Thanks to COVID-19, more people are working from home than ever before. The only problem is you might not have a webcam to use. If you have a Wyze security camera already, you may be able to temporarily use it as a webcam. This is all thanks to a new firmware update.
Before you do anything, there are a few things you should know about turning your Wyze security camera into a webcam. First, Wyze security cams were never meant to function as webcams. As such, Wyze won’t continue supporting this. This one firmware update is all that will be available.
Secondly, Wyze cautions that things may not work exactly as planned. The company only tested it on a few operating systems, including Windows 7 and 10 along with Mac OS 10.13. If you have any other operating system, you may run into compatibility issues.
Finally, the most important thing to take note of is that once you’ve switched your camera to a webcam, it can’t be used as a security cam until you manually change it back. This leaves you with two options: you can either switch back and forth every day or leave yourself short a security camera until you no longer need a webcam or can order a dedicated webcam.
A minor issue you may encounter is the microphone audio may be fairly quiet. If this is the case, Wyze recommends using a separate speaker and mic if possible.
Things You’ll Need
You’ll need more than just your Wyze security camera to make the switch. Luckily, many people already have the following supplies on hand:
- 32 GB microSD card or larger (it must be blank)
- USB A to USB A cable (Wyze states a USB C to USB A may work, but it’s not guaranteed)
- Wyze Cam Pan or Wyze Cam V2
- Appropriate firmware – Wyze Cam V2 or Wyze Cam Pan
Ideally, you should format the microSD card if it’s not new. If you currently have files on it, back it up first and then format it. You’ll need it to install the firmware and will also need it to install the normal security camera firmware to switch the camera back later.
Security Camera to Webcam
The process is surprisingly easy, though some users have said they had difficulty getting it to work properly. This may be due to an unformatted microSD card or an incompatible operating system.
To switch from a Wyze security camera to a webcam:
1. Download the firmware (from the links above this section) for your specific Wyze camera.
2. Insert the microSD card into your computer.
3. For Mac OS users, open the downloaded .zip file. Drag the “demo.bin” file to the microSD card. For Windows users, right-click the downloaded .zip file and choose “Extract All.” Drag the “demo.bin” file to the microSD card.
4. Disconnect your Wyze security camera from its power supply.
5. Remove the microSD card from your computer and insert it into the bottom of the camera.
6. Press and hold the camera’s Setup button as you reconnect it to the power source.
7. Hold the button until the light on the camera stays solid blue. Both the yellow and blue lights will be on at once, causing a lighter blue color than normal.
8. Wait for the camera to reboot and install the firmware. If it’s successful, the status light will flash both blue and yellow at the exact same time. If it’s alternating, it’s either not finished or it didn’t install correctly. The entire process should take less than five minutes.
Use the USB A to USB A cable to connect your Wyze webcam to your computer. Open your video conferencing software and choose “HD USB Camera” as your preferred camera.
The makeshift webcam was tested by Wyze with GoToMeeting, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Cisco, and Blue Jeans. However, it may work in other video conferencing tools as well.
Once you’re done using the webcam feature, you’ll likely want to switch it back to a Wyze security camera. The process is pretty much the same; however, you’ll need to download the latest firmware for your camera. To switch back:
1. Download the firmware from Wyze for your particular model security camera.
2. Insert your microSD card and format it.
3. For Mac OS users, drag the entire firmware folder to the microSD card. For Windows users, right-click the file and choose “Extract All.” Drag the entire folder to the microSD card.
4. Click the file on the microSD card and rename it “demo.bin.”
5. Remove the microSD card.
6. Turn off your Wyze camera and insert the microSD card. Ensure your camera is disconnected from its power source.
7. Press and hold the camera’s setup button while reconnecting the power source.
8. Let go of the button once the light turns a solid blue.
9. Wait for the installation to complete, which shouldn’t take more than four to five minutes.
Once everything’s complete, your Wyze security camera will function normally. You won’t need to redo the setup of anything in the app.
While it’s not a perfect solution, it may last you until you can order a webcam. And don’t forget to take steps to prevent your webcam from being hacked.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons / Davidlamma