iPhone as Mac webcam: How to use Continuity Camera

Apple expanded the capability of the continuous camera feature this year with macOS Ventura and iOS 16. Users will now be able to use the iPhone as a Mac webcam for a high-quality wireless experience. Follow us to learn how to use the continuity camera.

The Continuity Camera debuted with macOS Mojave and allowed users to instantly take photos with an iPhone or iPad and view them on their Mac. Now this has got a huge improvement with the option to use the iPhone as a Mac webcam in the upcoming new software.

It offers a huge jump in performance when compared to using the webcam built into a MacBook Air, Pro, iMac or Studio Display. And it’s probably better than most standalone webcams, too.

Here’s how Apple describes the new functionality:

“With the power of Continuity, your Mac can automatically recognize and use the camera on your iPhone when it’s nearby—without having to activate or select it—and your iPhone can connect to your Mac wirelessly for more flexibility. Continuity Camera brings innovative features to all Mac computers, including the Center Stage, Portrait Mode, and the new Studio Light – an effect that beautifully illuminates the user’s face while dimming the background. In addition, the Continuity Camera taps the Ultra Wide Camera on iPhone to enable Office View, which simultaneously shows the user’s face and an overhead view of their office – Which is great for creating DIY videos, viewing drawings via FaceTime, and much more.”

Another killer way to use your iPhone as a Mac webcam is with Camo by Reincubate, especially if you want advanced controls. It’s a free download – basic features are free, advanced features are paid.

iPhone as Mac webcam: How Continuity Camera Works

How to enable camera continuity

  1. Running iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, check it out WiFi and Bluetooth are on For both Mac and iPhone
  2. Make sure your Mac and iPhone are signed in with a file Same Apple ID and use 2FA (per Apple)
  3. By default, the Continuity Camera feature is turned on – but you can make sure of this by going to your iPhone Settings app > General > AirPlay & Handoff > Camera Continuity
    • Toggle it back on if you’re having trouble connecting your iPhone to your Mac
  4. Bring your iPhone near your Mac While running FaceTime, Photo Booth, Zoom, or any other application that can use the camera (video services in web browsers too)
  5. Your Mac should automatically switch to using the iPhone’s back camera
  6. If your iPhone camera isn’t used automatically, tap Video preferences for whatever app you’re using and choose your iPhone from the list (you can also use your iPhone’s microphone)
    • Or as above, turn off the Continuity Camera and then turn it back on

Below is what your iPhone screen will show when using the continuity camera. Even third-party apps like Zoom work with “automatic camera selection”.

iPhone like webcam features for Mac

Once you use your iPhone as a Mac webcam with iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, you can access useful features like Center Stage, Portrait, Studio Light, or Desk View.

  1. tap on Control Center An icon on your Mac’s menu bar (two disks icon in the upper right corner)
  2. Choose Video effects in the upper left corner
  3. You can now choose between using Center Stage, Portrait, Studio Light or Desk View
    • In our experience, Desk View is a bit wonky but interesting nonetheless
iPhone as Mac Webcam Continuity Camera 3

The continuity camera works 40 feet or so away from a connected Mac. So you don’t have to keep your iPhone inches away from your Mac to use this feature.

Continuity Camera Video Walkthrough

Take a closer look at using your iPhone as a Mac webcam with Continuity Camera and even more details in my colleague Miles’ video below!

iPhone Mounts

The Belkin iPhone mount for Mac Apple is now available again at WWDC

But arguably better options are the HoverBar Duo from Twelve South (works great with the iPhone) or the iPhone’s flexible mounts.

What do you think of the Continuity Camera on your Mac? Is it something you use or are excited to use? Or are you all set with the built-in webcam or other existing Mac webcam? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Thank you for reading our guide on how to use iPhone as a Mac webcam with Continuity Camera!

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