How to Use Your Phone as a Webcam

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Updated September 12, 2022

Webcams aren’t new, but the dawn of mass remote work has made us more aware of webcam technology than ever. Because we now rely on video calls so much, many want the best webcam possible. But there’s a problem: computers often provide built-in webcams with low video quality, and buying a dedicated external webcam can get pricey. But did you know that your smartphone, with the right app, can double as a dazzling webcam? We’re not pulling your leg. And to prove it, below, we’ll show you how to use your phone as a webcam.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Android and Apple phones can become computer webcams, creating an excellent video feed.
  • Converting a phone to a webcam requires downloading a third-party video call app and a separate webcam driver to the computer.
  • Not all video apps are compatible with major computer operating systems.

As you might imagine, turning gadgets into webcams isn’t limited to mobile devices. So, if that has you wondering, “What can I use as a webcam?” rest assured you have a lot of options, such as using a Kinect as a webcam. But first, it’s worth learning how to use a webcam.

Insider Tip

For the most reliable and stable video, use a wired connection instead of connecting over a Wi-Fi network.

Learning How to Use a Cellphone as a Webcam

Whether your phone is an Android or one with a half-eaten apple on its backside, a phone app can transition your mobile device into a computer webcam. The process is quick, painless, and great for streaming, conferencing, recording video content, or any purpose in between.

As you go about this procedure, remember that certain webcam apps may not run on specific operating systems. To get a better idea about what works with what, we have more in-depth articles, like how to use an iPhone as a webcam.

Using an iPhone as a Webcam

STEP 1 Research the Various Webcam Apps

Research online and in the Apple App Store to compare the different options. You’ll find free and premium versions. Premium options have higher resolutions and more video settings, so be aware of your desired video quality as you narrow your research.

STEP 2 Download the Phone and Desktop App

Download the application to your phone, and then download the desktop software to your computer. Next, download the app and driver onto the computer. Once the driver is installed, restart your computer.

STEP 3 Connect Your Phone and Computer

Either by Wi-Fi or USB connection, ensure your phone and computer have an established connection.

STEP 4 Launch Video Conferencing App

Open the webcam phone app. Then open your preferred video conferencing app on your computer. If you run into issues, ensure that your phone and computer are on the same wireless network and that you haven’t blocked access to the streaming app.

STEP 5 Setup Video Feed

Once everything is established, set up your phone and make sure that the angle, resolution, and lens are precisely how you want them.

Using an Android Phone as a Webcam

STEP 1 Research the Various Webcam Apps

Go onto the Google Play Store and research the options for the different webcam apps. Android has a free dedicated app called DroidCam that operates only on the Android OS. The computer driver works on Windows and Linux, but not macOS.

STEP 2 Download the Phone and Computer Software

Install the webcam app to your phone and the accompanying driver to your computer.

STEP 3 Connect Phone and Computer

After everything is installed and webcam access is granted to the new software, connect your phone and computer by Wi-Fi or USB cable.

STEP 4 Launch the Webcam App

Open the phone app and then the videoconferencing app on your computer. If you have DroidCam, you must input your Android device’s IP address and create an account.

STEP 5 Setup Video Feed

Enter your video call program on your computer, set your phone on a mount or tripod, and adjust the lens and resolution settings to create the ideal video feed.

Warning

Always do adequate research whenever downloading any app that will have access to your webcam driver, as some providers are known to access the webcam to record and sell user data.

STAT: The free version of most webcam apps will provide 480p resolution. (source)

How to Use Your Phone as a Webcam FAQs

Can I use my phone as a computer webcam without an app?

You can use your phone separately as a webcam. However, you can't connect it to your computer's webcam without using a third-party app.

What if my computer doesn't detect my phone?

If your computer isn't detecting your phone, go into your webcam settings and ensure you grant the app permission to access the computer's webcam.

How should I mount my phone for a webcam?

Purchasing a mini-tripod is an affordable and convenient option for a desk webcam.
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