Tired of looking like a pixelated blob on your Zoom calls? Why use that pesky, tiny, low-quality webcam embedded in your laptop when you have a seriously great smartphone camera in your pocket? It has become really easy to use your smartphone as a webcam these days, and some options don’t even require you to plug anything in. We’ve detailed how to do this whether you have an iPhone or Android, on Windows or Mac.
We also have instructions for using a professional camera or GoPro to handle the same task. If you don’t want to fuss with apps, check out our Best Webcams guide.
Updated July 2022: We’ve added Camo’s Android compatibility and Continuity Camera.
Table of Contents
No PC Required: How to Video Call With Just Your PhoneMac and Windows: How to Use Any Phone as a WebcamWindows Only: How to Use Any Phone as a Webcam for WindowsMac Only: How to Use iPhone as a Webcam for Mac With Continuity CameraMac Alternative: Using an iPhone/iPad as a Webcam for (Intel) MacsSpecial offer for Gear readers: Get a one-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
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How to Make a Video Call With Just Your Phone
Before converting your smartphone into a webcam for your computer, the obvious thing might be to try using your smartphone to run a video meeting. 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 prop your phone up so you don’t have to balance it against a pile of books. The Joby GripTight is a popular and affordable tripod with legs that can contort to stay stable on almost any surface, though a height-adjustable tripod like this might be a better option. Lume Cube’s Mobile Creator Lighting Kit is also a nice way to illuminate your face.
Ways to Use Your Phone as a Webcam
You can use a videoconferencing app on your phone if you just need to sit in on a meeting and chime in now and then, but you’ll need a better system if you’re presenting and have to share your screen. That’s where it could help to convert your smartphone into a webcam.
General tip: Make sure your preferred videoconferencing app is closed when you’re installing a webcam client on your desktop PC or laptop. You may need to relaunch the app or restart your computer to get it all working.
How to Use Any Phone as a Webcam for Mac or Windows
The solution that works no matter 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.
Courtesy of Reincubate