How to Haven: Safety for Seniors

You can use the SAFE HAVEN app on an Android Device to help with safety in your home as a senior citizen.

Haven is something we can name that keeps people safe.  The Haven App allows me to be safe at home, with my android device.  It is a great home safety tool and personal security tip.

Did I mention it is free?  That means its at least worth playing with, to get Smart in Five with Haven.  Use it on your phone to monitor for sound, motion or light disruptions, and then notify someone when something happens.  It is only available for Android phones or tablets.  You can use one phone to monitor, but it seems to make more sense to use two: one as the ‘sensor’ phone and one as the ‘alert’ phone.  When the sensor phone is disrupted, it notifies the alert phone.

Who, What, Where, When, Why?

Edward Snowden’s app SAFE HAVEN is a FREE tool for monitoring in your house, using your phone.

SAFE HAVEN is designed to “Protect yourself 24/7 with SAFE HAVEN, the app that turns your smartphone into a powerful personal security device.”  It can be set up to send a notification to a phone when a noise event happen.   They call it defending against the so-called “evil maid” physical and digital attack. They have at least 15 million installations.

Edward Snowden is one or more of the following: Patriot, Terrorist, Technology Genius, Paranoid, Accurate, Liar.  You can pick.  If you like those kinds of conversations, maybe you want to talk a little blockchain.   Regardless of what you think about Snowden, the Haven App is worth considering for monitoring you or your loved ones safety.  Here is Snowden’s Haven App video announcement: ‘imagine the thing you want to protect the most’.   There is larger context for privacy and journalism.  As a non journalist human, or senior citizen concerned with home safety, you can still use the Haven app right now to get comfort with your safety or someone else’s safety.

What does it do?

The Haven app that monitors your personal environment for disruptions in sound, motion, and uses your camera to capture that disruption.  We are the thing we want to protect the most. Wired , Telecrunch, and Engadget all covered the Haven App.

  • Imagine that the phone sits next to you or your mom.
  • When it hears a disruption, it captures and sends an image and a notification to that phone or another phone. It only keeps that image locally on the phone (because its Snowden it feels like you can count on privacy).
  • Knowing this, it is possible to set one phone up to notify another phone with a text message when  it hears a disturbance.
  • The image that it captures is a “heat map” – its not a picture than compromises privacy.
  • You could set up your phone as the alert phone number from your husband’s  sensor phone.  Now place his phone and start the app on your inside doormat of your house.  This way, you will get an alert if there’s any commotion by the front door.  Or place his sensor phone at the bottom of the stairs, and keep your alert phone with you.  Anything that improves your comfort.

You must play with this stuff to figure out if it can work for you.  Don’t be frustrated if it takes a few tries.  In fact, it probably will.  The first time I used the Haven App, it would go off when the dog moved in the middle of the night. I used only one phone as both the sensor phone and alert phone just to try it out to understand how it works.   I had to get a better understanding of when it would be helpful. It’s very cool but I don’t need it in my house, because of the dog.

I can see it being very valuable for safety in a hotel room even with one phone, or use it somehow with a laptop.

SafeHaven from S isn’t available for IOS / Apple devices yet.  There is an app that sounds like it is this one, but it costs $50 and is on this safe haven.

If you are more interested in fall detection and mobility sensors for safety, read this.

How To

Get Set Up

Things you need to remember: Battery life, phone data charges, security of your phone with a passcode, who you send SMS messages to, and whether your phone data is encrypted.  Consider these based on who you are, how much data you think you have on your phone, what you have to lose data wise, who else you are sharing it with etc.

1. Download the Haven App on the Android device you want to use as the sensor phone, and start the App.

This is for android only.  You have to follow links from the Guardian Project to get the right download link; if you search it by name in the play store you may get some other app.    You can only use an android phone.  If you prefer an IOS phone for real life, pick up a cheap android burner somewhere and use it on Wifi.

2.  Find SETUP in the navigation on the sensor phone.

3.  Select CONFIGURE, after you have swiped left two times in the app on the sensor phone.

There are four baselines/settings for the Haven App:

  • Photo
  • Sound
  • Motion
  • Notification – set notifications up to go to the alert phone (yours)

Move your phone around and watch the screen; the setup is intuitive and you can pick three settings.  Its ok just pick something that you think could work; Perfect is the Enemy of the GOOD.

4. See YOUR HAVEN IS READY on the sensor phone.

5. Select finish / swipe to end on the sensor phone.

You should see the TAP TO CHANGE COUNTDOWN screen showing 30 seconds.

you have finished the setup!

Monitor with HAVEN App

If you want to try playing with your settings, place your phone somewhere to listen.

If you aren’t already on the countdown screen, activate the monitoring mode using the yellow arrow action button on the main screen.

A.  Choose START NOW on the sensor phone.

Countdown will, in fact, start to countdown.

B.  Wait for countdown to end, and you are monitoring!

C.  Don’t do anything, then do something.

D.  Check your text messages on the alert phone, log files or other for notifications.


This is the part where you play with it.  Change your photo, sound or motion settings.  Place the phone.  use it while you are taking a nap.  Use it while your husband is napping.  See how it works for you.