Apps To Use Phone Camera as Web Camera For PC And Mac.
We all use a webcam, be it casual video calls, meetings or interviews. And for that you have to deal with the camera of your shitty little laptop. I recently got stuck in a meeting when my webcam was not working and then an idea came to my mind. What if I could use my phone’s camera as a webcam? At this point I found the app, but it was incorrect. So, I started looking for a good application that could actually solve my problem.
Below is a list of applications that can enable your phone to act as a webcam. These apps are designed for both Android and iOS and work on both Mac and Windows. Let’s start.
Read: Bridging the divide between Windows and Android
Use the phone camera as a webcam for PC and Mac
Before we start with applications , it is important to know how to connect a phone camera to the client application. These applications mentioned below operate on a client-server model. So, connecting them is a standard process. To demonstrate that I will be using the IP WebCam mobile application, and for testing, we will be using the Skype desktop application.
How to connect your phone’s camera
1. First of all, download and install the IP WebCam application on your mobile phone. Now open the app, go to the bottom of the screen and click “Start Server”.
Make sure your phone and computer are on the same Wi-Fi network.
2. After starting the server on the phone, you will see the connection URL. In my case, this is the URL “http://192.168.1.136:8080” as you can see below.
This URL is used to control the mobile camera from your PC or Mac. You have to enter the URL in a web browser and you will get all the camera controls and settings.
3. Now, to set up your smartphone camera as an IP webcam, you need to download and install the desktop application. Then enter “Configure IP Camera Adapter” in the “Start” menu and click on it.
4. In the desktop app, enter the same URL that appears in the mobile app. Add “/ videofeed” suffix to the URL. Finally, the URL should look like “http://192.168.1.136:8080/videofeed”.
5. After you have entered the URL, click the “Auto-detect” button to test the connection. If the connection is successful, you will receive the following message.
6. If the connection is successful, click the “Apply” button to register the changes.
7. Next, we have to set our mobile webcam as the default camera in Skype. To do this, open the Skype Desktop application and click on the three dots in the upper left corner. In the advanced menu, click on “Settings”.
8. In the Settings menu, go to the Audio & Video tab to change the video settings.
9. In the video settings, change the camera from “HD Webcam” to “MJPEG Camera”. This should stream the video from your phone. You can now use your phone’s camera as a webcam in Skype.
1. IP Camera Lite
Applications use the phone as a webcam
Most iOS webcam apps are either paid or just don’t work. IP Camera Lite is an exception among them, it is one of the working free webcam apps for iOS. The app’s user interface is traditional and you’ll be greeted with a blank screen. At the bottom of the screen there is a button “Enable IP Camera Server”. Click on it, the phone camera and webcam server will start with the connection URL on the screen.
Next, you need to connect via a web browser. IP Camera Lite also has a desktop app, but we’ll talk about that a little later. Just enter the url given in the phone camera app, you will be prompted to enter your credentials. By default, the username and password are “admin” (configured in the mobile application). The video stream works fine, but there is a noticeable lag in the frames. IP Camera Lite works with most web video calling services like Skype, Team Viewer, Slack, etc.
IP Camera Lite is the best iOS app. However, in the free version, you get a watermark in the upper right corner. Moreover, the IP Camera Lite desktop app just doesn’t work. In my testing, it was mostly unresponsive. Therefore, I would not recommend using a desktop app that is causing one major problem. It won’t work with desktop applications like Skype for desktop.
- The web application runs flawlessly with little latency.
- Ability to even use your smartphone’s microphone.
- It is not possible to select the resolution of the video camera.
- Free video watermark
- Desktop application does not work, so you can only use it from web video conferencing application
Premium Features ($ 1.99): No watermark, FTP or One Drive video upload, email notification, port forwarding, etc.
Platform: Windows, iOS, macOS, Android.
Download IP Camera Lite (Android | iOS | Windows | macOS)
2. IP Webcam
IP Webcam is another webcam app for Android and Windows. The app’s interface is pretty orthodox with a settings menu as its home page. You can set a password to log into the client application and a preferred port. The default is port 8080. The best thing is that the IP webcam supports streaming up to the camera’s maximum resolution. So, if your smartphone camera can shoot 4k video, you can stream in 4k as well.
The setting is similar to IP Camera lite. You can connect to your phone’s camera through a web browser or desktop app. But luckily the desktop app works flawlessly here. You can set video resolution via mobile app and client desktop app. Other features include using your phone as a security camera, previewing live video footage, uploading footage, and more.
The process of connecting to the IP webcam is smooth, however you don’t get the basic functionality in the smartphone app. Like, you can’t switch between the back and front camera. Instead, you must go to the web portal to do this.
- Options for using a phone camera as a video surveillance system.
- Live preview of footage on the web portal.
- Ability to download footage from a smartphone camera.
- The smartphone app lacks basic functions such as camera rotation and resolution setting.
Premium Features ($ 4): Upload video recording to Dropbox or SFTP server, audio recording and streaming.
Platform: Windows, Android.
Download IP Webcam (Android | Windows)
DroidCam is a small webcam utility, but with some extra features. Unlike other apps, DroidCam’s interface is pretty simple. Once you open the application, you will see the connection details. As with other apps, you can change the credentials as well as the port number.
You can also connect to the mobile app via a web browser or desktop app. DroidCam also provides additional options for connecting via USB or Wi-Fi. This is a great option as the latency of the USB connection is negligible. The app only supports resolutions up to 480p in the free version. It also provides an additional option to keep the camera running in the background. This really makes the webcam very tricky and you can use it to monitor children.
The app connection is one of the best, but it lacks basic controls. You cannot flip the camera after you have established a connection. The free version is also capped at 480p.
- Provides additional connection options such as access point and USB.
- The smartphone app can also run in the background.
- The free option offers a maximum resolution of 480p.
- Unable to flip the camera after establishing a connection.
Premium features: Ad-free, high-definition video support (up to 720p in HD mode), experimental FPS Boost option for up to 2x frame rate increases.
Platform: Windows, Linux, Android.
Download DroidCam Wireless Webcam (Windows | Linux | Android)
Read: 7 Best Airdrop Alternatives for Android, iOS, and Windows
iVCam is the only application in the segment with a more modern user interface. As soon as you open the application, iVCam starts searching for the laptop with the client application on the local network. Once it detects the app, the camera interface opens. iVCam has one of the smoothest connection processes on the list.
The camera interface here is completely unique among the other 3. It supports swipe gestures. You can swipe left / right to adjust ISO, up / down to adjust exposure, and pinch to zoom in. The gestures are handy and overall the app’s user interface is pretty intuitive. It informs you when it is online and even has an auto reconnect feature. In addition to this, you can also connect multiple devices to your iPhone. Thus, it broadcasts the same video stream to all devices.
The overall experience of the app is excellent, with only one major complaint. You get full screen ads between streaming videos. I mean, you can live with banner ads and watermarks, but full screen ads are a violation of the deal.
- The smartphone camera app is the most intuitive on this list.
- Automatic detection of the smartphone camera on the local network.
- The smartphone app supports touch gestures to change ISO and zoom level, etc.
- Multiple computers can be connected to one smartphone camera.
- Full Screen Ads
Premium Features ($ 7.99): No ads or watermarks.
Platform: Windows, iOS.
Download iVCam (iOS | Windows)
Which one should you choose?
If you’re using an iPhone from a PC or Mac, then IP Camera Lite is a good option. If you have a Windows system and an iPad or iPhone, consider purchasing the premium version of iVCam. For Android and Windows combination, an IP webcam works best. You get crisp footage with the highest resolution and no watermarks.
For any questions or concerns, leave comments below and let me know.
Also Read: 5 Best Screen Recorders for macOS (Free)