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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.

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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

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!

  1. Ian Quinn
    September 3, 2016 at 5:01 am

    Can this be used for making YouTube videos? I'm trying to do facecams to play horror games and record my reactions.

  2. Boet
    May 13, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Klink na 'n kak App hierdie

    • dieskim
      October 14, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Klink na 'n kak comment hierdie.

  3. jerryemerydelacruz
    April 19, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    There is no menu button on the smart cam app. Right away this thing isn't going as the video describes.

  4. Balaji
    December 20, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    There is no ipv4 address for my wlan what to do..

  5. Olivia
    March 26, 2015 at 11:53 am

    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.

  6. virender
    March 15, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Hi all, can anyone tell me that how to install desktop client because I downloaded the jSmartCam.jar from the 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!

  7. Thomas W.
    February 19, 2015 at 9:50 am

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

  8. Aidan K.
    February 1, 2015 at 10:45 pm

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

  9. Rohan
    January 20, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    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

  10. wolo
    December 15, 2014 at 12:12 am

    Very low fps, like 6 or less. Even in 720p. Tested on two n-routers + gigabit ethernet. Android 4.4. It's just not working very smooth.
    Whatever I set, it captures at 320x240x20fps
    And it doesn't work as webcam device for use in any other program.

  11. diane reed whatley
    February 7, 2013 at 1:37 am

    do the web cam work on your Android phone?

  12. diane reed whatley
    February 7, 2013 at 1:33 am

    Do the webcam work on Android phones ?

  13. saurabh
    January 7, 2013 at 9:26 am
  14. John M
    November 30, 2012 at 4:44 am

    the app kept shutting down on my samsung g s3. ????

    • Simon Slangen
      December 3, 2012 at 10:05 am

      Sorry to hear that. What app was it? I'd suggest you to contact the developer.

      • Simon Slangen
        December 3, 2012 at 10:06 am

        I meant to say: What version of the app was it?

  15. Jacob Twitchel
    September 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Wow I can't wait to try this! Sounds really cool and I'm excited that I can use it on my Linux PC too!

  16. Richard Borkovec
    September 10, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Pretty sweet, and I can definitely see the use to record your Android device from your computer.

  17. Smumdax
    September 10, 2012 at 6:33 am

    I don't have WiFi and I don't have blutooth on my PC... can this be achieved using USB ?

  18. Riya Banerjee
    September 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    giving it a try

  19. Luka Prebil
    September 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    nice one thanks, shared

  20. Aung Thu Htet
    September 9, 2012 at 6:20 am

    great, nice post!

  21. Kelly Buchanan
    September 7, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Great way to use your old Android phones.

  22. shaurya gupta
    September 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Hey dude, please write an article on windows phone 8. I'd be thankful.

  23. shaurya gupta
    September 7, 2012 at 11:58 am

    thanks Muo. I like it. first it did not work for me. And now MUO, It works for me .

  24. Manohar Singh
    September 7, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Awesome i dont no about this feature but through this site i cum to know how to utilise the smart phone perfectly
    Thanks TO

  25. sanjay_addya
    September 6, 2012 at 5:18 am

    It would worked better and give better frame rates, if it worked over USB

  26. L Sulasno
    September 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    thanks for the tip

  27. Vampie C.
    September 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Does that means that with a VPN tunnel, it works as well?

  28. Kao Vang
    September 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Must try this later.

  29. lance burn
    September 5, 2012 at 9:08 am

    am gona try this

  30. thuya8
    September 5, 2012 at 12:22 am

    I prefer IP Webcam.No need to install Windows Client.

  31. Arron Walker
    September 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    This sounds awesome - finally, a webcam for my desktop. I'll probably try this in the next few days.

  32. Fik-of-borg
    September 4, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Working perfectly via wifi from an Samsung Galaxy SII to Zoneminder on Ubuntu under VirtualBox watchable on the LAN and WAN after an ubuntu router. Nerdgasm.

  33. venkatp16
    September 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Suuuuuper tool... earlier i used Webcam plus for my very very old HTC wndows phone. Now i'm using android based phone and this is really a gr8 tooolll..

    THanks a ton for such a gr8 info.

  34. Rutul
    September 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Why you guys don't make a pdf version of such useful artcles and make it downloadable?

    • Ole Funch
      September 5, 2012 at 6:49 am

      Hi Rutul
      Why don't you just install a PDF printer, such as i.e. pdf creator, cute pdf (all freeware), and then save the article as a PDF doc..
      Works fine for all web sites and other things (e-mails and so on).

  35. Petey Pabler
    September 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Worked well for me. Not choppy at all. HTC EVO Shift 4G.

  36. Ashwin Ramesh
    September 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    aahh... nice! Thanks for this :)

  37. Darren Reynolds
    September 4, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Cool, gonna try it right now :) Thanks

  38. Muhammad Ahmad
    September 4, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Hi can you please tell me the best digital camera under 150$. I want a purchase a low budget but good camera for my tour.
    Thank you.

    • Tina
      September 8, 2012 at 6:18 am


      As you might have figured by now, this is a bad place to ask your question. I recommend you try MakeUseOf Answers. Good luck!

  39. josemon maliakal
    September 4, 2012 at 1:58 am

    is there something for Linux users ????

  40. Mark
    September 4, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Nifty, but are there advantages to this setup as opposed to just directly using a Skype or Google+ app on your phone?

    • juanDM4
      September 4, 2012 at 1:22 am

      and that mr mark is the real question

    • Fik-of-borg
      September 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      A lot of barely old phones don't work with Skype or G+ (I'm yet to try it with my "old" Samsung Galaxy i5500)

  41. xbalesx
    September 3, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Learned this about 3 months my dad uses this setup for our weekly calls.

  42. Scutterman
    September 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    I tried to use SmartCam to record video from my android before but it didn't work so well. I may try again now.

  43. Boyd Yocum
    September 3, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    I've done that before, works well

  44. Edward Bellair
    September 3, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I like it. Thank you.

  45. Igor Rizvi?
    September 3, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    sharing this,thanks

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