It makes no difference whether you use 720p or 1080p; the FaceTime camera on the Mac is terrible. However, Apple is capable of producing excellent cameras, such as the ones found in the iPhone. With the release of macOS Ventura and iOS 16, Apple is utilizing the cameras found on the iPhone so that they can be used as a webcam by way of a new enhancement to the Continuity Camera feature found in macOS.
Continuity Camera is a godsend for those who are sick of being embarrassed by the image quality of the Mac during video conferences or who expect better quality for video recordings of themselves that they want to utilize. And fortunately, it is so simple to set up and use that you will grow to rely on it, and you will only use the built-in camera on the Mac when it is really necessary.
The following is an explanation of how to set up and use a Continuity Camera. But before we get to it, here are the prerequisites:
- A Mac running the macOS Ventura operating system (the public beta is available now, with the official release happening this fall)
- An iPhone 8 or XR running iOS 16 (the public beta is available now, with the official release happening this fall)
- On both the Mac and the iPhone, I was logged into the same Apple ID account.
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities have been activated on both devices.
- iPhone 11 or a later model is required in order to use Center Stage and Desk View.
- To use the Studio Light feature, you’ll need an iPhone 12 or later.
- You will probably need a camera mount that can secure the iPhone to the display of your Mac so that you may take pictures with it. I use a pre-release version of Belkin’s iPhone mount for MacBook, which is not yet commercially available, in this article. It is scheduled to be released in the fall, and while you wait for it, keep in mind that the final version might be slightly different from the one I used. You can utilize a tripod that has a phone attachment if you do not already have a mount for your phone.
In macOS Ventura, how do you utilize an iPhone as a webcam?
1. On the iPhone, enable Continuity Camera.
Launch the Settings application on your iPhone, navigate to General > AirPlay & Handoff, and then activate the Continuity Camera Webcam feature by toggling the switch to the “on” position. Exit Settings.
You can use a holder or mount to attach the iPhone to the top of the display of the Mac computer, or you can set it up using a tripod or another way. Even holding the iPhone is possible; all that is required is for the device to be within Bluetooth range of the Mac.
2. Open a video app on your Mac
Launch the video application that you want to utilize on your Mac: FaceTime, Zoom, etc. (QuickTime is what I’m using for this demonstration.) After you have started the application, navigate to the setting that enables you to choose a camera. For example, in QuickTime, you will find a menu right next to the record button.
It is expected that the name of your iPhone will appear in the list of cameras that are available. Choose your iPhone, and that’s all there is to it! You should be using the webcam on your Mac that is built into your iPhone. (It should be noted that iMovie did not support Continuity Camera at the time that this article was written.)
It’s also possible that you’ll have the option to use the microphone on your iPhone as the audio input source. The location of the microphone selection menu varies from app to app. The camera selection can be found in the same menu as this option in the QuickTime window up top.
3. How to Enable Desk View
Desk View captures a view of your desk using the iPhone’s Ultra Wide camera (iPhone 11 or later required). It can also capture you at the same time, allowing you to make desktop demos.
However, at the time of writing, Desk View has a fixed angle view that prevents it from seeing a MacBook keyboard if the iPhone is set on top of the laptop’s display—Desk View captures the region about a foot in front of the laptop. Apple has not said whether or not the angle will be adjustable in the future.
Desk View cannot be enabled until the Continuity Camera is functioning. In the menu bar, open the Control Center and select the Video Effects option (this button will not appear if the camera is not running). Select Desk View from the Video Effects menu. This is also where you can disable Desk View.
The Desk View app will be launched. You can try tiling the windows to let you see the video app and the DeskView app at the same time (Window > Tile Window to Left/Right Side of Screen), although some apps (like FaceTime) will not work with tiling.
4. How to turn on Center Stage
The Middle Stage effect maintains you in the center of the frame (iPhone 11 or later required). Open the Control Center in the menu bar when Continuity Camera is running, and then click the Video Effects button. You then select Center Stage from the Video Effects menu.
5.How to turn on Portrait mode
One of the effects available in portrait mode is one that blurs the background. Click the Video Effects button that is located in the Control Center section of the menu bar. If you go to the menu for Video Effects and choose Portrait, the background will become blurry.
6. How to Use Studio Lighting
Studio Light is an application that enhances the brightness of your photos by making use of the flash on your iPhone (iPhone 12 or later required). Open the Control Center from the menu bar while Continuity Camera is active, and then select the Video Effects button from within the Control Center. Then make your selection under Studio Light.
7. How to disconnect your iPhone as a Mac webcam
Quit the video app that you’re using on your Mac; that’s all that’s required of you. It’s possible that the iPhone will show the screen seen above; if it does, all you need to do is hit the Disconnect button.
Camo and other iPhone webcam apps
The concept of utilising an iPhone as a webcam is not a novel one. Reincubate has been developing and maintaining the Camo programme for Mac for a good number of years. Camo contains a tonne of capabilities that aren’t available in Continuity Camera, such as image fine-tuning options (ISO, focus, temperature, colour, hue, mirroring, and more), overlays, and effects like augmented reality and portrait mode (but no Desk View-type feature).
Cam is somewhat pricey when compared to the free Continuity Camera, costing either $39.99 for an annual subscription or $79.99 for a lifetime licence. However, if a camera is essential to your productivity, the expense may be worth it for the additional features that Cam provides. Reincubate has a website that features a comparison between the Continuity Camera and the Camo.