How to Use My Phone as a Webcam

And how to connect via wired and wireless connections

What to Know

  • You must install a mobile app on your Android and the client software on your PC.
  • Turn on developer mode and enable USB Debugging in Settings > Developer Options > USB Debugging.
  • The PC and phone must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network for a wireless connection.

This article will explain how to use your Android phone as a webcam on your computer.

While many laptops, tablets, and 2-in-1 computers come with a webcam built-in, it's not the case for desktop computers. It means either you must purchase a webcam separately, or you will need to use a comparable device to set up a makeshift video camera. One way is to use your smartphone and its built-in camera.

Can You Use Your Phone as a Webcam for Your Computer?

You can connect your Android phone to your computer, using either a wired or wireless connection, which then allows the computer to access your phone’s camera. You can also choose between your device's front or rear camera.

  • If you intend to use a wired connection, you’ll need the proper USB cord to connect your phone and computer.
  • If you’re planning to use a wireless connection, you will need to ensure the phone and computer are connected to the same network.
  • You need to install an app on both the phone and computer.

We're only covering Android phones in this article, but you can use an iPhone as a webcam, too.

How Can I Use My Android Phone as a Webcam Without an App?

Unfortunately, there is no way to set up a stable connection between your computer and your Android phone without using a third-party app.

The good news is you have several options when connecting your phone. While most apps utilize a wireless connection, requiring your phone and computer to be on the same Wi-Fi network, some will also allow you to connect by plugging in a USB cable.

How to Use Your Phone as a Webcam via a Wired USB Connection

You can connect your phone to your computer using a compatible USB cable, so you can access the camera feed. Using a USB cable also keeps powering flowing to the mobile device.

Preparing Your Phone and Computer

Before we begin, there are a few things to note:

The app we recommend using is DroidCam.

DroidCam includes free and paid versions. The free version allows low-quality video connections, but works just fine.

How to Use Your Phone as a Wired USB Webcam With DroidCam

With everything set up, now you can connect your Android phone and use it as a wired USB webcam.

Here's how to access the phone's camera on your computer:

  1. On your Android phone, ensure USB Debugging is turned on in Settings > Developer Options > USB Debugging.

  2. Open the DroidCam mobile app (on your phone). It will ask for permission to access your device camera and microphone. Tap Allow for both prompts.

    Steps to give DroidCam the correct permissions to access your camera with Allow highlighted
  3. Before connecting the computer and phone, tap the camera icon in the top right (of the app) and choose Front for the front camera. If you do not do this, you will see the rear camera when the connection is active.

  4. Start the DroidCam client software on your computer, and then connect a compatible USB cable to your phone and PC. You will see a notification pop-up on your phone asking for permission to Allow USB Debugging. Tap Allow.

    DroidCam mobile app allow USB debugging with camera icon, Front, and Allow highlighted
  5. In the desktop application, click the USB icon to connect your phone with a USB cable. Also, make sure the boxes next to Video and Audio are ticked.

    DroidCam USB mode highlighted and Audio Video boxes ticked
  6. You should see the name of your device in the connection field. If you do not see it, you may have to hit the refresh button and then select it in the dropdown. When you're ready, click Start.

    DroidCam Start button and device highlighted
  7. It may take a few seconds for the applications to sync, but you should see your camera feed on your computer once the connection is successful.

    DroidCam feed active

Once connected, your computer will continue displaying the camera feed from your phone, and you can select the camera in video apps. The display will eventually turn off on your phone to preserve power, but the camera feed will remain active.

You must always launch the DroidCam mobile app and software, and connect the feed, before starting any conferencing or video chat tools, like Zoom. Otherwise, the conferencing software will not recognize the external camera.

How to Use Your Phone as a Webcam via a Wireless Connection (Wi-Fi)

Using the same application(s), you can also connect your phone to your computer over your home Wi-Fi network. Granted, both your computer and your phone must be connected to the same network.

How to Connect Your Phone Wirelessly Using DroidCam

If you don't want to use a USB cable or wired connection, you can always sync the computer and phone wirelessly over Wi-Fi. Both devices must be connected to the same local network.

Here's how to show the phone's camera feed on your computer:

Whether you are connecting via USB (wired) or wirelessly, steps 1-3 are nearly identical. You may not have to repeat the process if you've done it already, such as when you're giving the app permission to access your camera and mic.

  1. Always start the DroidCam mobile application first. Give the app permission to access your camera and microphone if requested. Tap Allow for both prompts. If you’ve already done this before you shouldn't have to do it again, and may skip this step.

    Steps to give DroidCam the correct permissions to access your camera with Allow highlighted
  2. Before setting up the Wi-Fi connection, tap the camera icon in the top right (of the app) and choose Front for the front camera. If you do not do this, you will see the rear camera when the connection is active.

    Choosing a camera to use with DroidCam with the camera icon and Front highlighted
  3. Start the DroidCam desktop client. Leave the first option (a Wi-Fi icon) selected.

    DroidCam desktop client on startup with the Wi-Fi icon highlighted
  4. In the mobile app (on your phone), you will see IP and port information labeled as WiFi IP and DroidCam Port. Enter the information exactly as shown in the respective fields on the PC client. Make sure the Video and Audio fields are also checked. Then click Start when you’re ready to connect.

  5. It may take a few seconds for the applications to sync, but you should see your camera feed on your computer once the connection is successful.

    DroidCam desktop entering IP information with the Port numbers highlighted

Once connected, your computer will continue displaying the camera feed from your phone and you can select the camera in video apps. The display will eventually turn off on your phone to preserve power, but the camera feed will remain active.

Be sure to prop your phone up on a stand so the video is stabilized! You might also consider installing some better lighting or using a selfie ring light.

FAQ
  • How do you use your phone as a webcam for Twitch?

    On your Android device, download the CamON Live Streaming app, then launch the app, select the camera you want to use, and choose your feed quality. Using a browser or media source, import the feed into your broadcasting software, then follow your broadcasting software's prompts.

  • How do I use an iPhone as a webcam?

    To use your iPhone as a webcam, you'll need to download the EpocCam app to your iPhone, then launch the app and allow it to access your mic and camera. On your Mac, download the EpocCam app from the Mac App Store, then launch the app. Make sure your Mac and iPhone are on the same Wi-Fi network; they'll connect automatically, and you'll see the live feed from your iPhone on your Mac.

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