As someone with relatives on multiple continents and a day job I will do entirely from home for the foreseeable future, I engage in a lot of video conferencing. It’s often an unsatisfying experience.
This is partly due to the historically subpar quality of computer webcams like the FaceTime HD cameras built into Macs (see “The 2020 MacBook Air’s FaceTime HD Camera Is Still Lousy,” 8 April 2020, and “Why Are Webcams So Lousy?,” 25 January 2021). Apple has finally bumped the webcams in the latest Mac models from the laughably old 720p resolution to 1080p, but they still yield disappointing image quality. The same goes for Apple’s Studio Display external monitor, which has its own built-in camera.
It’s unclear if Apple plans to improve webcam specs in future models, but there’s an alternative that works now—repurposing the iPhone’s optically superb cameras as a Mac webcam. This is not a new idea. Elgato offers Epoccam software to pull this off. Similarly, Reincubate provides the ingenious Camo virtual-camera system (see “Turn Your iPhone into a Powerful Webcam with Camo,” 24 July 2020), but the product’s complexity and cost—beyond a basic free tier—will scare some Mac users away.
Now Apple has its own take, called Continuity Camera (see “Ten “It’s About Time” Features from WWDC 2022,” 6 June 2022). It’s one of the new features in the still-in-beta iOS 16 and macOS 13 Ventura and is a potentially compelling video conferencing enhancement for several reasons: it’s free, easy to set up and use, and provides advanced capabilities without being overwhelming. Familiar iPhone and iPad camera features such as Center Stage, Studio Light, and Portrait Mode are built into Continuity Camera, making it more than just a better camera.
I’ve been testing Continuity Camera for the past few weeks. Much like the new Stage Manager for the Mac (see “First Impressions: Stage Manager on the iPad and Mac,” 18 July 2022), it is a feature I suspect I’ll continue to use long after I have stopped experimenting with it in my tech writer role. Unsurprisingly, Continuity Camera has some rough edges given its pre-release status—one feature called Desk View is far from fully baked—but it looks promising.
Physically Mounting Your iPhone
In order to use Continuity Camera, you first need to figure out how to mount your iPhone so it is in a proper position for video chatting, ideally just above the upper edge of your laptop lid or your standalone display. A Reincubate post studies a myriad of options.
Apple will soon provide its own solution in the form of mounts it has commissioned from Belkin. The accessories clip to the top edge of a Mac notebook’s lid or a Studio Display and hold a recent-model iPhone using MagSafe, with the handset’s rear camera array aimed at the user.
The mounts are not yet available to the public, but some lucky tech writers have been sent pre-release versions. I’m told I’m also on this list, and while I wait for a delivery, I found something helpful in my tech gear stash: PopSocket’s PopGrip for MagSafe. It’s an oval slab that clamps magnetically to the back of an iPhone and incorporates that classic telescoping two-finger circular grip.
In the Continuity Camera context, the grip grabs—imperfectly but serviceably—the top edge of a MacBook lid or a Studio Display, placing the iPhone in a near-perfect position for video chats. It does not work at all with my beloved 23.7-inch LG UltraFine Display (see “Apple Debuts LG’s All-New 23.7-inch UltraFine Display,” 20 May 2019), though, so I’ll have to figure out something else there.
The good news is you can order your own PopGrip if you’re eager to experiment with Continuity Camera right away.
Setting Up Continuity Camera
You need to do a few things before you can use Continuity Camera:
- Check that you have an iPhone XR or later.
- Install the public betas of Ventura and iOS 16 (iPhone 8 or later, but you’ll need an iPhone 11 or later to take advantage of advanced features I will get to in a bit). As always, don’t install betas on any device you need to be reliable.
- Ensure that the Mac and iPhone are using the same Apple ID, and that two-factor authentication is turned on.
- Wi-Fi on your Mac needs to be on. Neither Bluetooth on your Mac nor Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on the iPhone seem to have any bearing on whether Continuity Camera works properly. However, Apple suggests you also have those on, and you probably already do.
- Activate Continuity Camera on your iPhone by going to General > AirPlay & Handoff and enabling Continuity Camera Webcam. It’s supposed to be on by default.
Using Continuity Camera: The Basics
The rest is super simple. Launch a videoconferencing app on your Mac, and search for the option within the app to choose a camera. The iPhone should be one of the choices there. Pick it, and the iPhone should shift seamlessly into webcam mode. This happens wirelessly—there’s no need to connect the iPhone to the Mac using a Lightning cable as with Camo.
In FaceTime, for instance, click the Video menu, and you’ll see a list of cameras. My iPhone sometimes failed to appear, and FaceTime sometimes locked up when I tried switching to Continuity Camera, but a Mac or iPhone restart tended to resolve the issues, so I’m chalking this up to beta flakiness.
If Automatic Camera Selection is selected, Mac-iPhone pairing should occur automatically.
In some cases, you’ll be able to designate the iPhone’s microphone as the audio input device separately—FaceTime is one app that offers this flexibility.
Apple has promised broad compatibility with third-party video conferencing services that function in either Mac or Web app form, and it appears to have delivered. Apps I briefly tested with good results include Zoom (app and Web), Google Meet (Web), Skype (app and Web), Microsoft Teams (app and Web), Facebook Messenger (app and Web), and WhatsApp (app and Web). Continuity Camera also worked with WebEx, but the video quality was mediocre in its app and abysmal through its Web interface.
Continuity Camera’s usefulness extends beyond video chats. At least some other video apps with recording functions, such as Photo Booth and QuickTime, also support its video. In contrast, iMovie would not recognize the iPhone as a video-input option—it seems likely that will change in the future.
Video Quality Is Very Good
Just a quick glance at the iPhone webcam’s video quality all but convinced me that it will end up being my default Mac video chat camera once Continuity Camera comes out of beta. It’s great.
I’m using an iPhone 13 mini, which in Continuity Camera defaults to its 12-megapixel Ultra Wide camera with an f/2.4 aperture and a 120° field of view. Your results will vary if you are using an older iPhone model with less-capable camera hardware, but you should find your video quality to be at least on par with—and likely better than—what your Mac or third-party webcam provides.
Here are image comparisons with the FaceTime HD cameras in the 2020 M1 MacBook Air, the recently released M2 MacBook Air, and the Studio Display, which was released earlier this year. Continuity Camera imagery is superior across the board. The M2 MacBook Air improves on the M1 MacBook Air, but not dramatically so. The Studio Display’s imagery is muddled and a bit dark. (Note: my loaner display had the latest software update, which was intended to fix earlier image quality issues, and has done so to a degree, but it clearly has not worked miracles.)
Using Continuity Camera: Advanced Features
Apple, unlike Reincubate, has aimed for simplicity over a robust feature set. That said, Continuity Camera builds in a few bells and whistles that give it flexibility and sophistication. They are accessed by going to Control Center > Video Effects when Continuity Camera is in use. Activate or deactivate these settings in any combination you like.
This iPad feature, a form of “auto framing,” keeps you in the picture during a video conference even when you move around (see “Center Stage Keeps You in the Video Chat Frame,” 23 September 2021). Center Stage also is present on the Studio Display, but it isn’t an iPhone capability yet—at least not when the handset is used on its own.
Center Stage magically appears when the iPhone is in Continuity Camera mode, however, provided it is an iPhone 11 model or later. It’s the best auto-framing implementation I’ve seen, but video quality degrades a bit when Center Stage is enabled.
On iPhones as far back as the iPhone 7 Plus from 2016, users have been able to take photos in Portrait mode, which keeps the foreground subject in focus while blurring the background. Portrait mode arrived for video with the iPhone 13 last year in the form of Cinematic mode, which allows for shooting using a shallow depth of field.
Now it’s present in Continuity Camera as an option to toggle background blurriness on and off. In this sense it is playing catch-up—video conferencing services such as Zoom and Google Meet have executed this feature well in recent years.
The new Studio Light feature uses computational photography to illuminate the user’s face while dimming the background. It works beautifully if subtly in Continuity Camera (assuming you have an iPhone 12 or later) and is somewhat like using a ring light, as Apple noted during its WWDC demo of Continuity Camera.
Unfortunately, Continuity Camera offers no other options for adjusting or enhancing image quality, unlike Reincubate’s Camo, which perhaps offers too many such options. There were moments in Continuity Camera when I looked discolored, and I could have used some help tweaking my appearance. Maybe such settings are on the way.
It’s not uncommon during videoconferences for participants to deploy two cameras, one that points at their faces, and another that aims downward to show off what’s on their physical work surfaces for demo or discussion purposes.
With Desk View (iPhone 11 or later), Apple is attempting to pull this off with just one camera—specifically, that Ultra Wide camera, which has the most expansive view and is therefore well suited for this task. While your face is in one window, a second window displays an eagle’s-eye view of your desk. It’s a cool trick… but tricky to get right.
It’s hard to modify the camera’s downward angle, so your notebook lid or external-display hinge can serve that role—tilt it towards you until the stuff on the desk is framed within the Desk View window. (Your face should stay framed within the other window if you have Portrait mode on.) Unfortunately, the quality of the desk imagery isn’t great.
Desk View works best for showing objects that are flat (think documents, photos, coins, and so on). Objects with any height—like the drinking glass and HomePod in the screenshot below—appear comically distorted.
Desk View, by the way, is not just a menu option in Video Effects, but a Mac app in its own right, though one that’s buried deep within the macOS System folder. Presumably, this architecture is necessary to provide compatibility with older apps that wouldn’t otherwise be able to access the Desk View video stream.
Contemplating Continuity Camera
When Apple first announced Continuity Camera at WWDC, I was a bit perplexed. Why jury-rig such a system when its Studio Display and recent-model Macs have improved webcams? But using Continuity Camera for a few weeks made me a believer.
It provides notably better image quality—it’s not even close—and offers significantly more features. Neither the Studio Display nor the MacBook Air’s FaceTime HD cameras offer Studio Light or Desk View, and the MacBook Air cameras don’t do Center Stage, either.
Apple might have developed Continuity Camera partly as a stopgap while it labors to bring its Mac cameras up to par with the iPhone and iPad. If so, that’s fine with me. I am looking to buy a Mac mini that I’d pair with my LG UltraFine—neither of which has its own camera—so repurposing my iPhone as a webcam via Continuity Camera would be a much better option than any of the janky third-party webcams I’ve tried in recent years (see “Why Are Webcams So Lousy?,” 25 January 2021).
Even if you are fine with the webcam built into your Mac, consider giving Continuity Camera a try once you’ve upgraded to iOS 16 and Ventura. It’s nice to have alternatives, and you might find yourself favoring iPhone webcam-ing on your Mac, as I have.
In the meantime, take a look at Reincubate’s Camo. It’s free in its basic form and loaded with features for those willing to pay up. I was especially excited about its many image-enhancement features—I wish Continuity Camera had even a fraction of those.
With Continuity Camera, you can use your iPhone as your Mac webcam or microphone, and take advantage of the powerful iPhone camera and additional video effects. You can connect wirelessly, or with a USB cable for a wired connection. Note: To use Continuity Camera, sign in with the same Apple ID on your Mac and iPhone.What is Apple continuity camera? ›
Use iPhone as a webcam.
Continuity Camera unlocks new capabilities like Desk View, which allows you to share a top-down view of your workspace, and Studio Light, which artfully lights your face while dimming the background.
- iPhone XR or later. (All iPhone models introduced in 2018 or later)
- iPhone 11 or later for Centre Stage.
- iPhone 11 or later (excluding iPhone SE) for Desk View.
- iPhone 12 or later for Studio Light.
Open a supported app on your Mac. Take either of these actions: Control-click where you want the photo to be inserted in the app window. From the shortcut menu that appears, choose Insert from iPhone or iPad > Scan Documents.How can I use my phone camera as a webcam Mac? ›
Turn on Continuity Camera on the iPhone
Open the Settings app on your iPhone and then tap General > AirPlay & Handoff, then flip the switch on for the Continuity Camera Webcam setting. Exit Settings. Mount the iPhone on top of the Mac's display using a holder or mount, or set it up using a tripod or some other method.
With Continuity, you can use your Mac together with your other Apple devices to work smarter and move seamlessly between your devices. To use Continuity features, sign in with the same Apple ID on all your devices. In addition, your devices must have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on, and meet system requirements.Does iPhone have continuous shooting? ›
If you have iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, or iPhone 12, slide the shutter button to the left. The camera will keep taking photos until you release the shutter button. If you have iPhone X or older, just hold down the shutter button to shoot in burst mode (you don't need to drag the button).How do I set up continuity on my iPhone and Mac? ›
- Step 1Check Bluetooth on Your Mac. Check if your desktop or laptop is compatible with Continuity by going to About this Mac -> System Report -> Bluetooth Category. ...
- Step 2Sign into the Same iCloud Account. ...
- Step 3Enable Handoff. ...
- Step 4Allow iPhone Calls & Text Messages. ...
- Step 5Setup Wi-Fi & Bluetooth. ...
- Step 6Use Continuity.
Manything is a free iOS app that can convert your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad into a Wi-Fi-connected security camera. Then, you can use a second iOS device as your mobile monitor or opt to keep an eye on things from the Manything web app.Does continuity camera work with iPhone 12? ›
Prerequisites for Continuity Camera to work
For Studio Light you need an iPhone 12 or a newer model. Both your iPhone and Mac must be paired to the same Apple ID. You should have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled on both devices, along with Continuity Camera Webcam in iOS General Settings (which is on by default).
Your iPhone must have Continuity Camera turned on in Settings > General > AirPlay & Handoff. It's turned on by default. Your iPhone and Mac must be near each other and have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on. Your iPhone must not be sharing its cellular connection and your Mac must not be sharing its internet connection.What is continuity Mac? ›
Continuity Markup lets you sign documents, correct papers or circle important details in images. Use your Apple Pencil on iPad or your finger on iPhone and see updates live on your Mac. And Continuity Sketch lets you create a sketch on your iPad or iPhone that automatically inserts into any document on your Mac.Why is continuity not working on Mac? ›
Ensure you have Handoff enabled on your iOS devices
To check, go to Settings > General > AirPlay & Handoff, and make sure the Handoff switch is turned on. If after all these troubleshooting steps everything looks good, and Continuity still isn't working right, then the problem might be on your Mac's side.
To mount a directory, open iExplorer and connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod. You'll first see the Device Overview screen. You can then navigate to Media or Apps in the left-hand sidebar. To mount a directory, right-click on the directory or subdirectory and choose Mount as Disk from the context menu.Can I share my phone camera as a webcam? ›
Using an Android as a Webcam Wirelessly
Download the phone DroidCam mobile app and the corresponding Windows desktop client onto your computer. Open both apps on both devices (making sure both devices are using the same wi-fi network). Give the Android app permission to access your microphone and camera.
Yes, you can easily connect your phone camera to your laptop wirelessly or over a USB connection. Go for any tool we have shared above and connect your phone's camera to the laptop. You will need webcam applications on your Android and enable USB debugging in your Android's Developer options.Can I use an old phone as a webcam? ›
However, IP Webcam is one of the best option you can choose as it can be easily operated through the browser. * To set up a webcam, you need to connect your phone and computer to the same network (Wi-Fi). * Now, install the application on the smartphone you wish to use as a webcam.
Webcam apps for iPhones
EpocCam and iCam work for Windows or MacOS machines, while iVCam works for iPhone ($278 at Amazon) users who have Windows computers, not Macs. (Update: Another option is the NDI HX Camera app -- it costs $20 and allows iPhones to be used as HD webcams.)
Continuity Camera lets you use your iPhone as a webcam, unlocking unique features for your next video call or livestream. And you can use your iPhone to scan documents and insert photos directly into your work on Mac. Use iPhone as a webcam.Does continuity Camera work on MacBook Air? ›
Continuity Camera is a new feature in macOS Ventura that allows users to use an iPhone as a webcam on their Mac. Continuity Camera works wirelessly or wired in FaceTime, Zoom, and other apps.
Apple began adding Continuity features in 2014 with the launch of iOS 8.1 and OS X Yosemite, version 10.10.How long can you record on iPhone continuously? ›
12 hrs, 12 min.How long can an iPhone shoot video? ›
Video Length Examples With Different Recording Options
720p HD at 30 fps films will make a 5-hour long video that uses 12 GB. 1080p HD at 30 fps will yield approximately a 3 hour and 15 minutes long video. 1080p HD at 60 fps will make a 2-hour long video.
Enable an automation
In the Shortcuts app on your iOS or iPadOS device, tap Automation . Tap the automation you want to enable. Turn on Enable This Automation. Tap Done.
YOUR iPhone has a hidden camera feature that's almost certainly passed you by. The magnifier tool uses your iPhone's built-in camera to zoom in on text or objects so that you can see them more clearly.How can you find a hidden camera on your phone? ›
Some hidden cameras emit IR (infrared radiation) light, which isn't visible to the naked eye. The camera lens on your Android phone will pick up infrared light if you hold your device close enough. If you find a hidden camera that emits IR, it will appear in your camera's display as bright blue-white light.What is the LiDAR sensor on the iPhone 12? ›
The LiDAR scanner, on the iPhone 12, 13 and iPhone 14 series measures how long it takes light to reflect back from objects. This essentially creates a depth map of your surroundings.Does the iPhone 12 have LiDAR sensor? ›
Apple's latest products, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, and iPad Pro now feature a built-in lidar scanner that can create 3D representations of close-range objects (up to 5 m away).Does the iPhone 12 actually have 3 cameras? ›
Three cameras + LIDAR: iPhone 12 Pro
Like the iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone 12 Pro adds a third telephoto camera to the package, and as far as we can tell, it's the same f/2.0, 52mm telephoto as last year except you can now also use it to take Deep Fusion photos.
- Tap to select the video or audio on the page.
- Tap. , then tap Movie or Audio.
- To set media to repeat, choose how you want it to play: Play in a continuous loop: Tap Loop. Play forward and then backward: Tap Loop Back and Forth. Note: Recorded audio can't loop back and forth.
With Ecamm Live you can easily plug in your phone and use Shoot as a camera. Then all you need to do is go to the Output menu and select Virtual Camera. This camera will then be selectable within Zoom as “Ecamm Live Virtual Cam”.How do I turn off continuity on my iPhone? ›
- Settings. Phone. . ...
- Tap. Calls on Other Devices. .
- Tap the. Allow Calls on Other Devices switch. to turn on or off . ...
- From the 'Allow Calls On' section, tap the switches to turn to call for that device on or off.
On Mac, choose Apple menu () > System Preferences, then click General. Deselect “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.” On iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > General > Handoff, then turn off Handoff.Which two continuity features best demonstrate Apple seamless experience between Mac and iPad? ›
Continuity Camera: Use your iPhone as a webcam for your Mac. Or use your iPhone or iPad to scan documents or take a picture on your Mac. Continuity Markup: Use your iPhone or iPad to add sketches, shapes, and other markup to a Mac document, and see the changes live on your Mac.How do you find the ohms on a Mac? ›
To type the Ohm Symbol anywhere (like in Word or Excel), press Option + Z shortcut for Mac. If you are on Windows, simply press down the alt key and type 234 using the numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard.Can you use circuit with Mac? ›
Supported macOS Devices
Circuit Tools macOS will run on any Apple device with macOS version 10.12 or later installed. However, we recommend you use the software on the latest OS and latest apple hardware, as this provides superior processing power.
You can connect your device using a USB or USB-C cable or using a Wi-Fi connection. See Sync content between your Mac and iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch over Wi-Fi. In the Finder on your Mac, select the device in the Finder sidebar.Can I use my iPhone as a USB? ›
Unfortunately you cannot connect your iPhone to your windows computer via a USB cable. You need to download third-apps like iTunes for Windows, etc. in order to turn your iPhone into a storage device for Windows.Can I connect my iPhone wirelessly to my Mac? ›
You can sync your Mac and device when they're connected over same Wi-Fi network. To set up Wi-Fi syncing, first connect your device to your Mac using a USB or USB-C cable. You then turn on Wi-Fi syncing and choose the settings you want.Can I use my iPhone as a camera for Quicktime? ›
You can make a movie using the built-in camera on your Mac or using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. When you make a movie, controls appear that allow you to start recording, control the volume, and choose recording options.
With Airplay, you can mirror iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch screen to Apple TV or AirPlay 2-compatible smart TV. Is there a way to mirror Android screen to the bigger screen? Yes, you can cast Android to your TV or Mac.How can I use my old phone as a camera monitor? ›
- Open the AlfredCamera app on your primary phone. ...
- Tap the Or pair up by QR code button. ...
- Open the AlfredCamera app on the old phone and press the Scan to Link to Viewer Device button at the bottom.
- Scan the QR code on the other phone to link the two devices.
An iPhone projector box is simply a box with lenses inside. These lenses are the ones that project the images on your iPhone to the wall/screen.How do you use continuity on iPhone camera? ›
Your iPhone must have Continuity Camera turned on in Settings > General > AirPlay & Handoff. It's turned on by default. Your iPhone and Mac must be near each other and have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on.
Using Peer-to-peer AirPlay, you can mirror your iPhone's screen on your Mac without Wi-Fi. It allows you to use your computer as a screen receiver without having to connect your iPhone and Mac to the same Wi-Fi network.How can I use my phone camera as a webcam for PC using iPhone USB? ›
- Download the Camo iPhone app on the App Store. ...
- Download the Mac or Windows software to your computer.
- Plug your phone into your computer using a USB cable or lightning cord, making sure the Camo app is open while you do it.
- Use your phone's camera and microphone as a webcam on a PC.
- Chat option using DroidCam.
- Free Software.
- DroidCam can run in the background while you keep using your phone.
- Connectivity with USB as well as wireless connection.
- Hotspot connection in the absence of WiFi.