Saturday, November 27, 2021
Reviews

Review: Security Spy is one of my most used apps

I’ve been a user of Security Spy camera recording software for many years. SecuritySpy is software made by bensoftware based in the U.K. In 2017, I voted it as my favorite software product of the year for Apple World Today. Here is my review of SecuritySpy from December 2019. 

What makes Security Spy so good?

SecuritySpy can record an unlimited number of cameras. There are tiers one can purchase such as 1, 4, 8, 16 and unlimited cameras. I have the 16 camera version and normally record 9 to 11 cameras. 

The software is too advanced to go into a deep review, but if you have any interest at all in recording cameras, SecuritySpy is the go-to software. Not only can it record any number of cameras you want, but uses very little processing power. On an older 2014 Mac mini I am recording nine cameras using motion detection, and the processor usage for SecuritySpy on the Intel i5 processor stays anywhere from 12 to 15%. This is quite impressive for 9 cameras on such old hardware. This is a testament to the coding of SecuritySpy.

SecuritySpy offers an app for $5 on the Apple App Store that lets you control your cameras from anywhere. You can view footage, enable and disable recording, and much more. You can set up alerts and have them send by email or in the app.

One alert I use often is to alert me when there is motion in the garage. I have SecuritySpy set up to do this only from sunset to sunrise. As the months progress, SecuritySpy changes the time daily that alerts are enabled. It sets this time frame based on my location.

The software basically runs itself once you have it set up. It requires little to no attention. I have had the camera server running for multiple months with no attention. Once after many months the i5 Mac mini rebooted itself. SecuritySpy came back up running and recording and I never had to do anything.

Is version 5 worth the upgrade?

I had used version 4.x of SecuritySpy for years. Is version 5 worth the price of the 30% discounted upgrade? Literally in a word, “Yes.” But what makes it worth the upgrade?

First and foremost for me is Apple M1 support. I had been running SecuritySpy on an i5 for years, and was eager to try it on an M1. My wife has an M1 Mac mini with 16GB ram and 2TB of storage. We loaded SecuritySpy version 5 on it, and the results were impressive. With nine cameras, the most CPU usage I would see was 7%. Often it was much lower. No matter what else was done on the Mac mini, Security Spy never had any issues nor did it cause any problems. If you have an M1 Mac, upgrade SecuritySpy without hesitation.

I use motion detection to record when there is activity within the specified area of each camera. Version 5 expands upon this by using the power of the M1 to enable AI-powered smart motion detection. SecuritySpy can tell if the motion is a person or car for example. The M1 is substantial faster at the AI processing than an Intel CPU. According to Ben Bird, the creator of SecuritySpy, the M1 can process smart detection in 1ms vs. 50ms for an Intel based Mac–50 times faster.

Version 5 now supports H.256 HEVC for high-effency streaming and recording.

Metal graphics is now supported for ultra high performance video.

There is a great new dashboard feature which is one of my favorite additions to SecuritySpy. You can easily see how much processing power each camera is using along with how much bandwidth, and other statistics.

Dark mode is now supported.

For me, the M1 support is enough to upgrade. If you have version 4 and an M1 there is no question about upgrading, but even the other features such as dark mode and dashboard make it well worth the cost. The upgrades offer a 30% discount if you already have a license.

SecuritySpy is one of the best Mac-only apps I’ve ever used. Though much of what I do requires a Windows computer, I plan to always keep at least one Mac just simply for SecuritySpy.

One “intangible” benefit of SecuritySpy is the support. Ben Bird is very quick to respond to emails– usually within an hour or two during the day. There is also a user forum where Ben is very active as well as other others to answer any questions and give any advice.

Security Spy is my single most used application. It runs 24/7 and is rock-solid reliable. I give SecuritySpy 5 out of 5 stars. 

Marty Edwards
the authorMarty Edwards