How to use a phone as a webcam

Steps to set up Camo:

  1. Download the Camo app on your Mac or Windows machine. Then download the app on iOS or Android. Android phones need to be running version 7.0 and up, and iPhones need to be on iOS 12 or later. It’ll work with Windows 7 (64-bit) or newer, and macOS 10.13 or later.
  2. Launch the app on your PC and smartphone. Camo recently added wireless capabilities, so all you need to do is press the Wi-Fi icon in the Camo app on your phone and then press Connect a Device in the desktop app. Scan the QR code and your phone should connect immediately.
  3. If you don’t want to go the wireless route, plug in a cable from your phone to your computer after you tap Connect a Device in the desktop app—make sure it’s a quality cable, ideally the one that came with your phone. (If you have issues, try another cable.) For Android phones connecting to a Windows PC, you’ll need to enable USB debugging mode. To do this, head to Settings > About phone and then tap Build number seven times to enable Developer mode. Once turned on, you can find it in Settings > System > Developer mode, though some of the navigation menus may differ based on your Android phone. Scroll down to find USB Debugging and toggle it on. When you go back to the Camo app, if you don’t see a pop-up asking whether you want to allow USB debugging, unplug and plug the cable back in. If you’re connecting an Android to a Mac, you need to turn USB debugging off. If you never turned it on, you should be good to go, or just head to Developer mode again and turn it off. iPhones connecting to Windows PCs or Macs shouldn’t require any additional steps (just make sure to press Trust if the pop-up appears on your phone).
  4. You should now start seeing your rear camera’s feed on the Camo desktop app. If you don’t, and you’re connected via a cord, unplug the cable from your phone, then restart the Camo app on your computer and phone. Plug it back in and you should see the feed.
  5. Go to your video conferencing app’s device settings and choose Camo as the video camera, and your phone camera’s feed should pop up. You can also change the default microphone to Camo if you want to use your phone as a mic.

You get quite a few options to choose from in the Camo desktop app to customize the videofeed. That includes 720p video quality and zoom options, and you can remove the watermark. Much of this is free if you have an Android app, but unfortunately, iPhone owners will need to pay for Camo Pro for several nifty features, like 1080p recording, the ability to switch lenses, and Portrait mode (iPhone owners are likely better off using Apple’s Continuity Camera, which we detail further below). Camo offers a few payment options: a lifetime license, an annual subscription, or a monthly subscription.

If you’re on a PC running Windows and you use an Android phone or iPhone, one of the easiest (wireless) methods is to use a free app called DroidCam. It also works with Linux, but there is no MacOS support. You can also connect via a cable if you’d rather not drain your phone’s battery.

Steps to set up DroidCam: