If there is one thing Mac and Windows computer owners can agree on, it’s that built-in webcams are almost universally bad. Sure, there are likely some exceptions if you dig deep enough, but those would be the exception and not the rule. As work from home continues to rise in popularity, demand for webcams has jumped enormously leading to skyrocketing prices. Fortunately, you can avoid fighting the crowds as you likely already have the best webcam sitting next to you on your desk. The following shows how to use your iPhone as a webcam for all of your video chatting
Using your iPhone as a webcam will require the installation of a third-party app both on your iPhone and Mac or Windows computer. Setting up both apps is fairly simple and will be covered later. The good news is that this works for Skype, Zoom, Slack, WhatsApp or any other avalable video service. If you really want to take using your iPhone as a webcam to new heights, you’ll want to invest in a small tripod as well.
Incorporating a tripod will make sure the iPhone stays stable throughout a video call. Going this route also means you are reliant on the iPhone microphone and speaker for picking up your voice and listening to others. For the best experience, a pair of headphones will come in handy.
Setting Everything Up
There are several different apps available that enable you to use your iPhone as a webcam but few are as recommended as EpocCam.
1. With no cables or hardware setup required, begin by grabbing the app from the App Store.
2. Next, head to www.kinoni.com and download the macOS drivers (10.12 or later) or those for Windows (Windows 7 and later). Remember to install the drivers after downloading.
3. Once the drivers are installed, there is nothing else that really needs to be done on a computer. As long as the computer and iPhone are on the same Wi-Fi, you are ready to move on.
4. On the iPhone, go back and launch the EpcoCam app. Initially, you will likely see an all-black screen with an image of a laptop and a phone in a pulsing circle. That is normal. It indicates your iPhone is searching for the computer.
5. As a reminder, the app itself won’t “connect” to the computer until you launch an app like Skype, Teams or Zoom.
6. Launch an app that incorporates video, whether it’s Skype, Zoom, Teams, etc., and head to the camera settings. Select “EpocCam” instead of your built-in camera. The latter should be enabled by default so both options should be present in a drop-down box.
7. Once selected, a notification will appear on either your Mac or Windows computer confirming the switch.
The free version of EpocCam does come with some limits, so note those ahead of time. For one, it limits your video quality to 640×480 at 30fps. That’s likely still better than your computer’s webcam. The free version also requires you to review the app on the App Store and requires a set of headphones to use as a microphone.
If you want the premium experience that unlocks 1080p Full HD quality and want to also use the iPhone microphone for calls, it will cost you $8. That removes the free version watermark, removes in-app ads, adds dual-camera support (for capable iPhones), and also introduces manual focus.
If, for any reason, you do not see EpocCam listed as an option underneath camera settings for any app, reinstall the drivers. You can also double-check that the phone and computer are on the same Wi-Fi connection. In the event you only see a black screen on your iPhone with a spinning loading icon, quit the app and open it again on both the computer and iPhone.
Separately, you may run into some trouble if you are using a browser-based videoconferencing application rather than its desktop counterpart. In that case you will need to make sure you provide your browser with permission to access your webcam. That should happen naturally every time you open the web-based app, or it can be found inside various web browser settings.
Of course, the iPhone isn’t the only device that can double as a webcam.