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 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 a security camera. 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 several methods to using your iPhone’s camera as a webcam.
EpocCam is the most popular and most frequently-downloaded app that can turn an iPhone into a webcam.
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. Once you have installed the apps, setting up the connection is fully automated; you don’t need to do anything.
A pro version of the app is available. It lets you use the mic to record audio, adds an option for manual focus, and improves the video resolution from 640×480 pixels to 1920×1080 pixels. The pro version also removes the watermark.
Download: EpocCam (Free, premium version available)
2. iCamSource Pro Mobile
iCamSource Pro Mobile is a paid app that can turn an iPhone into a webcam. There’s no feature-reduced free version that you can use.
The Pro Mobile app is just one part of the equation. You’ll also need the iCam Pro Webcam Streaming app (a free version is available). Once you have both apps installed, you will be able to stream live video and audio from any iOS device.
Like you’d expect from a security camera, iCam can send you instant alerts if it detects motion or sound. All motion events are automatically backed up to the cloud.
Download: iCamSource Pro Mobile ($5)
3. AtHome Camera
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. It’s another great app for anyone wondering how to use an iPhone as a webcam.
Aside from the flexibility, it also has some other great features:
- Two-way talk: It doesn’t matter whether you’re using the streamer app or the viewer app, you can talk to any connected device and hear the audio from that device. This makes it a perfect two-way baby or pet monitor.
- Motion Detection: You’ll get an instant notification if there is movement on your camera.
- Scheduled recording: If you just want to monitor your camera at certain times of the day—perhaps while you’re at work—you can pre-program the app.
It’s not your traditional webcam app; it’s ad-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.
Download: AtHome Camera (Free, premium version available)
A lot of what Presence offers is the same as the three apps we’ve already looked at. But it has one important difference—50MB of free cloud storage.
It doesn’t sound like much, but it’ll let you record and save a few minutes of footage of an intruder in your home or if you 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 5GB 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. The service is also compatible with Amazon Alexa.
Download: Presence (Free, subscription available)
Lastly, check out the Motrr Galileo iPhone camera mount 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.
If you don’t want to use third-party apps, it’s possible to utilize FaceTime for using your iPhone as a webcam. 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 runs 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.
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; macOS: FaceTime > Preferences). If you have the same details listed for each, you’ll get a busy tone when you try to 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.
Other Options for Webcams and Security Cams
EpocCam lets you use the phone as a proxy for your computer’s webcam, but it has a limited range. AtHome Camera gives you flexibility over which device you want to use as the recorder and which you want to be the viewer. Presence is more akin to a CCTV system, with a web app and unlimited range. And lastly, FaceTime gives you a native way to access your phone’s camera.