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How to Use Your Phone as a Webcam

by on September 07, 2023
in Tips & How-Tos, Computers and Software, Computers & Accessories, Photo / Video Sharing :: 0 comments

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According to WHF Research's study The Evolution of Working from Home (PDF), 40 percent of U.S. employees work from home at least one day a week. And when we work from home, inevitably, we engage in video calls. Today, you are expected to look and sound professional for your calls and social calls. But if your computer doesn't have a webcam or its webcam isn't up to the task, you're in luck. You can use your smartphone. Its camera is as good as, if not much better, than most webcams.

Screenshot of Droidcam app showing a live feed from the rear camera

In my testing, the quality of the video feed was very good, even over WiFi. Though there was a slight delay in action over WiFi, the video feed was crisp, and at no time during the sessions did I see pixelated blobs over my picture or experience interruptions in the feed. 

Setting up your phone as a webcam takes a few steps, but it is easy. You'll need to install apps on both your phone and computer, and then you can connect them via USB or WiFi. Since your phone won't mount on your computer, you'll want to invest in a stand or tripod so the picture will remain steady during your calls. (We like Joby's GripTight GorillaPod Stand Pro, Price: $69.95). Follow our steps to setting up your phone as a webcam.

How to use your Android phone as a webcam for Windows PCs

For Android phone owners, we recommend DroidCam. You can access a basic standard-definition video stream for free. However, we recommend paying $5.49 for the full version of the app that provides access to an HD video stream and more camera features.

  1. Close all the video and chat apps running on your phone and computer to ensure a clean install.
  2. Install the DroidCam Android app from Google Play and download and install the DroidCam Windows client.
  3. Run the DroidCam Windows client.
  4. Launch the DroidCam Android app. It should have an IP address listed. Enter this in the DroidCam Windows client to connect the two.
  5. Your phone should automatically connect to your laptop and display a preview. Using the tools in the preview window, you can flip the image, turn on autofocus, adjust brightness, and more.
  6. Once you're happy with your image settings, you can use DroidCam for applications like Zoom, Hangouts, or any other video chat application you might use when you select it as your webcam. You can use Droid Cam Source 2 or Droid Cam Source 3 – whatever looks best.

How to use your iPhone as a webcam for Windows PCs and Macs

EpocCam Webcam for Mac and PC offers an easy solution to turn your iPhone into a high-quality Mac or PC webcam. While you can access a watermarked standard-definition video-only feed with the free app, we recommend paying $7.99 for EpocCam PRO for Full HD Video without the watermark.

  1. Close all the video and chat apps running on your phone and computer to ensure a clean install.
  2. Go to the App Store and download the EpocCam PRO app. Also, you'll need to download ElgatoCamera Hub software to connect your phone to your computer.
  3. The software works via USB or WiFi. To connect wirelessly, ensure that your phone and computer are on the same WiFi network.
  4. When prompted to allow access to the camera, grant permission. This enables you to stream your camera feed to your computer.
  5. Launch the ElgatoCamera Hub software, and you should see a preview screen. Here, you can select the camera you want to use, flip the image so it looks like a mirror image, and adjust the image for brightness, contrast, exposure, and saturation. If your computer's graphic card supports it, you can also adjust white balance and exposure, and turn on autofocus.
  6. Once connected, EpocCam will work as a webcam for applications like Zoom, Hangouts, or any other video chat application you might use when you select it as your webcam.
  7. To check, open the Zoom app and head over to Video settings. There, change the camera input to Elgato Virtual camera from TrueVision HD Camera.

[Image credit: Techlicious, Android phone held in hand via SmartMockups]

As a lifelong tech enthusiast, Hemant Saxena is always looking for the latest gadgets that intersect with his hobbies. For more than a decade, he has been writing about consumer gadgets, popular apps, and social media tips for publications, including Windows Club and Techmate Tricks.

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