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How to use your iPhone as a webcam on a Mac so your video chats are much clearer

How to use your iPhone as a Mac webcam.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The webcam on your Mac is not nearly as good as the camera on your iPhone. The video might be blurry and colors are sometimes washed out. It doesn’t keep you well-lit. But if you’ve purchased an iPhone in the last few years, you have a very good camera right in your pocket.

An app named Camo lets you use your iPhone as your Mac’s webcam. It’s super easy to set up. It even integrates with popular video chat services you’re probably already using for work or school, like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams, and Slack in your web browser.

Camo is free to use, though you can pay for a premium version that starts at $4.99 a month and gets rid of a small Camo logo that appears during videos, works on two computers, and removes a watermark. But you’ll still see an upgrade if you don’t.

Just as a quick example, here’s what I look like on the webcam of the newest MacBook Air:

Mac webcam sample

And here’s what I look like using the iPhone as a webcam with the free version of Camo. It’s much clearer and the colors are better. It doesn’t help my ugly mug, but we do what we can around here:

The iPhone’s camera makes a better webcam.

Here’s how to use it.

How to use your iPhone as a webcam on your Mac

Get started:

  • Start by downloading and installing the Camo app on your Mac.
  • Next, download the Camo app on your iPhone.
  • Open the Camo app on your Mac.
  • Now plug your iPhone into your Mac.
  • Open the Camo app on your iPhone.
  • You should see the video feed coming through the Camo app on your Mac. (Make sure your iPhone’s main cameras on the back are facing you.)
  • Prop up your iPhone near your computer. I use a $35 tablet stand from Amazon but you can probably prop it up on anything.

Here’s what the app looks like:

The Camo app on a Mac.

Play around with the camera zoom levels on the top left — I had mine set to 75%. If you pay for the premium version (again, I didn’t), you can choose a sharper 1080p resolution instead of 720p, switch to the zoom or wide-angle lenses on your iPhone and adjust things like exposure and white balance.

Now I’ll show you how to get it set up with specific apps.

How to use your iPhone as a webcam in Zoom

Zoom is well integrated with Camo. All you need to do is change the webcam it’s pulling from, so that it’s taking video from your iPhone.

To do that:

  • Open Zoom on your Mac.
  • Tap the settings icon on the top-right (it looks like a gear).
  • Choose Video.
  • Under Camera, change the dropdown from “FaceTime HD” to “Reincubate Camo.”

How to use your iPhone as a webcam in Slack

Camo’s integration with Slack best works through Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox right now, though the app says it’s hoping to build better support for the full Slack app, too.

To use it, do this:

  • Restart your browser after you install Camo. This is important or you may not see the option to choose Camo as your webcam.
  • Reopen your browser.
  • Open the Slack website and log in.
  • Tap your profile picture on the top-right.
  • Choose Preferences.
  • Tap “Audio & Video.”
  • In the dropdown area where it says “FaceTime HD Camera” choose “Reincubate Camo.”

How to use your iPhone as a webcam in other apps

Camo supports a bunch of apps and can be selected from the settings menu as your camera automatically in apps like GoToMeeting, BlueJeans, Google Meet and more. The settings for Microsoft Teams are similar to those for Slack, mentioned above, but works best in a browser right now.

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