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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Apple details how to use your iPhone as a quality Mac webcam with Continuity Camera in iOS 16

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In one of the eyebrow-raising moments during its Worldwide Developer Conference 2022 keynotes, Apple presented a quirky approach to improving your Mac laptop camera quality by… using your iPhone as one.

Dubbed Continuity Camera, the option will arrive with macOS Ventura and will be a fully featured quality camera add-on for your Mac instead of the, ahem, hastily arranged tape-on solution it seemed at the keynote.

Apple iPhone Continuity Camera features and compatibility

  • iPhone 8 and up running iOS 16
  • Macs running macOS 13 Ventura
Apple’s engineer Karen Xing put out a lengthy explanation how Continuity Camera would work and it is worth watching in its entirety. The iPhone will appear as a Mac webcam and mic on several conditions, like running macOS 13 on your computer and iOS 16 on your iPhone.
The Center Stage camera feature that keeps the subject equidistant from the frame automatically, as well as the Portrait Mode and Studio Light options that Apple offers on some of its recent devices will be available here as well, under the camera options in the pull-down Control Center menu of your iPhone so you can swap them at will.

Mrs Xing also explains that Apple will have an API handy for iOS 16 and macOS 13 developers to peruse which will allow their app to automatically recognize and use your iPhone as a webcam for your Mac. 

This means that not only FaceTime, Zoom, or other popular video chat apps will be available at launch, but potentially much more will be lined up, ensuring wider compatibility. 

On the practical side of things, the Continuous Camera option can be used automatically either when your iPhone is on a stand and wired with a USB cable, or wirelessly when you Mac detects a “nearby” iPhone for Bluetooth or Wi-fi connection.

The Mac will be able to capture your iPhone’s screen at 1440p definition with 60fps frame rate while you will be able to use Apple’s funky Desk View mode, too, to project the flattened image from the ultrawide iPhone camera, though these can only be captured at 30fps. 

In any case, the iPhone Continuity Camera option that will land with iOS 16 and macOS 13 seems to be a much more fleshed out affair than Apple had the time to let on during the keynote presentation.

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