HomeTechnologyNewsHow to use your iPhone as a webcam with Continuity Camera

How to use your iPhone as a webcam with Continuity Camera

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Use Continuity Camera by opening FaceTime, Photo Booth, or another app that requires a webcam on your Mac. Choose your iPhone from the app’s video or camera settings. Open Control Center to use additional features, such as center stage, portrait mode, or desktop view.

With iOS 16 and macOS 13, you can use Apple’s Continuity Camera to turn your compatible iPhone into a high-quality webcam. It is useful, convenient and simple. Let’s dive.

Continuity Camera Requirements

Even if you have the best built-in webcam (like the one in the 2021 MacBook Pro), your Mac will still provide an inferior image than your iPhone. Optics, overall resolution, and low-light performance are better in an iPhone designed with photography and videography in mind.

Fortunately, Continuity Camera lets you use your iPhone’s high-quality rear camera as a webcam for your Mac.

To use this feature, you’ll need an iPhone XR (introduced 2018) or later, including the iPhone SE 2020 and 2022 update. That phone will need to be running iOS 16, which was released in September 2022.

macOS 13 Ventura Continuity Camera

Also, the newer your iPhone is, the more features you have access to. For example, Center Stage, a feature that follows you around the room using a few software tricks, works with iPhone 11 or later. Desk View, which shows your desktop in front of you, works on iPhone 11 or later (but not iPhone SE). For the Studio Light feature, which artificially boosts the lighting in your scene, you’ll need an iPhone 12 or later.

Continuity Camera is built into macOS 13 Ventura. That means any Mac capable of running macOS 13 can use the Continuity Camera. The feature works in both wired and wireless modes. You won’t need to connect your iPhone to your Mac to use it, although you may want to connect to power if your battery is low.

Don’t worry—you’ll see a notification on your Mac when your iPhone’s battery is low, so you know when to plug it in.

How to use your iPhone as a webcam

You should be able to use the continuity camera in most applications that use a webcam. You may need to explicitly select your iPhone as the input in the app settings, which will be different for each app you use.

During our tests, we were able to get the feature to work (over-the-air) in the following apps:

  • photo booth: Click “Camera” at the top of the screen, then choose your iPhone.
  • Quicktime Player: Click File > New Movie, then select your iPhone from the dropdown box next to the Record button.
  • face time: Click “Video” at the top of the screen, then select your iPhone under the “Camera” subheading.
  • Loose: Click your user icon in the top right corner of the app, then select Preferences > Audio & Video and choose your iPhone from the dropdown menu.

Some apps default to using the iPhone’s camera whenever it’s detected nearby. Occasionally, the iPhone took a few seconds to “bing” and display the disclaimer screen to indicate that it is currently in continuity camera mode.

What you see on your iPhone when the continuity camera is active

Any application should technically works, although if you want to use the feature with a browser like Safari, Apple has implemented some extra security features to prevent accidental transmission.

Apple responded to a Reddit user’s question about using Continuity Camera in the browser to be told that the iPhone must be “in landscape ‘magic pose’, screen off, locked, stationary (not portable), and unobstructed” to function. That means you won’t be able to activate the feature in Safari while holding your iPhone in your hand.

One solution is to lay your iPhone in landscape mode until it’s connected, then pick it up and move it around as needed.

Using Center Stage, Portrait, Studio Lighting and Desk Mode

While using your iPhone as a webcam, click Control Center in the menu bar at the top (right) of the screen, then click Video Effects. From here you can enable a number of different effects that will affect the appearance of your webcam wherever it is used.

Turn on video effects in Control Center in macOS 13 Ventura

Center Stage is perhaps the most useful feature. While this mode is enabled, you can freely walk around the immediate area. Your iPhone will follow you as long as you don’t go too far. Quality can drop as you walk, and your iPhone’s camera is sharpest in the center of the frame.

Portrait mode is the same as the Portrait mode found in the iPhone camera. Introduces an artificial (but often impressive) depth-of-field effect, ideal for blurring the background of the shot. Studio Light is another iPhone feature that artificially enhances the lighting in your shot.

Lastly, a feature called Desk View is perhaps the most interesting. When you first enable it, you will be prompted to “set up” the socket by defining your desktop area. In a FaceTime call, this view will be shared automatically. In other apps, you’ll need to use the screen sharing feature in the app to select the “Desktop View” window that appears for this to work.

Mount your iPhone for best results

You can mount your iPhone to your MacBook using a specially designed Belkin MagSafe iPhone mount. This attaches to the lid of your MacBook and ensures your iPhone is always ready to go, whether you’re taking a FaceTime call, using Slack, or in the middle of a web-based conference on Google Meet.

Safari will automatically pick up your iPhone whenever it’s mounted in place. you do not to have to use the Belkin adapter (or any other specifically designed one). Pretty much any iPhone mount will work, like a GorillaPod attached to a tripod or even your own 3D-printed solution. Of course, the traditional stack of books and tapes works too.

Continuity camera not working? Try these fixes

The Continuity Camera only works if you meet all the requirements. In addition to having an iPhone XR or later running iOS 16 and a Mac running macOS 13 Ventura, you’ll also need to make sure your iPhone and Mac are linked to the same Apple ID.

You’ll also need to have two-factor authentication enabled on your account, and you’ll need to select your iPhone as your preferred camera in whatever app you’re using.

Select which webcam to use with the continuity camera

You’ll need Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled on your iPhone and Mac, with both devices within range of each other (we’d go no further than 30 feet). Personal Hotspot may not be active on your iPhone (Settings > Personal Hotspot), and Internet Sharing may not be active on your Mac (System Settings > General > Sharing). You also can’t be using AirPlay on your Mac or connected to an iPad using SideCar.

We noticed issues getting the Continuity Camera to work wirelessly when using a VPN. Disabling the VPN connection on both devices fixed the issue.

If you’ve tried everything, try Continuity Camera in Wired Mode by connecting your iPhone to your Mac with a cable and trusting each device when prompted.

Connect iPhone to a Mac with macOS 13

Apple recommends locking your iPhone, unlocking it, and then locking it again to resolve some issues. Restarting both devices also fixed an issue we had after immediately installing macOS 13 Ventura.

Lastly, it may be worth installing any pending updates in (System) Settings > General > Software Update (on both devices) if you’re still having issues.

Use your iPhone as a microphone with continuity camera

The Continuity Camera can also function as a wireless microphone. You can select your iPhone in System Settings > Sound > Input to use it to capture ambient audio.

Choose your iPhone as a microphone in macOS 13 sound settings

While it’s active, you can click Control Center followed by “Microphone Mode” to select either Voice Isolation (which attempts to muffle ambient sounds) or Wide Spectrum (which includes a wide range of sounds around you), in addition to the iPhone “Standard” audio captures.

Alternatively, use third-party apps or a dedicated webcam

We previously covered third-party solutions for using your iPhone as a webcam, and these may be worth a try if your current setup doesn’t support the continuity camera.

Alternatively, you can grab a capture card and use your standard camera to get the best possible quality. For a plug-and-play solution, consider a dedicated USB webcam instead.


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