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.

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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!

45 Comments - Write a Comment

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Igor Rizvi?

sharing this,thanks

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Edward Bellair

I like it. Thank you.

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Boyd Yocum

I’ve done that before, works well

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Scutterman

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

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xbalesx

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

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Mark

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

juanDM4

and that mr mark is the real question

Fik-of-borg

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)

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josemon maliakal

is there something for Linux users ????

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Muhammad Ahmad

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

Muhammad,

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

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Darren Reynolds

Cool, gonna try it right now :) Thanks

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Ashwin Ramesh

aahh… nice! Thanks for this :)

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Petey Pabler

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

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Rutul

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

Ole Funch

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).

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venkatp16

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.

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Fik-of-borg

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.

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Arron Walker

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

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thuya8

I prefer IP Webcam.No need to install Windows Client.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pas.webcam&hl=en

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lance burn

am gona try this

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Kao Vang

Must try this later.

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Vampie C.

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

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L Sulasno

thanks for the tip

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sanjay_addya

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

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Manohar Singh

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

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shaurya gupta

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

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shaurya gupta

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

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Kelly Buchanan

Great way to use your old Android phones.

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Aung Thu Htet

great, nice post!

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Luka Prebil

nice one thanks, shared

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Riya Banerjee

giving it a try

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Smumdax

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

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Richard Borkovec

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

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Jacob Twitchel

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!

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John M

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

Simon Slangen

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

Simon Slangen

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

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saurabh

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diane reed whatley

Do the webcam work on Android phones ?

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diane reed whatley

do the web cam work on your Android phone?

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wolo

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.

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