How To Use An Android Device As A PC Webcam

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use android phone as webcamThese days most new laptops feature an integrated webcam, often with an impressive number of megapixels. Users with older, and desktop computers still have to rely on an external one.

But if you’re not in a long distance relationship, or regularly make conference calls for work, chances are you’ve never even bought one.

If you need to make a few Skype calls or want to start a Hangout on Google Plus, but don’t have the necessary equipment at hand, don’t run off to the hardware store just yet! If you have an Android smartphone with camera, you can simply use your phone instead. Given, the framerate will not be on par with a decent store-bought webcam, but it’s more than good enough for a sporadic video chat.

1. Prerequisites

The tool we’re going to use is called SmartCam. The application is twofold; to use it you’ll need to install both the Android client and the desktop client. This desktop client is available for Windows and Linux computers. In this article we’re going to focus on Windows, but the process is similar if you’re using Linux.

Make sure you’ve installed both applications before continuing to the next step.

2. Configuration

There are two ways to connect SmartCam to your computer; Wi-Fi and BlueTooth. We’ll show you how to connect over Wi-Fi.

First open SmartCam on your Android phone, press the menu button on your phone to show the available options, and select Settings. Here, select TCP/IP (WiFi) as your Connection type, and enter the local IP address of your computer under Remote server.

use android phone as webcam

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You can find the local IP address of a Windows computer using Command Prompt. Open command prompt by searching for it in your Applications, or by running “cmd” in the Start menu.

In Command Prompt, enter “ipconfig /all” and press enter. There’ll be a lot of information here; a block of data for every (virtual) network adapter. If your computer also accesses the internet through Wi-Fi, look for the IPv4 address of your Wireless LAN adapter. If your computer uses a cable to connect to the internet, look for an ethernet adapter.

use android as webcam

Open SmartCam on your computer as well, and make sure the connection type in the preferences pane is also set to use TCP/IP (WiFi).

3. Connecting

Turn on the Wi-Fi connectivity on your Android, and connect your phone to the same network that your computer is on. With SmartCam already open on your computer, launch the application on your Android phone and select Menu -> Connect WiFi.

use android phone as webcam

In less than a minute, the image of your Android phone camera should appear in the SmartCam application on your desktop, with the video resolution and framerate visible below the video stream. If you’re so inclined, you can also record this input to a video file on your desktop. To use your makeshift webcam in another application, simply select SmartCam as your webcam when prompted.

How well does your smartphone webcam hold up? Test it out, and let us know in the comments below this article!

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Comments (50)
  • Olivia

    I followed your instructions to a T and yet each time I hit “connect to Wifi” the android client just crashes. I’m not mad or anything I just thought I would share my experience. I may have gone wrong somewhere in the computer IP address section… It was really hard to find the IPv4 address, I couldn’t easily find it among the IPv6 addresses. I found it eventually, under “Wireless LAN adapter Wi-Fi:” under the subheading “eferred.” I’m not sure if that makes any difference or what but there ya go.

  • virender

    Hi all, can anyone tell me that how to install desktop client because I downloaded the jSmartCam.jar from the sourceforge.net and I am unable to install it both in my desktop and android. Can anyone help me to use android phone as webcam through Wi-Fi. Please help. Thanks in advance!

  • Thomas W.

    I could not connect SmartCam by bluetooth. After starting the connection the application try to connect and after one or two seconds crash.

  • Aidan K.

    Didn’t work. Says “Connecting” for about 30 seconds, then tells me there was a problem with the remote server.

  • Rohan

    I have Samsung Galaxy Grand prime , when i have installed smartcam soft on my phone and pc as well, there is no setting shown on my mobile only image through camera is remain display ed. please help me, how can i get the setting of smartcam on my mobile

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.