What Is Continuity Camera and How Does It Work?

Easily send photos and documents from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac

Photographing paperwork with an iPhone

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With Apple's incarnation of macOS Mojave, the company introduced a feature known as Continuity Camera that allows users to quickly take photos or scan documents with their iOS devices, such as iPhones or iPads, and have them show up on a Mac. This feature can be particularly useful when sending emails or creating documents, and we tell you all about it the guide below.

The information below applies to Mac computers running macOS Mojave and iOS devices running iOS 12.

What Is the Continuity Camera Feature?

Continuity Camera is an effortless way for your Mac and iOS devices to communicate, sharing documents and photographs with only a few clicks. If you have a physical material that you wish to scan or a want to insert a new picture into an application, continuity camera allows you to snap a photograph on your iPhone or iPad and then have it seamlessly appear on your computer running macOS Mojave in moments.

Requirements For Using the Continuity Camera Feature

To take advantage of Continuity Camera, your Mac must be running macOS Mojave and your iOS device — iPad or iPhone — must be running iOS 12. Additionally, both devices, both computer and mobile device, must have their Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on, and be signed into the same Apple ID.

Man using iPhone and Mac
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What Applications Support Continuity Camera?

Not all applications on the Mac are currently able to take advantage of the Continuity Camera feature. The follow noted apps are compatible with Continuity Camera in macOS Mojave:

  • Finder
  • Keynote
  • Mail
  • Messages
  • Notes
  • Numbers
  • Pages
  • TextEdit

If the application you are using on your Mac is not included in the above list, it will not work with Continuity Camera.

How the Continuity Camera Feature Works

To utilize Continuity Camera, you must first decide if you need to scan a document or a photograph into your Mac application. Select the appropriate steps below depending on your particular needs.

Taking a Photograph

If you wish to import a photograph into an application such as Apple's Keynote, you can follow these steps to accomplish the task.

  1. Within the supported application on macOS Mojave, right-click in an area where you would like the photograph to appear.

    Import from iPhone or iPad
  2. In the context menu that appears, select the Import from iPhone or iPad option, then select the Take Photo option.

    If the Take Photo option appears multiple times, select the option under the device you intend to use when taking the photograph.

  3. On your iPhone or iPad, take your photograph, then select Use Photo.

    Photograph appears on the Mac
  4. Now the photograph that you had just taken on your iOS device, should appear in the application on your Mac.

Scan a Document

The scan a document option can be extremely helpful for emailing paperwork with the stock macOS Mojave Mail application. Follow these steps to scan a document into your app.

  1. Within the supported application on macOS Mojave, right-click in an area where you would like the photograph to appear.

    Import from iPhone or iPad
  2. In the context menu that appears, select the Import from iPhone or iPad option, then select the Scan Documents option.

    If the Scan Documents option appears multiple times, select the option under the device you intend to use when scanning the documents.

  3. On your iPhone or iPad, ensure the document you wish to scan is in view of your camera — the device will automatically scan it when it has a clear view. Additionally, you can force a scan by hitting the camera button.

    Document scanning on iPhone
  4. If needed, drag the corners around the document to adjust its cropping.

  5. Continue to take more document scans if needed. When finished, select Save on your device's screen.

    Document appears on the Mac
  6. Now the documents that you had just scanned on your iOS device, should appear in the application on your Mac.

Troubleshooting Continuity Camera

In the event that something goes wrong, follow these steps to ensure that all requirements have been met for the function to work correctly:

  • Ensure that your Mac is running macOS Mojave and that your iOS device is running iOS 12.
  • Ensure that both your Mac and iOS device have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled.
  • Ensure that you are signed into the same Apple ID on both your Mac and iOS device.
  • Ensure you are using one of the supported macOS applications for Continuity Camera as noted previously.
Woman with headset for tech support
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If you continue to face issues with continuity camera or need a helping hand, you can reach out to Apple support via telephone or an in-store Genius Bar appointment.