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Did you know it’s possible to use your iPhone as a webcam? It’s never going to quite mimic a webcam in the traditional sense, but there are a few apps that’ll record the phone’s camera Record Your iPhone or iPad Screen Over Lightning With Your Mac Record Your iPhone or iPad Screen Over Lightning With Your Mac Apple has made recording easier with a "hidden" feature to OS X Yosemite that lets users stream their iPhone or iPad display to a Mac. Here's how it works. Read More and send it to a Mac, a Windows PC, another mobile device, or even to the web.

Doing so has practical benefits. For example, you could use it as a baby monitor, a pet monitor, or security camera How to Set Up Security Cameras and Avoid Common Mistakes How to Set Up Security Cameras and Avoid Common Mistakes In this article, I'm going to explain five of the most common mistakes people make when setting up their security cameras. Hopefully, it will help you avoid making the same errors. Read More . If you’ve got an old device gathering dust in a drawer, it could save you a significant amount of money.

Keeping reading to discover five apps that’ll let you use your iPhone’s camera as a webcam.

1. EpocCam Wireless Virtual Computer Webcam (free)

With more than three million downloads and a 4.5-star rating, EpocCam Wireless Virtual Computer Webcam is the most popular and most frequently downloaded webcam app in the App Store.

It works with all webcam-enabled apps (such as Skype and Google Hangouts), supports your iPhone’s rear- and front-facing cameras, and encrypts all the video it records. It has a wireless range of 20 feet.

In addition to the app, you’ll also need to download the drivers directly from the developer’s website. Setting up the connection is fully automated; you don’t need to do anything. You can upgrade to EpocCam HD for $6. It introduces autofocus and an on/off toggle for the flashlight.

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Unfortunately EpocCam has a few negative reviews of late, and hasn’t received an update for a while. Fortunately it’s free to try, so you can make sure it works before deciding if it’s worth upgrading or not.

2. PocketCam Lite (free)

PocketCam Lite lets you use your iPhone’s camera as the main webcam for your Windows or Mac computer. It’s compatible with FaceTime, iChat, Skype, MSN Live Messenger, and AIM, among others.

It’s great if you need to walk around your house or office while you’re on a video call – you won’t need to worry about lugging your laptop around with you or tripping over cables. Because of how it works, you can also record the app’s output on your machine using webcam recording software such as QuickTime.

As with EpocCam, you’ll need to download drivers from the developer’s website before the app can function.

The Lite version only sends black and white video and will not transmit audio. For a color feed and audio playback, you’ll need to buy the pro version for $5. Again, the free-to-try model is handy for testing whether or not the app works for you before you hand over any money.

3. AtHome Camera (free)

AtHome Camera is unique; a computer can remotely view your iPhone’s camera feed, but the iPhone app can also remotely view your computer’s webcam feed. There are two parts to the app – a streamer and a viewer. Both can run on computers (Mac and Windows), smartphones, and tablets.

Aside from the flexibility, it also has some other great features:

It’s not your traditional webcam app, it’s advert-supported, and comes with options to upgrade for a premium fee. As with the others, try before you buy to see if it works for you.

4. Presence (free)

A lot of what Presence offers is the same as the three apps I’ve already looked at. But it has one important difference – 50 MB of free cloud storage Free, Unlimited Cloud Storage Is Here! Is Hive Right For You? Free, Unlimited Cloud Storage Is Here! Is Hive Right For You? With Hive, upload and share what you want, when you want. It is the new player in the cloud storage wars. Here are a few important things you need to know before you sign-in. Read More .

It doesn’t sound like much, but it’ll let you record and save a few minutes of footage if you see an intruder in your home or see your dog doing something hilarious while you’re not there. If you upgrade to the pro version (via in-app purchase), you’ll be able to save up to 5 GB of content in the cloud.

Presence also has an accompanying web app, meaning you can log in and see your feeds from any computer in the world.

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Lastly, check out the “App-Driven Motorized Camera Mount for iPhone” on Amazon. Connect it to your iPhone, and you can use the Presence app to control the swivel and get a 360-degree view of your home.

5. FaceTime

If you don’t want to use third-party apps, you could try using FaceTime. It’s not designed to be a webcam app, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook it.

FaceTime has one significant advantage over the third-party options: reliability. It’s made by Apple, supported by Apple, and running on an Apple operating system. If something goes wrong with a third-party option when you’re away from home, you could be left in an awkward position; with FaceTime, it should be easier to recreate a connection.

facetime-settings

All you need is a copy of the app on your iPhone and your Mac. Importantly, you need to make sure the two apps have different contact details under the setting for You can be reached for FaceTime at. (iPhone: Settings > FaceTime / OS X: FaceTime > Preferences). If you have the same details listed for each, you’ll get a busy tone when you try and connect.

Finally, put your phone in the area you want to monitor and call it from your Mac. You’ll need to manually answer it, but the connection should be fairly reliable once you’ve done so.

Do You Use Your iPhone as a Webcam?

EpocCam and PocketCam Lite let you use the phone as a proxy How to Use Your Smartphone as a Webcam for Your Computer How to Use Your Smartphone as a Webcam for Your Computer Lacking a webcam? Use your Android device as a webcam for your computer! Read More for your computer’s webcam, but they have a limited range. AtHome Camera gives you flexibility over which device you want to be the recorder and which you want to be the viewer. Presence is more akin to a CCTV system Reolink DIY Security and CCTV System ADK8-20B4 Review Reolink DIY Security and CCTV System ADK8-20B4 Review Reolink offer a range of professional-grade DIY CCTV security systems, and its newest product – the ADK8-20B4 – offers incredibly good value for money. Read More , with a web app and unlimited range. And lastly, FaceTime gives you a native way to access your phone’s camera.

Which method do you prefer? Have you found an app that deserves to be included in this list? Perhaps you’ve found an alternative way of accessing your camera that doesn’t rely on an app at all?

You can get in touch with your thoughts and recommendations in the comments section below.

Image credit: Valentin Valkov via Shutterstock

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  1. Parmanand Brijwala
    January 19, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    THIS DOES NOT WORK WITH THE WEBSITE OMEAGLE A VIDEO CHATTING WEBSITE......SO I CONSIDER THIS NOT A WEBBROWSER (WEBCAM)

  2. Dermaklos
    October 7, 2013 at 1:35 am

    Hi.
    Please, tell me how can i use Iphone as a simple usb cam? Not using wifi.... only usb... Best regards.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      Hmm, Dermaklos, I ran this search: "using iPhone as webcam USB connection", and came up with this result: http://mobiola.com/mobiola-web-camera. Hope that helps.

      • Khaled
        June 21, 2016 at 9:38 pm

        Mobiola only works on wifi.

  3. Neil
    July 2, 2013 at 4:22 am

    Hi I actually have windows based application that requires a USB webcam. The application is looking for a camera that is attached to it.

    Is there some way that these approaches you mentioned can be used with an iphone?

    I have tried a standard usb webcam however the quality of the images and the lack of an easy way to do a wide angle shot is a limitation of all of the ones I have seen.

    Any help gratefully received.

  4. David R
    April 30, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    A Message to Bakari and the rest of the MakeUseOf Team:
    You folks continue to amaze me! I used to buy a variety of computer magazines trying to keep up with new technology and find better ways to use what I have. I don't need to do that now. Your articles are timely, well written and practical. Add to that the comments and tips from your technically savy readers! This article is a good example of how well the partnership works. Thanks for an excellent article and to the "comment" contributors for their valuable additions!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      April 30, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      Hey David, thanks so much for you feedback. I have to agree with you. We put out three to four times more content in a month than most magazines do in an entire year. Feedback from our readers really helps know what type of content is most interesting. Thanks.

  5. Bridget
    April 29, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    PS..you can also save photos AND sound clips from Third eye, also you can make the image you see in the browser full screen. Wow, this one is the winner to me!! 5 stars! =)

  6. Bridget
    April 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    Well I have the new ipod touch, which has facecam, but unfortunately cannot facecam to an email address in contacts. There is no facecam button there. Okay, next one the Mobiola, I'd like to see a free version to see if it works for me. (I have a pc, not mac) Next one, the pocketcam failed for me. Everything installed fine, but the app never refreshed the picture..
    I have tried "Mini webcam" and so far it is the only one I have found that works,( and works pretty well), letting my ipod be the cam instead of needing one hooked up to my pc, which is what I am looking for here. It's FREE too, or at least was when I downloaded it.
    Okay just found another which I am going to say is even better! Check out an app called "Third Eye". The Lite version impressed me enough that I paid for the full version ($1.99, not bad at all on the price!) and it has color video capture with sound! All you do is copy the url link into a web browser, and the images are sharp, close up, and I can also HEAR what is going on. I like it! =)

    • Bakari Chavanu
      April 30, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      Cool, Bridget, thanks for the tip. I don't have a touch, so sometimes I can't always know what its limitations are. Your app tip will be useful to other readers using the iPod touch.

  7. Robert Forcier
    April 29, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Great article, while I knew about facetime, never through there was an app to connect to my system and use as a web cam.... ya I know "there's an app for that".

    • Bakari Chavanu
      April 30, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Robert. Really appreciate it.