Android

The 4 Best Dash Cam Apps for Android, Compared

Gavin Phillips Updated 15-04-2020

Are you interested in a new dashcam? Whether you want an extra set of eyes in case of an accident or you’re curious about your driving habits, a dashcam can help you out.

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You could buy a new purpose-built dashcam. Or to save money, you could use a free Android dashcam app. There are several excellent free dashcam apps available for Android, with a range of handy features.

Here are some of the best free Android dashcam apps you can start using right now.

Testing the Android Dashcams

To test these apps, I used a Samsung Galaxy S8 running Android 9. In my car I have a generic clamp-style suction-cup window mount smartphone holder, like the one pictured below. The phone had to be slightly offset from being centered in the holder, to avoid the clamp taking up the shot. You may notice a black object in the top right or left corner of the videos because of that.

samsung suction mount resize

Unfortunately, having to shift the smartphone off-center in the clamp adds some vibration to the video capture. That said, the dashcam apps and the smartphone camera itself mitigate some vibration, so the overall video capture is relatively smooth. If you’re fiddling with a smartphone car clamp, check out these tips on how you can improve the mount 9 Useful DIY Ways to Set Up a Tablet or Smartphone Car Mount Don't spent money on flimsy and unreliable dashboard mounts for your phone or tablet. Here's how to make a DIY car phone holder. Read More .

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The biggest issue that Android dashcam apps face is toggling between day and night. Some dedicated dashcams will record better-quality video at night or variable light levels than a dashcam app. The quality of nighttime recording using an Android device relates to the quality of the camera in your device. The better the camera, the better the quality.

The latest Android smartphone devices are likely to cope better with filming at nighttime, though no Android smartphone will give you a perfect result.

Another consideration is battery use. Android dashcam apps use several power-draining features simultaneously, which will drain even the sturdiest of smartphone batteries. You can use an in-car charger to keep your smartphone battery topped up. However, this also runs the risk of causing your smartphone to overheat.

An overheating smartphone can cause damage to the battery and other important components, so you must balance your battery life and Android dashcam app use.

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The Best Free Android Dashcam Apps

Now that you know our criteria for testing the Android dashcams, its time to take a look at which free Android dashcam app you should use.

You should also note that some of the following dashcam apps also offer a pro version. Though these premium versions of the apps offer a wider range of features, you can often find the same features for free in an alternative app.

1. AutoBoy Dash Cam

autoboy blackbox android dashcam app

AutoBoy Dash Cam is a free Android dashcam packed with handy features. The app is simple to use and allows you to flick between different camera options, exposure levels, capture orientation, and more—all without having to wade through complicated menus.

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You can choose to add GPS tracking to your video capture. Plus, the GPS also updates as you drive, showing your current location. If you get into an accident, AutoBoy Dash Cam will lock the recording video to protect the evidence.

You can also set AutoBoy to start or finish automatically. This works using a connection to a car dock, power socket, or Bluetooth to begin recording (or loss of connection to stop).

Other features include YouTube backups (back up your files automatically as unlisted videos), background recording, limited video length, screen gridlines (to help you calibrate and center), and automatic file deletion.

AutoBoy isn’t without issue, though. The crash detection video lock feature is at times very sensitive and a little overzealous. I bumped a curb slightly and AutoBoy Dash Cam began protecting the video as if an accident took place. A similar situation occurred with a particularly craterous pothole.

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Download: AutoBoy Dash Cam (Free)

2. AutoGuard Dash Cam

autoguard dashcam app

AutoGuard Dash Cam provides several pro-tier features for free (as well as offering an actual Pro subscription). You’ll find settings for maximum video storage size, automatic YouTube and Google account uploading, encoding bitrate, white balance, and much more.

In terms of emergency recording, AutoGuard will protect your recording automatically in the event of a collision. You can set AutoGuard to discard all recordings on completion if there isn’t a collision or emergency event.

This is a great feature, because if you drive for a long period or multiple times per day, you can create a huge volume of useless dashcam footage rapidly. You can also set the length of time AutoGuard will continue recording for following a collision event, which is another excellent option.

Furthermore, AutoGuard can make an automatic call when it detects an accident. You can set the number to call in the advanced settings.

Interestingly, AutoGuard Dash Cam also includes a flash mode, which turns your Android smartphone camera on when applied. The result is bright enough that AutoGuard can capture some additional footage in the dark but also reflects on the windshield, so the overall effect is limited.

Overall, AutoGuard Dash Cam is simple enough that anyone can download and begin using it, but it comes with enough features to appeal to a broad market.

Download: AutoGuard Dash Cam (Free, premium version available)

3. Drive Recorder

drive recorder dashcam app android overlay

Drive Recorder offers a basic-but-effective approach to Android dashcams. The Drive Recorder app still provides a decent range of configuration options, such as the maximum video storage size, limit on recording duration, the GPS update rate, and the whether to record your in-car audio. It also offers background recording as a standard feature, whereas other apps lock background recording behind a subscription or upgrade.

One element we really liked about Drive Recorder is the playback screen. This divides your screen in half, showing the video on top and a map of the route you took on the bottom.

However, the downsides are that Drive Recorder doesn’t include any emergency features, such as instant emergency service contact, video locking, or GPS location sharing. Furthermore, unless you specify otherwise, Drive Recorder will auto-overwrite older videos, which could become an issue.

Finally, the default save location isn’t easy to reach, and you can’t change the file path. Although you can share the video using the in-app viewer, I had to locate the specific file path using Total Commander (a separate file explorer app) before copying into an easier-to-reach location.

Still, emergency features and irritating file path aside, Drive Recorder is an effective free dashcam app for Android.

There’s one more caveat to using it, though: since Drive Recorder is a free app, it’s supported by ads. While this is completely understandable, changing popup ads are distracting, especially if your Android device holder is in your line of vision.

Head to Settings, then scroll down to the bottom and toggle Close advertisements to stop them popping up and changing while the app is in use.

Download: Drive Recorder (Free)

4. Dash Cam Travel

dashcam travel android app

The final free Android dashcam to check out is Dash Cam Travel, which offers a free option as well as four separate paid tiers. Each Dash Cam Travel tier unlocks an extra set of options, targeting “Professionals” or “Sport” users.

The free Dash Cam Travel option allows background recording and foreground recording without the overlay. This means that you can choose whether to include the dashcam overlay in your recordings. If you choose to include it, your dashcam playback will also feature your speed, recording time, the date, and a GPS map that updates as you drive.

Switching the overlay off also alters the video resolution. Without the overlay, Dash Cam Travel uses standard video resolutions to record, such as 1920×1080 or 1280×720. When you add the overlay to the recording, the recording resolution changes slightly to accommodate the difference in size, such as 1920×936 or 1280×624 (or the much larger 2220×1080).

Still, those slight downgrades to video resolution don’t make much of a difference in the dashcam quality. You’ll still be able to pick out a license plate from a video in the event of an accident.

You’ll find the upgrade options in the Dash Cam Travel app. Prices vary from a few dollars for the first premium tier, all the way up to nearly $40 for the unlimited version (which includes all current and future updates “without limitations”).

Download: Dash Cam Travel for Android (Free, in-app purchases available)

What’s the Best Android Dashcam App?

You can see from the dashcam captures above that the quality across Android dashcam apps is quite similar. As mentioned, the recording quality of your Android dashcam relates to your smartphone camera, rather than the app itself. Of course, some apps use different encoders, so there is some variation in quality.

Clearly, though, the free Android dashcam apps work just as well as premium alternatives. As all of the featured apps are free, you can try each option to figure out what suits your Android smartphone and in-car setup.

Of course, getting your dashcam positioned and angled to perfection is important. Have a look at our dashcam tips 7 Useful Dashcam Tips to Help You Use It to Its Fullest Potential Installing a dashcam means more than sticking it to the windshield. These tips will to help you get the most out of your dashcam. Read More for help with using your hardware to its fullest potential. And if smartphone dashcams aren’t cutting it, why not try a dedicated dashcam instead? We’ve reviewed the VAVA 4K UHD dashcam, which is a great option.

Explore more about: Android Apps, Automotive Technology, Dashcam.

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  1. Tom
    May 29, 2018 at 9:09 am

    What about Android app.: DashCam Travel? It's new and it has nice user interface, loop recording, background recording, auto-start etc.. I am using everyday. I recommend.

  2. Derek
    June 2, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    I've been using Car Camera for the last month. I think this one is new on the market and it's paid. Clean interface and it does what it should. I recommend.

  3. Shawn
    April 22, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    I have been using an app called DailyRoadsVoyager for years now and love it! It has tons of options, can record in many different video formats and works solid on my cheap, $20 Android phone.

  4. craig
    August 10, 2016 at 5:25 am

    Regarding a power supply for the phone:

    "For power, I used the phone’s AC charger plugged into an inverter. All three of these apps use a ton of power for video recording, so I advise that you do the same thing."

    An inverter will take your car's 12V DC power supply and convert it to 110V AC (or 220V depending where you are). Plugging your phone's wall charger into that will then convert the AC supply down to 5V DC, as required by your phone. This is quite inefficient and adds another point of failure to one's recording setup - indeed, probably the most fragile of car electronics is the DC-to-AC inverter, if buying on the cheap.

    Better to cut out the inverter entirely and instead buy a DC car charger that can supply sufficient current to a phone that's drawing a lot during recording use. This typically won't exceed 2.1A, so find a 5V 2.1A charger and you'll be set (or buy the phone manufacturer's own brand of car charger, which should supply precisely what your phone needs, even under heavy load).

    Note, some phones require 5.1V or 5.3V (and sometimes even other voltages) so look at your wall charger to see what it lists as 'Output' and look online for a car charger that has the same specs. The voltage needs to be the same but the current (Amps or milliAmps) can be equal or greater.

  5. Dimitar Djongov
    August 1, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Is there an DVR app that can record from the both cameras of the phone ( front and back ) at the same time ?

  6. Yod
    March 29, 2016 at 6:22 am

    I can get Caroo to record for a few seconds, then it closes the entire app. Read all 56 pages of manual.

    • Guy McDowell
      March 30, 2016 at 12:32 am

      Your best bet is to contact the developers at CaroO for help.

  7. Yaniv Gelnik
    March 21, 2016 at 3:54 am

    Hello, I'm looking for a dash cam that records front and back simultaneously, and has a button that when pressed will upload to the cloud the most recent 15 seconds as well as the next 15 seconds.

    Does that exist?

    • Guy McDowell
      March 30, 2016 at 12:33 am

      I don't know. If it does, it's probably a dedicated dash-cam and not an Android app.
      If it doesn't exist, maybe that's your new business!

  8. Paul
    February 3, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Caroo wouldn't work on my HTC m8. Just says caroo stopped when I open it. Real shame as like the idea of obd. Now using camonroad and looks good.

  9. Anonymous
    October 30, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    CamOnRoad is the best one I've used so far. Not only is it completely FREE but you can turn the screen off and it will still record, and every option in it is available. It also records audio by default. I used the free version of Autoguard before and audio recording, recording with the screen off, and nearly all options in it are only available in the $3 "Pro" version. Also if playing music via bluetooth off my phone in my car, it was constantly pausing and skipping. There's lots of complaints on the Google app store about Autoguard (both free and Pro versions) freezing/crashing too, which I saw it freeze and crash a few times when I used it. CamOnRoad hasn't frozen or crashed on me once, and it works great.

  10. Anonymous
    September 22, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    I download the caroCaro free app. How and where do I turn the dash cam on. Can not find it to save my life. Is the dash cam only available in the pro version?

    • Guy McDowell
      September 30, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      It's available in the free version for 100 recordings.

      In the settings menu, there should be some help files.

      The layout of this app has changed drastically since I wrote this article in May, 2014 so I'm not completely sure where things are now.

      I believe it also had the capability to start when your car was in motion. Don't quote me on that though.

      • Anonymous
        October 26, 2015 at 4:13 am

        "I believe it also had the capability to start when your car was in motion. Don’t quote me on that though."

        Did you continue using a smartphone as a dash cam? If so, which was eventually your preferred app?

        Also, "I believe it also had the capability to start when your car was in motion. Don’t quote me on that though." - Guy McDowell, 30 September 2015

        ;-)

        • Guy McDowell
          October 26, 2015 at 6:07 pm

          I seldom use the smartphone as a dashcam. A dedicated dashcam is much better in my opinion.

          When I do use the phone as a dashcam, I use CaroO Free. Not really sure why. It's just the one I kept on the phone.

  11. Lawrence Rhodes
    May 26, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Having a hard time finding an app that will record on front & rear cameras simultaneously. You can buy a two camera dash cam but still no app for dual recording.

  12. traver92064
    March 18, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Wondering if we can use an external camera with wifi or bluetooth to the phone with a dashcam recorder. Thay way you mount the camera and keep the phone off the hot windshield.

    • Guy
      March 20, 2015 at 11:19 am

      I haven't seen it yet, but that sounds like a good idea.

      Fill your phone with a large microSD card, have the video stream into that. Then in the case of a traffic incident, you'd have it on your phone, not the camera that got damaged in a crash, or grabbed by an angry person.

      Internets, make this happen!

  13. glenn E
    February 20, 2015 at 4:05 am

    I can not get Auto Guard's .GP video to play on my windows 7 computer, it's not supported. I even tried Oxelon video converter, not supported. Can anyone explain how? I also can not even find Cam on Roads files on my sd card of the phone.

    • Guy
      February 20, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      The Cam on Roads files might not have gone to your SD card, but into the phone's native storage. The default location it saves to is: /storage/emulated/0/Android/data/com.camonroad.app/files/videos

      About AutoGuard's .GP video, do you mean .3gp? If it's .3gp there should be several players you can download that will run it.

  14. buythismobile
    February 3, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    DAILY ROADS stops recording when my phone locks and screen turns off ?

    Hello, Daily road is a great application but can you confirm that it is because of my mobile that it stop recording when screen turns off and locks ?

    I have a Samsung Galaxy Prime duos and I want to use the minimum battery to record long time when my car is parked, how can I do ?

    Thank you so much.

  15. Martin
    December 12, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Got AutoGuard on my phone and it is worse than useless. Nice 'Feature' list, looks polished and seems to be working fine until you need the video when you find the video is corrupt. While the video before and after are ok.

  16. Guy
    October 14, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Torque and Dash. I'll have to check those out. Maybe another round-up of dashcam apps needs to be done in a few months.

  17. James
    October 9, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I have been looking into different dash cams and one site recommended one for thirty dollars, but it seemed like every device had some limitation, and only one was rated for our Arizona summers. Then I wondered about apps and found your page. There is a version of AutoGuard called Blackbox that does full HD and CarO says that it does full HD if the camera is capable. I excitedly told some friend about CarO and they dismissively said that Torque does all of the same things. It turns out there is a plug-in that allows you to use Torque as a dash cam, but it does not seem to have many features.
    Also, I found another app named Dash that seems to have even more features than CaroO!

  18. Gerry
    May 7, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Can the cam apps record at the same time you're using the phone as a GPS with an app such as Waze?

    • Guy M
      May 8, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Yes! In fact CaroO gives you the ability to set two buttons to open apps of your choice. Many people set at least one of these to some sort of map or GPS program.

      All of these will record in the background, so you can have whatever app you want running in the foreground.

      • James
        November 4, 2016 at 2:40 pm

        I was hoping these would run in the background. I'm looking to use my Samsung S7 Edge as a dash cam. Most cameras in Samsung higher-end phones are better than most dash cam's. Only complaint of course is the night, when I do most of my driving, I hope these apps can adjust exposure, that way I can get more detail at night (i do have HID front lights, so that will help).

  19. Cho
    May 6, 2014 at 5:14 am

    Actually, the Mobius Action Cam has a Dashcam Mode and does an excellent 1080P Video.
    Costs about $70 on eBay.

    • Guy M
      May 6, 2014 at 11:26 am

      It's amazing how much the prices have dropped in the last month even. If you search eBay, DealExtreme, or even AliExpress, there are deals to be had. Do the research first though, as there are no major electronics players in this market yet, so there are some shifty ones out there.
      Don't be surprised if this becomes standard equipment on cars in 2-3 years. Anything that'll save insurance companies money usually does.

  20. Steve Rathbun
    May 6, 2014 at 3:08 am

    Hey Guy!
    Okay.Static tested the three dashcams. I like the caronroad.Good quality,easy to use,and camera reverses-front to back. Great for narration. The CarO was totally unsatisfactoury,and autoguard tries incessantly to sell the pro. These two I removed from my phone.(Motorazr M). I put my sisters phone number in it as opposed to 911.
    Question;how can I load the videos to my PC? I have storage set to ext.SD.
    I live(with five cats)in amotourhome-caravan,I believe you Brits call it,and travel a lot. I have an HD dashcam installed,this will be a nice back up.
    Thanks old man!

    • Guy M
      May 6, 2014 at 11:24 am

      That's why I liked CarOnRoad as well - dead easy to use.
      Connect your phone to your PC like you would normally and use Windows Explorer to navigate to where the video is stored. Then just copy, or cut, and paste it on to your PC's drive.
      The video will lack the extra information that you see when viewing it on the phone. It'll just be raw video and audio.
      I'm actually Canadian, but we do have a lot of Brits writing for us. They took pity on this Colonist and let me join their ranks! ?

    • Zen
      August 18, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Are you guys mistakenly talking about the CamOnRoad, or just trying to confuse the readers with all this talk of CarOnRoad?

    • Guy M
      August 18, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      @Zen Sorry, you're correct. We're talking about CamOnRoad

  21. Anonymous
    May 6, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Can any/all of these programs write to an external card?
    Can you set a limit on how much memory is used?
    Will any of these run on an old version of Android? I've got an old Razr Droid X that might make a good dash cam.

    Thanks for the article.

    • Guy M
      May 6, 2014 at 11:20 am

      I was able to set them all up to write to a microSD card in the phone. It's pretty easy to do, really.
      If I recall correctly, you could set a limit as to how long the video was in all of them. I think you could set a total memory limit as well. I do know the paid versions had that for certain.
      You may be able to run these on older Android versions. The best bet is to check the developer pages for that information. Or download the trial versions and just give it a go!

  22. adie
    May 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I would be careful as some police do not take well a screen visble to the driver other than the windscreen.

    • Guy M
      May 6, 2014 at 11:18 am

      That's true. There are some places where you can't have anything extra attached to windshield, as well.

  23. John
    May 5, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    I tried the phonecam idea for a while, but I bought a real camera in the end. It cost 100 UK pounds, neatly fitted so the wires were hidden.
    The greatest thing about it is you just forget it is there. It comes on with the ignition and runs about ten minutes after I turn the key off. It overwrites old files once it has filled the SD card leaving me with the last 5 hours of driving recorded.
    I can even set it to motion detect when I park the car.
    I think the problem with the smartphone solution is that the day you need it is that day that you forget to set it up. In the UK we are not allowed to see the screen on the back of the camera. It would be useful if these apps could turn the screen off while recording as it is this that is using all the power that might overheat the phone. You only need the film after something has happened or after you have driven somewhere nice to look at.
    My camera has none of the other uploading, WiFi, Blutooth tricks that the software has, but you soon tire of it. All you really want is reliable video recording.
    Finally, I know this was a test, but I think a dedicated car charger for your phone would be better than using its mains charger with an inverter!

    • Guy M
      May 6, 2014 at 11:17 am

      All of the apps would continue to record with the screen turned off. And you are correct, a dedicated charger would be better.

  24. Warren L
    May 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    I am replacing my Moto Razr with a new phone next week. Can I use the Razr as just a dash cam without needing a data plan from carrier? That way it offloads some application from my new phone. Just curious.

    • Robert C
      May 5, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      I was wondering the same. Anybody know this?

    • Bill
      May 5, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      Yes you can, I'm using my old Rezound right now after reading this article. You will need to have WiFi to get the program downloaded, but after that the only thing you need is your GPS and a mount.

      Using an old phone is a much better solution than throwing my Note3 on my dashboard lol I have heard that the sun beating down on the phones will cause damage over time.

  25. Badi R
    May 5, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Any dash cam app for iOS?

  26. Stephen T
    May 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I've used Dashboard Cam https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.busywww.dashboardcam for several years originally with My HTC EVO 4G. The author has updated it a fair amount and listened to feedback. I tried other apps back then and this was the best I found (and inexpensive). I haven't searched for a new app recently, but might give one of the above a test. I have a OBDII reader and use it with Torque already.

    • Guy M
      May 5, 2014 at 11:16 am

      Care to share more on how you like Torque with the OBDII reader? Do you find it useful or just interesting?

  27. David
    May 3, 2014 at 4:38 am

    I tried using my phone with apps other than these, I have a good quality phone a Samsung Galaxy S4, I found that having the camera on all the time, with the sun beating on the phone, would cause the phone to over heat, if plugged in I would get errors that the battery was too hot and charging had been stopped. I opted for a $20 dash cam on ebay, it was a much easier answer.

  28. MattB5
    May 3, 2014 at 3:55 am

    DailyRoads Voyager is another great free app. http://www.dailyroads.com/voyager/m/home

    • Guy M
      May 5, 2014 at 11:17 am

      I heard good things about DailyRoads, but just couldn't get it to work on my phone.

    • Guy M
      May 5, 2014 at 11:19 am

      @Dexter, in the time it took me to do my testing and write the article, I've seen decent quality dash cams drop under $100.

  29. CJ
    May 2, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Or you can just buy a real dashcam!

    • Dexter Dumpster
      May 3, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      We could, but a good one is expensive and $3 beats $500 any day of the week. I fully intend to have a real dashcam some day, but in the meantime, AutoGuard works really well for me.

    • Junior
      April 7, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Guy M

      Can I have your mail address Urgent request?

      J.L.D

    • Guy
      April 8, 2015 at 12:14 am

      If you have a question, we can't answer those through e-mail. Post your question here, and I'll do my best to answer it.

  30. Paul Werner
    May 2, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    You can set AutoGuard to only charge when docked so it doesn't charge for any charger input. Thanks for the article, going to check out CaroO to try out the record automatically when I start driving.

    Also, AutoGuard has a vibrant beta community on G+ where the developer answers questions and adds suggested features

    • Guy M
      May 5, 2014 at 11:18 am

      The AutoGuard community is a real plus. That's a good indicator of how long the app will last and how it will develop.