How to turn your smartphone into a webcam

Transforming your smartphone into a webcam is possible, you just need to know the right apps. Here's how to do it with iPhone and Android smartphones

Those who need to make video calls, for work or leisure, but need a more refined and powerful solution than the classic laptop combined with one of the many video chat apps like Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, may find it useful to use their smartphone as a webcam.

Think for example of those who need to have a double shot: the first fixed (the real webcam) and the second mobile (the smartphone used as a webcam). Or those who want to record a video call and need two shots at the same time. In cases like this, using your smartphone as a webcam is convenient and useful, but only if two characteristics are met: the smartphone must be recognized by the video calling app we want to use and, possibly, it must also be possible to use it via wireless connection. In this way we'll have the second webcam free to move and we won't have many framing limits. Here's how to turn an iPhone or Android smartphone into a webcam.

How to turn an iPhone into a webcam 

The app to use the iPhone as a webcam is called NDI HX Camera, it's free and is developed by NewTek. Basically it's a sort of virtual driver, which makes sure that normal video calling apps find the iPhone (or even the iPad) among the available video input devices. The app allows you to connect your iPhone to your computer via Wi-Fi, and then you have to install another program, the one to make the video call (Skype, Zoom, Hangouts Meet, or any other compatible one). In between these two apps is the third: the NDI Tools computer client, available for both Mac and Windows.

How to turn an Android smartphone into a webcam

Also on Android you can use your phone's camera as a webcam for video chat programs. Again, you need an app on your smartphone and a program on your PC. There are many apps available, the most popular being DroidCam, which allows both Wi-Fi and USB connection. If the connection is Wi-Fi, then the smartphone app generates an IP address that we'll have to enter in the client so that it can find the smartphone and use it as a webcam. The app is free, but there's also a paid version that has a few more useful features, like zoom and flip screen.