Having a baby requires constant vigilance -- morning and night you are watching over your little one to keep them safe and happy. One indispensable tool for parents is a baby monitor that lets you watch over your child from afar. If you have an old iOS device lying around, then you might want to skip the traditional audio- or camera-based monitors and take a look at Baby Monitor 3G and its new OS X version to see if this software package fits your baby-watching needs.
Baby Monitor 3G from TappyTaps works like a standard baby monitor system with an iOS device serving as a monitor in the baby's room and a second device as the parent's listening station. You can use two iOS devices as the baby-parent station pair or add in a Mac now that the latest version of the Baby Monitor 3G software includes an OS X app. The system works best over WiFi, but you can configure it to work over 3G as well.
In my case, I set up an old iPhone in the baby's room as the baby station and configured both my iPad and my Mac to be parent stations that let me watch my child while I am downstairs. Setting up the software is a bit more complicated than just install, launch and go. You have to pair your devices before the two can connect as a baby and parent station. Pairing is easy and requires you to enter a code from the baby station into the device that is the parent station. A video within the app shows you how to pair the two devices if you are confused by the setup. Once the devices are paired, you don't have to pair them again unless you uninstall the Baby Monitor software.
The OS X version of Baby Monitor 3G serves as a parent station and is very similar to the iOS app. The app launches as a normal-sized window that takes up half the screen on my 13-inch MacBook Pro. It also can be configured to display in a small square that you can place in the corner of your screen. To save battery life, Baby Monitor 3G lets you listen to an audio stream of your baby. Just like the iOS version, the OS X app lets you turn on live video so you can watch your child and make sure he or she is safe. Live video works only on WiFi; you will view a still shot over 3G/4G. If you need additional lighting at night, you can tap the flash button on the parent software and turn on the baby station's camera flash. Be prudent in using the flash as the LED is bright and can startle a half-asleep baby. I found this out the hard way one night at 3 AM.
When your baby cries, the monitoring software turns red and you can hear the crying over your speakers or headphones. If you are using your iPhone as the parent station, you can also get a vibration alert. There is no support for notifications, so you do have to listen for your child or keep an eye on the software. The app keeps track of when your baby last cried, so you can glance at it and see that your child cried x number of minutes ago. If you want to soothe your child, you can speak to them using the speaker on the remote device.
The only detractor that I found was a pairing limitation that allows the baby station to connect to only one parent station at a time. I could listen to my baby while downstairs on the treadmill, but my husband couldn't connect at the same time on his iPad in the living room down the hall. The connection was just for one baby station and one parent station only. This limitation doesn't dissuade me from using Baby Monitor 3G, but you should keep it in mind when comparing this software with other systems like this audio-only one from Vtech that has one baby station and multiple monitors.