An iPhone as a webcam: Apple's Continuity Camera and Android's answer


For what it calls Continuity Camera, Apple has also launched a special miniature iPhone holder that can be used to clip your phone onto the back of the MacBook's display. — Apple/dpa

BERLIN: In the coming months, Apple will release its new operating system iOS 16 for iPhones and iPads, as well as macOS Ventura for Mac computers.

Among the most anticipated new features is the option to quickly upgrade your MacBook's webcam by mounting your iPhone to the top of the display so you can use the superior cameras in your phone instead.

For what it calls Continuity Camera, Apple has also launched a special miniature iPhone holder that can be used to clip your phone onto the back of the MacBook's display.

Apple says it's not just about getting a better webcam, but also enabling seamless, continuous chat when you want to switch a FaceTime call from your iPhone to your Mac computer.

It doesn't stop there, and Apple also says you can use an iPhone mounted onto your MacBook to simultaneously show the person on the other end of the call your desk and keyboard, as well as your face.

This is made possible by the ultra-wide-angle lens built into more recent generations of the iPhone.

In practice during video chat, this means you just push a button to show open a second feed showing a bird's-eye view of what's on your desk, letting you show something on your desk or what your hands are doing. It's likely most handy for DIY videos and calls where you want to explain how to do something.

There's also a follow and a portrait mode, as well as an effect called studio light, which illuminates your face and darkens the background. You can also it to scan documents from your phone straight to your Mac.

And what about Android smartphones?

Google and other Android smartphone manufacturers don't have an answer to this webcam mode, nor are there any known plans to develop one.

This is probably due to the fact that most computers run on Microsoft, which leaves plenty to be desired in terms of continuity between the computers and Android smartphones.

But that doesn't mean you can't still use your smartphone's camera as a webcam. One successful solution, which turns the camera of Android smartphones or tablets into a webcam for Windows and Linux operating systems, is Droidcam.

There a a few requirements, however. Your Android mobile device needs to be connected to the same wireless network as your laptop or desktop PC. You'll also need to install the Droidcam app on your device and the software for your computer.

This means you'll have the necessary drivers to link up picture and sound so that nothing stands in the way of using the webcam on your Android smartphone with Zoom, Slack, Skype and Teams. The program for the computer can be downloaded from the developer's website. – dpa

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