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How to turn your smartphone into a webcam

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Screenshot of the Reincubate Camo Webcam app showing a woman smiling

tired of looking Like a pixelated blob on your Zoom calls? Why use that annoying, small, low-quality webcam built into your laptop when you have a really great smartphone camera in your pocket? Nowadays, it has become very easy to use your smartphone as a webcam, and some options don’t even require you to connect anything. We’ve detailed how to do it, whether you have an iPhone or Android, on Windows or Mac.

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

Updated June 2024: We’ve looked at each choice again, removed old methods, and added steps for Pixel and Motorola phones.

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How to make a video call with just your phone

Before turning your smartphone into a webcam for your computer, the obvious thing to do might be to try using your smartphone for video conferencing. Services like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams generally 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 hold your phone so you don’t have to balance it against a stack of books. He Joby GripTight is a popular and affordable tripod with legs that can be contorted to stay stable on almost any surface, although height adjustable tripod like this could be a better option. Lume Cube Mini Panel It’s also a nice way to brighten your face.

Ways to use your phone as a webcam

You can use a video conferencing app on your phone if you need to quickly get into a meeting and participate from time to time, but you’ll need a better system if you’re presenting and have to share your screen. That’s where turning your smartphone into a webcam could come in handy.

General advice: Make sure your preferred video conferencing app is closed when installing a webcam client on your desktop or laptop. You may have to restart the app or restart your computer to get things working.

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 camouflage. It is compatible with more than 40 video calling apps, from Google Meet and Zoom to FaceTime and Discord. The steps below will work if you are trying to connect an Android to a Mac, an iPhone to a Windows PC, or vice versa.

Photography: Reincubate Camo

Steps to set up Camo:

  1. Download the camouflage application on your Mac or Windows machine. Then download the app on iOS either Android. Android phones must be running version 7.0 and higher, and iPhones must be running iOS 12 or later. It will work with Windows 7 (64-bit) or later, and macOS 10.13 or later. (Camouflage too works with iPad.)
  2. Launch the application on your PC and smartphone. Camo supports wireless video transfer, so all you need to do is press the Wi-Fi icon in the Camo app on your phone (after allowing it to use your microphone and camera), and a QR code scanner should appear . In the desktop client, click the dropdown menu below Device and choose Pair a device. You should see a QR code. Scan it and your phone should connect immediately. Go to step four if this works.
  3. If you don’t want to use the wireless route, connect a cable from your phone to your computer; Make sure it is a data-compatible cable (not all USB-C cables support data transfer). (If you have problems, try another cable.) For Android phones that connect to a Windows PC, you will need to enable USB debugging mode. To do this, go to Settings > About of the phone and then tap Build number seven times to enable Developer mode. Once turned on, you can find it in Settings > System > Developer mode, although some of the navigation menus may differ depending on your Android phone. Scroll down to find USB debugging and activate it. You may see a pop-up window asking if you want to allow USB debugging. If it doesn’t work, unplug the cable and plug it in again. Connect an Android to a Mac? Disable USB debugging. If you never turned it on, you should be good to go or head back to Developer mode and turn it off. iPhones that connect to Windows or Mac PCs should not require additional steps (press Trust if the popup appears on your phone).
  4. You should now start seeing your rear camera feed in the Camo desktop app. If it doesn’t and you are connected via a cable, unplug the cable from your phone and then restart the Camo app on your computer. and phone. Plug it back in and you should see the stream.
  5. Go to your video conferencing app’s device settings and choose camouflage as a video camera, and your phone’s camera feed should appear. You can also change the default microphone to Camo if you want to use your phone as a microphone.

You have quite a few options to choose from in the Camo desktop app to customize the video stream. That includes 720p video quality and zoom options, and you can remove watermark. Much of this is free, but unfortunately you will have to pay for professional camouflage For several nifty featuressuch as 4K recording, the ability to switch lenses, and Portrait mode (iPhone owners will likely be better off using Apple’s Continuity Camera, which we detail below.). Camo 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, without the need for third-party software. Your iPhone must be running iOS 16 or later and your Mac must be running macOS 13 Ventura or later. (iOS 16 is not available for iPhone 7 or earlier, so you will need to update your device.)

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

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