world of apps means very little to me. I agree that who has an iPhone sitting in a drawer?

    I have a 3Gs that is my everyday phone as all my contacts are on there and it’s pocketable & my contract is £5 a month for 3000 minutes. I also have an S3 that is used for everything else and unlimited data. If I had no need for the iPhone – as you said I’d rather just flog it and get £70+ on Ebay.

Leave a Reply