Learning how to use your phone as a webcam has numerous benefits worth exploring in different contexts. Perhaps, if your built-in laptop camera is not satisfactory, this post will put you in the right direction.
For many people, working, schooling, and gaming require video communication. Your laptop probably has an in-built camera or you might have already upgraded to a USB webcam.
Most in-built cameras of laptops are not as good and a decent USB webcam would require you to spend hundreds of dollars. Your smartphone, be it mid-range or higher, is likely to give you a better result if you use it as a webcam than the built-in or separately-bought webcam. Ready to put your smartphone’s high-quality camera to use as a webcam? Read on to learn how to do so and some additional information you’d find helpful.
Benefits of Using Your Phone As A Webcam
Using a smartphone as a webcam has several benefits. One of the advantages is the ease with which a smartphone can be used as a webcam since we carry it with us almost everywhere. Video communication solutions like the USB webcam are mostly kept in the office or at home.
But with a smartphone and appropriate webcam app In both the phone and laptop, you can set up or join a video call almost in an instant. And you don’t have to worry about your phone’s model as most modern phones, even mid-range phones, will work just fine.
Another advantage of using a smartphone as a webcam is tied to the high-quality cameras many smartphone brands possess today. Recent advancements in the picture quality of smartphones now easily compare with HD and 4K cameras. This means you’d enjoy better picture quality during video calls if you use your smartphone as a webcam. Dynamic range, exposure, and autofocus are some ways your smartphone presents better results during video calls than a built-in or USB webcam.
Using your smartphone as a webcam can save you some money that would otherwise be spent investing in a USB webcam for your streaming needs. With decent webcams going for hundreds of dollars in the market, you’d be able to keep your money for other things by using your phone as a webcam for teleconferencing.
Best Apps to Use Your Phone As As Webcam
To use your smartphone as a webcam for your streaming or video conferencing needs, you’ll need to download an appropriate app to do so. There are several software solutions for using your smartphone as a webcam and we’ve handpicked those we feel are the best among the pack you can trust. Read on to find out which webcam apps for smartphones made the list.
#1: Iriun 4K Webcam for PC and Mac
The Iriun webcam app is one of the most widely used solutions for using smartphones as a webcam. The app is compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems as well as with Android and iPhone smartphones. Installation of the app is pretty straightforward and quick, involving a few easy steps.
Most of the features of the Iriun app are free to use. The only thing a paid subscription offers is the removal of the Iriun watermark which appears occasionally in the top left corner of your screen. However, the watermark is unobtrusive, which we don’t mind. Connecting your smartphone to your computer can be done either wirelessly via Wi-Fi or by using the USB port.
When your phone connects with your laptop through the Iriun app, you can choose the camera you’d want to use. But it might be kind of buggy if your phone has multiple camera options.
More so, you can switch your screen’s orientation between landscape and portrait, as well as invert the camera feed. The app also presents the ability to dim your screen and even lock the phone during use, to prevent the phone from overheating.
Iriun makes it possible to ramp up video quality up to 4K whilst using your smartphone as a webcam. However, we advise you to stick with 720p as exceeding this point presents no significant gains. You would want to invest in the best mics so you’d sound better since the audio cracks often if you use your phone’s mic.
- Recovers from connection loss automatically and quickly
- No ads
- Ability to work in the background
- Poor audio quality if you’re using your phone mic
- Can’t record natively
#2: iVCam Webcam
The iVCam is another web we recommend using to turn your phone into a webcam. It’s widely used by streamers, students, and remote workers. The app offers lots of wonderful features in its free version, such as the ability to crank up video quality up to a resolution of 4K. Unlike the Iriun webcam app which has no ads, the iVCam shows an ad at the startup and another after a video call session.
As with similar webcam apps, the PC client app must be already installed on your computer and your smartphone before you’d be able to establish a connection. You can either make use of the wireless connection via Wi-Fi or the wired alternative using USB. Once connected, you’d control most of the features of the iVCam webcam using the PC Client app.
Selection of your phone’s camera and flipping between the main back and selfie camera are things that you can control with the iVCam app on your phone.
iVCam permits the recording of photos and videos at 720p which will be saved to the PC. Also, you’d be able to answer incoming calls while your smartphone serves as a webcam, and go back to video call immediately after the call. As far as drawbacks go, the inability of iVCam to recover from lost connection and the ever-present watermark is the most noticeable limitations of the iVCam app. Subscribing to the paid version of iVcam removes the watermark, though.
- Free to use
- Can record natively
- Inability to function in the background
- Constant and obtrusive watermark in the free version
- Unable to recover from lost connection
#3: Xsplit Connect: Webcam
The Xsplit webcam is another popular solution out there that allows you to use your smartphone as a webcam. The Xsplit webcam works at a maximum resolution of 720p, both in the free and paid versions. Apart from the removal of the obtrusive watermark, there’s no other difference between the free and paid versions.
You can connect your smartphone to the PC client app via Wi-Fi and USB. Once it’s set up, you can select your camera, but it’s limited to just one rear and selfie cam. You’d also not be able to record natively and use your phone’s mic during a video call session. On the flip side of things, the Xsplit webcam recovers from the loss of connection automatically and quickly.
The Xsplit Windows app is nicely set up, providing tutorials and guidelines on how to use your phone as a webcam. You’d also be able to adjust brightness and white balance from the PC client app. Another feature of the Xsplit webcam that is outstanding is the ability to swap backgrounds with images, videos, or webpages in real-time.
- Automatic and quick recovery from connection loss
- Low lag
- No ads
- Obtrusive watermark
You might have heard about DroidCam as a solution for using your smartphone as a webcam from a few years ago. Although the user interface of the app looks old-school, DriodCam boasts several incredible features. But you’d need to subscribe to the paid version to enjoy these benefits since the free tier isn’t really functional.
With DroidCam, you may be able to use your phone as a webcam without the PC client app, but only through MJPEG stream. Both wireless and wired connection options are supported on the DroidCam app. Although DroidCam works in the background (you’d have to sacrifice some fps, though), it does not recover from a connection loss.
- Captures phone’s mic well
- No watermark
- Most features are not free (even basic ones)
- Inability to automatically recover from connection loss
EpocCam is another popular app that you can use to make your iPhone serve as a webcam. Android devices are not compatible with EpocCam, though. Using either Wi-Fi or USB, you can easily connect your iPhone to use as a webcam. With the free version, the resolution is limited to 640 × 480 while a paid version increases the resolution up to 1080p and permits HDR video.
- Compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems
- Limited to only iPhones
#6: IP Webcam
IP Webcam is one of the most popular solutions to turn your smartphone into a webcam. Unlike similar solutions that require your PC to have a client app to function, IP Webcam doesn’t. And you can only connect your phone wirelessly to your PC.
The free version is a decent edition of the paid version, so you’d certainly enjoy most of the incredible features even if you don’t subscribe to the Pro version. However, you may find the user interface to be outdated and boring. On the good side, IP Webcam works in the background, allows multiple phones, and handles incoming calls.
- The free version is impressive
- Works in the background
- USB connection not supported
- Boring and outdated user interface
Read: How Do I Compare External Laptop Camera?
How to Use Your Phone As A Webcam
Now you’ve learned of the best apps to turn your phone into a webcam, let’s walk you through how to use your phone as a webcam. First things first, you’d need to download your preferred webcam app on your phone and your PC or laptop. When you want to use your phone as a webcam, turn on the appropriate webcam app on your phone which would then broadcast a signal to the app on your computer.
This connection between your phone and PC can be made wirelessly via Wi-Fi or by using a USB, depending on what’s permitted by the webcam app.
Immediately a connection is established, the app on your computer notifies Skype, Zoom, or whatever video conferencing service in use that your smartphone is a webcam. To get the best out of using your phone as a webcam, there are some things to do to look and sound your best. You’d have to pick one of the best smartphone tripods to hold your phone, as well as invest in a good mic and a ring light. More so, remember to keep your phone plugged into a power source during use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here, we’d answer some commonly asked questions regarding using a smartphone as a webcam.
Below are some frequently asked questions we’ve answered on this subject:
- Can I connect my phone to my laptop?
Yes, you can connect your smartphone to your laptop to use as a webcam. For most solutions, the webcam app must be installed on your smartphone and your PC. You may choose to use the wireless connection option or a USB, depending on what’s permitted by the app. For the USB option to work, enable USB debugging.
- Can I use my smartphone as a webcam for prolonged periods?
You may use your phone as a webcam for long periods. But in doing so, the phone produces plenty of heat and puts a strain on your device’s performance. So, either dedicate a phone to be used as a webcam or use it occasionally for this purpose.
- Is it free to use my smartphone as a webcam?
Most solutions that allow you to turn your smartphone into a webcam are free of charge. However, you may pay to enjoy additional features.
Read: Do External Webcams Have Microphones?
Making use of a smartphone as a webcam is a great alternative to average built-in cameras of laptops or the more expensive decent USB webcams.
You’d save money and enjoy more detailed footage during video calls. However, we should point out that smartphones are not built to deal with the attendant strain of prolonged use as a webcam. Expectedly, the phone generates plenty of heat from running the phone camera for long periods plus being constantly plugged into an energy source. For these reasons, your smartphone is best used as an occasional webcam for the optimum videoconferencing experience.