How to turn your phone into a webcam (2024): Mac, Windows, iPhone, Android

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tired of looking at Is it like a pixelated blob on your Zoom call? Why use that tiny, low-quality webcam plugged into your laptop when you have a great smartphone camera in your pocket? It’s so easy to use your smartphone as a webcam these days, and some options don’t even require you to plug anything in. We’ve explained in detail how to do it, whether you have an iPhone or Android, Windows or Mac.

We also have instructions for accomplishing the same task using a professional camera or GoPro. If you don’t want to fuss with apps, check out our best webcams guide.

Updated in June 2024: We’ve re-examined every selection, removed out-of-date methods, and added steps for Pixel and Motorola phones.

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How to make a video call from your phone

Before turning your smartphone into a webcam for your computer, the obvious thing to do might be to try running a video meeting using your smartphone. Services like Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams typically have Android and iPhone apps available. All you need to do is install the app, log in and use your phone’s selfie camera and microphone to participate in the meeting.

Whether you do this or follow our methods below, invest in a small tripod to support your phone so you don’t have to balance it against a stack of books. The Joby GripTight is a popular and affordable tripod whose legs can fold to stay stable on almost any surface, though a height-adjustable tripod like this one might be a better option. Lume Cube’s Panel Mini is also a great way to light your face.


Ways to use your phone as a webcam

If you need to quickly join a meeting and chat on and off, you can use a video conferencing app on your phone, but if you’re giving a presentation and need to share your screen, you’ll need a better system. This is where turning your smartphone into a webcam can help.

General tips: When installing the webcam client on your desktop PC or laptop, make sure your favorite videoconferencing app is closed. You may need to relaunch the app or restart your computer for it to work properly.

How to Use Any Phone as a Webcam for Mac or Windows

The solution that works – whether you have an iPhone, Android, Mac or Windows, in any combination – is a service called Reincubate Camo. It’s compatible with more than 40 video-calling apps, from Google Meet and Zoom to FaceTime and Discord. The steps below will work if you’re trying to connect an Android to a Mac, an iPhone to a Windows PC or vice versa.

Photo: Reincubate Camo

Steps to Install Camo:

  1. Download the Camo app on your Mac or Windows machine. Then download the app on iOS or Android. Android phones need to be running version 7.0 or above, and iPhones need to be running iOS 12 or above. It will work on Windows 7 (64-bit) or newer and macOS 10.13 or newer. (Camo also works on iPads.)
  2. Launch the app on your PC and smartphone. Camo supports wireless video transfer, so all you have to do is press the Wi-Fi icon in the Camo app on your phone (after giving it permission to use your microphone and camera), and a QR code scanner should pop up. In the desktop client, click the drop-down menu equipment and choose Pair the deviceYou will see a QR code. Scan it and your phone will connect immediately. If it works, move on to step four.
  3. If you don’t want to go the wireless route, plug in a cable from your phone to your computer – make sure it’s a data-supporting cable (not all USB-C cables support data transfer). (If you have problems, try another cable.) For Android phones connecting to a Windows PC, you’ll need to enable USB debugging mode. To do this, go here Adjustment , about phone and then tap build number Press seven times to enable Developer mode. Once turned on, you can find it here Adjustment , System , Developer modeHowever, some navigation menus may vary depending on your Android phone. USB debugging and turn it on. You may see a pop-up asking if you want to allow USB debugging. If it doesn’t work, unplug the cable and plug it back in. Connecting Android to a Mac? Turn off USB debugging. If you’ve never turned it on, you should proceed further, or go to Developer mode and turn it off. iPhones connected to a Windows PC or Mac should not require additional steps (press faith if a pop-up appears on your phone).
  4. You should now start seeing your rear camera feed on the Camo desktop app. If you don’t see this and you’re connected via cord, unplug the cable from your phone, then restart the Camo app on your computer And Plug the phone back in and you’ll see the feed.
  5. Go to the device settings of your video conferencing app and select Camo as the video camera, and your phone camera’s feed should pop up. You can also change the default microphone to Camo if you want to use your phone as a mic.

The Camo desktop app gives you a number of options to choose from to customize the video feed. This includes 720p video quality and zoom options, and you can remove the watermark. A lot of this is free, but unfortunately, you’ll have to pay for Camo Pro for many cool features like 4K recording, the ability to change lenses, and portrait mode (iPhone owners would be better off using Apple’s Continuity Camera, which we explain in more detail belowCamo offers a few payment options: a lifetime license ($100), an annual subscription ($50), or a monthly subscription ($9).


How to use iPhone as a webcam for Mac with Continuity Camera

Apple’s Continuity Camera lets you use your iPhone as a webcam for your Mac — no third-party software required. Your iPhone needs to be on iOS 16 or later, and your Mac needs to be on macOS 13 Ventura or later. (iOS 16 isn’t available for iPhone 7 or older, so you’ll need to upgrade your device.)

When you open a video-calling app with your iPhone nearby, you’ll see a pop-up telling you that you can use your iPhone as a webcam. The first time I tried to change the camera it didn’t work, but restarting my phone and MacBook did the trick.

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