Apple is expanding the power of its Continuity Camera feature this year with macOS Ventura and iOS 16. Now users can use iPhone as a Mac webcam for a high-quality, wireless experience. Follow us for a hands-on look at how to use the walkthrough camera.
Continuity Camera first launched with macOS Mojave and allowed users to take pictures with iPhone or iPad and view them instantly on Mac. Now there’s a big improvement with the option to use iPhone as a Mac webcam in the upcoming new software.
It really offers a huge leap in performance compared to using the built-in webcam on your MacBook Air or Pro, iMac, or Studio Display. And it’s probably better than most standalone webcams, too.
This is how Apple describes the new functionality:
With the power of Continuity, the Mac can automatically detect and use the camera on iPhone when it’s nearby – without having to activate or select it – and iPhone can even connect wirelessly to the Mac for more flexibility. Continuity Camera offers innovative features for all Mac computers, including Center Stage, Portrait mode and the new Studio Light – an effect that beautifully illuminates a user’s face while darkening the background. Also, the Continuity Camera accesses the iPhone’s ultra-wide camera to enable Desk View, which simultaneously shows the user’s face and a top view of their desk – great for creating DIY videos, showing sketches via FaceTime and much more.”
iOS 16 and macOS Ventura are currently available in free public or paid developer beta. Learn more about installing iOS 16 and macOS Ventura with our full guides.
Another great way to use iPhone as a Mac webcam is Reincubate’s Camo, especially if you don’t want to run the betas to test out the Continuity Camera. It’s a free download – basic features are free, advanced features are paid.
iPhone as a Mac webcam: This is how the walk-through camera works
How to activate the pass-through camera
- If you’re running iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, check that out WLAN and Bluetooth are switched on for both your Mac and your iPhone
- Make sure your Mac and iPhone are signed in with the use the same Apple ID and 2FA (per apple)
- By default, the continuity camera is on – but you can ensure this by going to the iPhone Settings app > General > AirPlay & Handover > Continuity Camera Webcam and making sure it’s on
- Bring your iPhone close to your Mac when launching FaceTime, Photo Booth, Zoom or any other app that can use a camera (even in the web browser)
- Your Mac should automatically switch to using your iPhone rear camera
- If your iPhone camera isn’t used automatically, click Video settings for the app you’re using and select your iPhone from the list (you can also use your iPhone microphone
Below is what your iPhone screen displays when using the pass-through camera. Even third-party apps like Zoom work with “Automatic Camera Selection”.
iPhone as Mac webcam features
Once you use iPhone as a Mac webcam with iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, you can access handy features like Center Stage, Portrait, Studio Light or Desk View.
- Click on the Control Center icon in your Mac’s menu bar (two pills icon in the top right corner)
- Choose Video Effects in the top left corner
- Now you can choose between Center Stage, Portrait, Studio Light or Desk View
- In our experience, Desk View is a bit wonky, but interesting nonetheless
- Desk View also currently opens in its own app
The pass-through camera works up to about 40 feet from a connected Mac. So you don’t have to have your iPhone within inches of your Mac to use the feature.
Complete video solution for the doorway camera
Take a closer look at using iPhone as a Mac webcam with pass-through camera and even more detail in my colleague Miles’ video below!
Apple’s WWDC keynote showcasing the Continuity Camera said it would release dedicated iPhone mounts through third-party vendors.
In the meantime, two great options are flexible gooseneck iPhone mounts or joby stands. And you can even make your own if you have a 3D printer:
What do you think of the walkthrough camera on Mac? Is it something you use or enjoy using? Or are you done with your built-in or any other existing Mac webcam? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Thanks for reading our guide to using iPhone as a Mac webcam with the pass-through camera!
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