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How to use your phone as a webcam

An elderly couple sitting at a table at home using a mobile phone as a webcam

With the exponential growth in video-conferencing for home working or virtual meet-ups with friends, the demand for decent webcams has soared.

Unfortunately, as a result of this surge, finding a good webcam in stock and at a reasonable price has become increasingly difficult. The need to source an alternative to a dedicated webcam has become even more pressing.

If this sounds like you, don’t despair as a solution is close at hand. With just a few tweaks, that marvellous smartphone you love and cherish can easily be turned into a webcam to fulfil all your video-conferencing needs.

Intrigued? Then read our handy guide on how to use your phone as a webcam. And remember to have the right insurance for your mobile phone in place to protect your device, no matter how you use it.

 

Why you should use your phone as a webcam

Whether you’re finding it difficult to source a decent webcam or simply want to cut down on the amount of tech littering your desk, using your phone to meet this need has a host of advantages.

 

Better quality

You might be surprised to learn the webcam included in your swanky new laptop is probably of worse quality than that included in your comparatively powerful camera built into your phone. With laptop manufacturers creating ever thinner displays to meet consumer demand, there simply isn’t enough space to house something better. 

 

Bigger impact

Using your phone as a webcam means the conversations you would normally have over the phone or via email can now take place face to face. Being able to see other participants’ facial expressions and body language means you’re better placed to gauge your impact. This also enables more meaningful conversations and reduces the risk of misunderstandings.

 

Convenient and low cost

With cameras built into modern phones, it’s easier than ever to capture great video content. By combining this with webcam capability, you can create engaging video content in a simple and straightforward manner. Okay, they might not match professional video equipment but they’ll be good quality, convenient and produced at a fraction of the price. What’s not to like?

 

Great alternative to video meetings

You can already use your phone to run video meetings without the need of a webcam. Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams all have Android and iPhone apps to download. While this is great just to follow along with a meeting, you may struggle if you have to present something or have to share your screen.

A person using their mobile phone as a webcam

How to use your Android phone as a webcam

There are a whole host of available apps promising to transform your Android phone into a webcam. Of the apps worth paying for the iCam app at £3 is probably our favourite option (it also works with iOS).

Meanwhile DroidCam seems to be the leading free app (DroidCamX is a premium app that costs £4.99 and offers additional controls). To use this app simply do the following:

  1. Download the DroidCam app to your phone. Check your phone is running Android 5.0 or higher by going to Settings > About Phone > Android Version.
  2. Download the DroidCam Windows client to your PC or laptop. Follow the setup installation instructions that appear.
  3. Once the DroidCam app icon appears on your desktop open it.
  4. Open the app on your phone.
  5. Ensure both your phone and other device are connected to the same Wi-Fi network (it also works if your device is connected via Ethernet).
  6. Via the phone app you’ll see numbers after Wi-Fi IP and DroidCam Port. Enter these numbers into the corresponding fields that appear on the DroidCam Windows client on your PC.
  7. Check both Video and Audio are selected and hit Start.
  8. The DroidCam app will launch the phone camera and you’ll see the feed via the Windows client on your PC.

To use DroidCam with video conferencing software you need to open the video conferencing app’s settings and change the camera and microphone input to DroidCam and DroidCam Virtual Audio.

Make sure your phone is plugged into a power source as streaming video and audio to your PC will rapidly use up battery power.

 

How to use your iPhone as a webcam

Just as with Android phones, there are various iOS apps you can use to turn your iPhone into a webcam.

Apart from DroidCam (which is also available for iOS and requires a similar set-up procedure as above) another good option is the recently released Camo app from Reincubate.

There is a free edition available or a Pro edition for £34.99. To get the Camo app working do the following:

  1. Download and install the Camo app onto your iPhone.
  2. Download the companion application for your iMac or MacBook.
  3. Launch the iMac application and connect your iPhone using a USB cable.
  4. Camo will then ask permission to use the two devices together.
  5. Once you’ve agreed, your iPhone’s camera view should appear on the Camo iMac application.
  6. Open your video conferencing settings and change input device to Reincubate Camo.

 

How to set up your phone for use as a webcam

When you’ve gone to the effort of connecting your phone for use as a webcam you don’t want to ruin the great impression by jittery hand-held footage.

Instead, invest in a case to prop up your phone or even a desk tripod for a more professional look.

Dropping your phone midway through a meeting not only looks shambolic but might also lead to a claim on your mobile phone insurance policy!

A smartly dressed woman sitting at a table in a coffee shop using her mobile phone as a webcam

Mobile phone insurance with Gadget Cover

Policies arranged by Gadget Cover include protection for common issues such as accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage.

For an additional premium, policies can also cover your mobile phone, tablets and smartwatches against loss.

The specialist team at Gadget Cover has over 25 years of experience finding the ideal cover to suit both business and individual requirements.

Whether for business or pleasure, worldwide cover up to 180 days in any one year is available. Policies can also cover any accessories (up to £150) if they’re lost, stolen or damaged at the same time as your phone.

Get a quick quote for mobile phone insurance from Gadget Cover today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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