There are numerous situations where you might want to quickly record a video on your phone without it actually looking like you’re recording a video on your phone, whether you’re looking to stay safe in a vulnerable situation, protesting in a country that does not necessarily want to see anyone protesting, or keeping law enforcement accountable.
This puts Apple and Google in a bit of a bind, because hidden video recording on a smartphone is not something that they want to encourage. Yes, it can be useful and potentially life-saving — but it can also be very easily abused for all kinds of sinister purposes. With that in mind, there aren’t any apps or tricks you can use to record video completely in secret.
There are, however, tricks for quickly recording clips while your phone is locked, and dimming the screen while video is being recorded, and more besides. It’s worth knowing about what these options are on your phone, should you ever be in a situation of needing to rely on one of them.
If you need to quickly get to the video recording functionality on an iPhone when the screen is locked, press the power button, long press the camera button (lower right), then press and hold the shutter button: The photo mode suddenly becomes the video mode, and a recording is initiated.
You’ll need to keep your finger pressed down for the recording to continue. Once it’s finished, only the clip that’s just been recorded will be accessible without unlocking the device fully — to stop anyone accessing this most recent video too, you can lock the phone again with another tap on the power button.