At some point you may have wondered, “Can I use my phone as a webcam?” And if so, how? Also, why would you even want to, right? Well, webcams can be expensive, and maybe you already have an old phone lying around that has a good enough camera. All else aside, sometimes you might just be in a pinch and need a webcam quickly.
Actual webcams can be difficult to set up as well, and sometimes they still create problems afterward. Android phones are better suited for this use, but you can achieve it with Apple devices as well. There are a couple of options for each, so let’s look into those.
How to Mount Your Phone as a Webcam
Stability is the first thing you need to consider because no one wants webcam footage that is shaky and constantly blurring. A smartphone would need to be mounted in the same way as a USB webcam, but you can use holders to improve stability.
Mini-tripods are easy to find, and there are some that are designed specifically for smartphones. If you don’t want to get an actual stand, then something like a pop socket will also do.
How to Use an Android Phone as a Webcam
Here are the best apps to turn your android phone into a webcam for your PC. These work best for streaming in general, and for streaming on platforms like Twitch in particular.
IP Webcam is a free app that is available on Google Play, and it has two components, one for your phone and one for your PC. There’s also a premium version that you can update to, but the free one should get the job done for the most part.
Make sure that your phone and computer are connected to the same network because this method is Wi-Fi based. Once the app is downloaded, you can go to its connection settings and log in to the local broadcasting option.
The password here is also used on your PC when you connect it to your phone, and it also ensures safety. IP Webcam, as the name suggests, allows you to stream through a browser (Chrome or Firefox), and to access your phone’s footage on your PC, you need to go to http://[IP ADDRESS]:8080/videofeed using the IP address that shows up on your phone.
You can go to the Actions tab on your phone to make sure that everything is up and running, and Google Play also has a Dropbox plugin for IP Webcam that you can use to store footage.
DroidCam Wireless Webcam
DroidCam is similar to IP Webcam; you download the two components for your phone and PC, unzip them and run them. If you choose to stream via an IP address like with the last option, then the process remains the same. However, DroidCam also lets you connect your devices using the USB cable that came with your phone.
Other options that DroidCam gives you is adjusting video quality on your PC, along with resolution, zooming, and brightness. Most of these options are limited with the free version though, so you can upgrade to the premium one if you feel the need.
How to Use an Apple Phone as a Webcam
As we’ve already mentioned, iPhones aren’t as efficient when it comes to webcam substitutes. Here are the methods that come closest.
This is an app you can download from the Apple Store, and it works with drivers that you download from their website. EpocCam is a pretty good app overall; it supports Skype and Google Hangouts, it has a wireless range of twenty feet and supports both the front and rear iPhone cameras.
Footage from EpocCam has a watermark though, and the premium version allows you to remove it. It also has added features such as recording audio through a mic and adjusting resolution and focus.
iCamSource Pro Mobile
iCamSource Pro Mobile is, unfortunately, a paid app that offers no free version for you to try out, so this might not be for everyone. This apps works along with the iCamSource Pro Webcam app, and once you have both installed you can stream between any iOS devices.
This method works best if you’re trying to set up a makeshift security cam, rather than as an actual webcam. Apps like Presence also work well for this purpose.
While these options, and the Android ones, in particular, are easy to set up and don’t need you spending too much, you might want to consider other factors as well. For instance, if you need higher quality footage than a phone can offer, then you might as well just invest in a good webcam. On the other hand, if you only need a webcam for Skype and such, then it’s best to skip the hustle overall and just Skype on your phone!