The Mac’s FaceTime camera sucks – 720p or 1080p, it doesn’t matter. But Apple can make great cameras, like those in the iPhone, and with macOS Ventura and iOS 16, Apple is leveraging its iPhone cameras so they can be used as a webcam with a new enhancement to the Continuity Camera feature. from macOS.
If you’re tired of being annoyed by the Mac’s image quality during video conferences, or if you demand better quality for video recordings of yourself that you want to use, Continuity Camera is a godsend. And luckily, it’s so easy to set up and use that you’ll come to rely on it and only use the Mac’s built-in camera in an emergency.
Here’s how to set up and use Continuity Camera. But first, here are the requirements:
A running mac macOS Ventura (the public beta is available now, with the official release taking place this fall)
A iPhone 8 or XR running iOS 16 (the public beta is available now, with the official release taking place this fall)
Logged in to the same Apple ID account on Mac and iPhone
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled on both devices
iPhone 11 or later use the center stage and Office view Features
IPhone 12 or later use the workshop light characteristic
You will probably want a camera mount which can hold the iPhone in place on your Mac screen. In this article, I use a preview version of Belkin’s iPhone support for MacBook, which is not yet available. It will be available in the fall, and keep in mind that the final version may differ slightly from the version I used. If you don’t have a stand, you can use a tripod with a phone mount.
How to Use an iPhone as a Webcam in macOS Ventura
Time to complete: 3 minutes
Necessary tools: camera mount
Materials needed: Mac, iPhone 8 or later
Enable Continuity Camera on iPhone
Open the Settings app on your iPhone, then tap General > AirPlay and transferthen turn on the switch for the Continuity Camera Webcam setting. Exit Settings.
Mount the iPhone to the Mac display using a stand or stand, or set it up using a tripod or other method. You can even hold the iPhone – the phone just needs to be within Bluetooth range of the Mac.
Open a video app on your Mac
On your Mac, open the video app you want to use: FaceTime, Zoom, etc. (In this demo, I’m using QuickTime.) After launching the app, navigate to the setting that lets you select a camera; in QuickTime there is a menu next to the record button. Your iPhone’s name should appear in the list of available cameras. Select your iPhone, and that’s it! You should use your iPhone as the Mac’s webcam. (Note: at the time of this writing, iMovie does not support Continuity Camera.)
You can also select the iPhone microphone as the audio input device. Where you select the microphone depends on the application. In QuickTime above, it’s in the same menu as the camera selection.
How to enable desktop view
Desk View uses the iPhone’s Ultra Wide Camera (iPhone 11 or later required) to take a view of your desk. It can also capture you at the same time, so you can do desktop demos,
As of this writing, however, Desk View has a fixed viewing angle, and that angle is such that it can’t see a MacBook keyboard if the iPhone is mounted on the laptop screen – Desk View captures the area around a foot in front of the laptop. Apple hasn’t said if the angle will be adjustable in the future.
To enable Desktop View, you must have Continuity Camera running. Open the Control Center from the menu bar and click on the Video effects button (this button will not appear if the camera is not on). A Video Effects menu appears; select Office view. This is also where you turn off the desktop view.
A Desk View application will launch. To be able to see the video application you are using and the DeskView application at the same time, you can try tiling the windows to help you see them (Window > Tiled window on the left/right side of the screen), however, some apps (like FaceTime) will not work with Mosaic.
How to activate Center Stage
Center Stage is an effect that keeps you in the center of the frame (iPhone 11 or later required). With Continuity Camera running, open Control Center from the menu bar and click the Video effects button. A Video Effects menu appears, then you select center stage.
How to Enable Portrait Mode
Portrait mode is an effect that blurs the background. In Control Center in the menu bar, click the Video effects button. From the Video Effects menu, select Portrait and the background will be blurred.
How to turn on Studio Light
Studio Light uses iPhone flash as the light to illuminate your photo (iPhone 12 or later required). With Continuity Camera running, open Control Center from the menu bar and click the Video effects button. Then select workshop light.
How to Disconnect Your iPhone as a Mac Webcam
All you have to do is quit the video app you’re using on your Mac. The iPhone can display the screen above, and all you have to do is touch Disconnect.