iPhone as Mac Webcam: How to Use Continuity Camera

Apple is expanding the capabilities of its Continuity Camera feature this year with macOS Ventura and iOS 16. Now users will be able to use iPhone as a Mac webcam for a high-quality wireless experience. Follow us for a hands-on look at using the Continuity Camera.

Continuity Camera first arrived with macOS Mojave and allowed users to take photos with iPhone or iPad and view them instantly on Mac. Now that’s getting significantly better with the ability to use iPhone as a Mac webcam in new software coming soon.

It really does offer a huge leap in performance over using the built-in webcam of your MacBook Air or Pro, iMac, or Studio Display. And it’s probably better than most standalone webcams.

Here’s how Apple describes the new feature:

Thanks to the power of Continuity, Mac can automatically recognize and use the iPhone’s camera when it’s nearby, without having to wake it up or select it, and the iPhone can even connect wirelessly to the Mac for greater flexibility. Continuity Camera brings innovative features to all Mac computers, including Center Stage, Portrait Mode, and the new Studio Light, an effect that beautifully illuminates the user’s face while dimming the background. Additionally, Continuity Camera taps into the iPhone’s Ultra Wide Camera to enable Desk View, which simultaneously displays the user’s face and an overhead view of their desk – great for creating DIY videos, showing sketches on FaceTime, and more.

iOS 16 and macOS Ventura are currently available in free or paid public beta for developers. Learn more about installing iOS 16 and macOS Ventura in our comprehensive guides.

Camo by Reincubate is another awesome way to use the iPhone as a Mac webcam, especially if you don’t want to run betas to test out Continuity Camera. It’s a free download – basic features are free, advanced features are chargeable.

iPhone as a Mac webcam: how the Continuity Camera works

How to Enable Continuity Camera

  1. On iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, verify that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled for your Mac and iPhone
  2. Make sure your Mac and iPhone are connected with the same Apple ID and using 2FA (per apple)
  3. By default, Continuity Camera is enabled – but you can ensure this by heading to the iPhone Settings app > General > AirPlay & Handoff > Continuity Camera Webcam and ensure it is enabled.
  4. Approach your iPhone to your Mac when you launch FaceTime, Photo Booth, Zoom or any other app that can use a camera (also in the web browser)
  5. Your Mac should automatically switch to using your iPhone’s rear camera
  6. If it doesn’t automatically use your iPhone’s camera, click the video preferences of the app you’re using and choose your iPhone from the list (you can also use your iPhone’s microphone

Below is what your iPhone screen will show when using Continuity Camera. Even third-party apps like Zoom work with “automatic camera selection”.

iPhone webcam features like Mac

Once you use iPhone as a Mac webcam with iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, you can access convenient features such as Center Stage, Portrait, Studio Light or Desk View.

  1. Click the Control Center icon in your Mac’s menu bar (two pills icon in the upper right corner)
  2. Choose Video Effects in the upper left corner
  3. You can now choose between Center Stage, Portrait, Studio Light or Desk View
    • In our experience, Desk View is a bit wonky but interesting nonetheless
    • Desk View also currently opens in its own app
iPhone as webcam Mac Continuity Camera 3

The Continuity Camera works as far away from a connected Mac as about 40 feet. So you don’t need to have your iPhone within inches of your Mac to use this feature.

Continuity Camera Video Overview

Get a closer look at how to use the iPhone as a Mac webcam with Continuity Camera and even more details in my colleague Miles’ video below!

iPhone holders

During Apple’s WWDC keynote during the Continuity Camera showcase, it announced that it would be launching special third-party iPhone stands.

Meanwhile, two big options are flexible iPhone gooseneck mounts Where Joby Booths. And you can even create your own if you have a 3D printer:

What do you think of Continuity Camera on Mac? Is it something you use or look forward to using? Or are you ready with your built-in Mac webcam or another existing Mac webcam? Share your opinion in the comments!

Thanks for reading our guide to using iPhone as a Mac webcam with Continuity Camera!

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Steven L. Nielsen