You might or might not be aware of this, but your iPhone is now a webcam. Or at least, it can be used that way.
And after using it as my primary webcam for meetings and training sessions, I can confidently say: It’s doing pretty well as a webcam!
Even to such a degree, that I’ve decided to write this post to tell you all about it! So bear with me for a second and let me give you three good reasons why you should try it yourself.
Ease of Use
There are several ways that you can improve your video calls. And speaking about the video quality, one of the best might be to get a mirrorless camera and hook that up with your computer. But getting an external camera to work as a webcam isn't just a matter of plug-and-play. In fact, it might be more work and hassle than you think.
In 2021, I bought the Fujifilm X-S10 – a compact mirrorless camera – for my video calls. To use it as a webcam, I additionally had to buy a connection cable, USB-C cable (to load it), and a so-called "capture card" to help my computer recognize the camera as a webcam. Not even mentioning that you have to find a proper solution to mount the camera over your monitor.
Let's compare this to using an iPhone. As expected from Apple, using your iPhone as a webcam is fuss-free. With the right Mac version, the iPhone will automatically pop up as an option on your Zoom or other video conferencing software of choice. Once you choose your iPhone in the dropdown of your video conferencing software, the Mac will connect with the iPhone in the background.
Now, you have a wireless webcam ready to roll with no dongles, no extra equipment, and no software installation. Simply select your iPhone as a webcam, and you're all set to impress on your video calls.
It's no surprise that an expensive camera with a great lens will give you better results than just your phone. But the iPhone actually gets pretty close to the quality of my complicated camera setup. First of all, I really like that the iPhone uses a wider lens, which offers a more natural view of your face, upper body, and surroundings. That way also gestures and body language is easier to get across via the screen.
Moreover, the iPhone has fantastic auto-focus and auto-exposure, which means you don't have to worry about constantly adjusting settings or fiddling with focus. The color reproduction and low light performance on the iPhone is also impressive, which can help create a more polished and professional appearance during video calls. Even when the lights dim outside.
Another thing that stood out for me was the dynamic range. The iPhone can easily handle situations, where you have a strong contrast in the image with light and dark spots at the same time.
[.box-highlight]I've also conducted a small A/B test on LinkedIn to see which image people like more. You can read through the comments here.[.box-highlight]
If you're an iPhone and Mac user, turning your phone into a webcam is a low-cost solution. All you have to do is find a way to attach your iPhone to your desktop or laptop monitor. And there are plenty of affordable options out there!
Right now, I'm using a mount from Wicked Chili. It not only securely holds my iPhone to my monitor, but it's also pretty handy for travel by train or plane. That makes it a versatile tool for working from the office, at home, or on the go.
Another option I have my eyes on is the Elephant Card. It's a nifty little iPhone mount that's about the size of a credit card. While it might not work for my monitor setup, it's even easier to carry around than the Wicked Chili mount. Plus, it looks like an elephant so that's a nice bonus!
With these solutions, you'll have a high-quality webcam without the need to spend big bucks on additional hardware. Of course, the disclaimer here is that you need to be deep into the Apple ecosystem with a Max and iPhone.
In summary, using your iPhone as a webcam is an easy and cost-effective alternative to purchasing a high-end webcam or mirrorless camera. Its ease of use, impressive camera quality, and low cost make it an excellent choice for anyone looking to upgrade their video call setup.
Update: Paola Otero wrote on LinkedIn that she has been using one of her old iPhones as a webcam. And after daily usage, it completely ruined the battery. So I would recommend always connecting the iPhone to a power cable when using it for video calls regularly.