Can cameras record when off?

If the power goes out, what happens to your camera? Can cameras record when off?

Primarily you should understand the difference between a disabled camera and a camera that is off.

This article does not apply to broken cameras with cut wires or cameras that were shut down manually or removed from their place.

Today we will go over cameras that are off, such as when the power goes out or connection was lost.

cameras record when off

The camera

While some cameras have an internal battery, others don't. And there are many combinations. So let's go over some.

First off, you can have a wired camera with a connection to power. Meaning, if anything happens and the power goes out, nothing will be recorded.

There are also wireless cameras that are connected straight to the outlet, and upload footage to the cloud for storage. However, they do not have internal batteries.

Other cameras only run on batteries. Therefore, it will need to be replaced every so often. They will continue to record, however, might not upload the footage due to a lack of connection.

In this particular case the cameras record when off and can be very beneficial in the long run. Especially depending on where you live.

Lastly, you can have a camera that has both an outlet connection and a backup battery for continuous recording.

This is usually the most common choice to have the cameras record when off to be able to store footage without missing a part of the recording.


It might all depend on the setup of your camera and the system you install.

The first is to set up a DVR or NVR for your wired camera to store footage. This usually is stored somewhere withing your house to allow access.

Another way is to set up a connection to the cloud. Meaning, the footage will be uploaded to your devices.

This usually requires a monthly payment for the amount of storage you will have. Most wireless cameras utilize this.

Lastly, you can have a combination of both to ensure you will be able to access your footage remotely or far away from home.

All methods can work and should not be disconnected for any purpose. As if they are not connected, no footage will be stored.

Smart Home Security Cameras

SD in computer

Some cameras in the market nowadays, have the power of internal storage. Meaning, for a certain period of time the camera will store the recordings.

Therefore meaning that the cameras record when off, however, there is only a set amount of time this will continue to work.

These cameras do not have to be connected to the cloud or a DVR/NVR to work at the time. They are called Smart Home Security Cameras and are widely available.

Additionally, when the connection is lost, they can quickly switch modes. And restore the footage with the internal storage.

Some can even store up to 3 days worth of footage and when reconnected to WiFi, upload said footage to the cloud without hassle.

However, keep in mind that for those days, you will not be able to watch the footage as it will not be present in the cloud.

SD cameras

Much like cameras with replaceable batteries, these have replaceable storage. Meaning, you insert SD cards and when full, place new ones in.

They are a great alternative to cloud or DVR storage. And the cameras record when off! This quickly solves your problems when it comes to WiFi. 

However, they do need a power source. You might need to connect it to an outlet, meaning if there is no power, it will stop recording. Or you might have to have it on replaceable and rechargeable batteries.

The amount of time that you will be able to record depends on the SD itself. The more gigabytes, the longer it will record because there is more space for storing.

However, this might all depend on what kind of SD and size the camera is compatible with. And the amount of time it can store will all depend on different things.

For example, for bird watching with CCTV cameras, you can install one with features to record when movements are made.

This way, the SD might fill up depending on whether the camera sensed a lot of motion or not. It might also have an effect from the following things:

  • Amount of frames per second (FPS)
  • The camera's resolution
  • SD card capacity
  • Bitrate
  • Motion (if used)

The SD card

Cameras record when off with SD cards

There are also various types of SD cards that can be used for these cameras. Such as the Samsung 64GB and SanDisk Ultra 64GB micro.

You should choose an SD card that is compatible with your camera but will also store as much as you need. The more storage, the longer the cameras record when off.

There are also different speed classes that you should be aware of. For example, classes 2, 4, 6, and 10. The higher the numbers the faster they are.

Let's take the Samsung 64 for example. This is a class 4 or higher. These are used for videos of high definition and resolution.

Keep in mind that some cameras do not support such high capacity SD cards such as 32 or 64 GB. Getting the recommended SD card from the brand is usually best.

The bottom line

All in all, cameras record when off. But not all types of cameras. You must choose what best fits your needs.

SD cameras are a great choice, however, some people find it a hassle to keep having to change the SD cards.

Others prioritize the need to record if the power does go out. Regardless of what you choose, you have now learned something new!

It is possible for cameras to record even when they do not have access to power. But if the camera is disabled, or damaged, it will not record. 

So what is your favorite camera brand? And what do you prioritize when purchasing one? Let us know down below!