How-To: Turn Your Phone Into A Webcam

Feb 4, 2013  Print Story

How inferior are those webcams that come with most computers? Most of them are mediocre 2 MP or less than that, without any good picture quality. Don’t you feel you are missing something while your smartphone with that amazing camera is sitting right there? Well, you are! You can turn that wonderful smartphone into a webcam and wirelessly connect it with your computer so that you can use it for taking pictures and videos or high-quality video-chatting. Here’s how.

Part I: If Your Smartphone Is Android


Android phones are pretty popular, and you are probably holding one. If so, this section of the article is for you.

First of all, you need to install an app from the Google Play store. There are a few apps that can turn your phone into webcam. Some of them are IP Webcam, DroidCamX Pro, WO Webcam Lite. We will see how it is done with IP Webcam, which is a free offering.

Install the app and open it up for the initial setup. Some settings are given by default, and you can change any that needs to be. Set up the required camera resolution (this article on 4K TVs has a good intro to resolution details), FPS rate (frames per second) (the higher, the better), image quality, and the TCP port (8080 should suffice). It is recommended that you not set resolution higher than that supported by the phone.

IP Webcam settings

Also set up a user ID and password, which is good thing for the phone webcam’s privacy and security.

At the bottom of the setup page, you will see the option to start the server. Do it. Now, you will see the IP address in which the camera is available, with the port that you set earlier. It should be like 192.168.x.x:8080.

IP Address on IP Webcam

At this point, go to your computer and open up your web browser (preferably Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox). Browse to the phone webcam’s IP address. Simply type in the complete IP address (with the port) at the address bar and hit enter. If your Java plugin is enabled, you should be able to view the video immediately. Various options like opening the video stream in a media player, Java plugin viewer, JavaScript viewer, etc., will appear.

IP Camera adaptor settings on Windows

To view and share the camera across various applications, download the IP Camera Adaptor. Install it and set it up matching the settings on your phone webcam. Let the video size by auto-detected, as otherwise it will lead to cropping in the video feed.

Video feed on skype

It is possible that your firewall will block the video feed indicating a false positive. Add an exception for this.

If IP Camera Adaptor doesn’t work or causes any issues, you should try one of the alternatives specified by the developer—ManyCam, WebcamXP, etc.

That’s it; you have your Android phone as a webcam now.

Part II: If Your Smartphone Is An iPhone


If you are using an Apple iPhone instead of an Android phone, you can set up its camera to work with your computer. The procedure is straightforward just as in Android devices.

You need to use an app called iWebcamera that is available in the Apple App Store for $4.99.

iWebCamera

Go here and download the drivers depending on your operating system (Windows or Mac OS X).

While installing, you may have to open two ports on your firewall. They are UDP Port 10310 and TCP port 8080. If you are using Windows Firewall, here’s how.

Make sure you have the latest version of video-chatting applications installed as some previous versions have reported issues with external webcams.

All right, now you are good to go. Start the iWebcamera app within your iPhone and initiate whichever video chat application you use on your computer. The application should give you a choice to use the iPhone webcam as the video source. Select it.

Part III: If You Have A Windows Phone


Imagine you are using Microsoft Windows Phone device. There is an app that turns your Windows smartphone into a webcam. It is called PocketCam. The app is a 4.99-dollar download from Windows Phone app store.

PocketCam for Windows

Now install PocketControl software for Windows or Mac.

First of all, connect your smartphone to your home network through Wi-Fi, and start the PocketCam app. Enter the IP address of your computer to connect to the device. [to find the IP address, press Windows key+R->type ‘CMD’ within Run window and press Enter->Within the black window that appears, type ‘IPCONFIG’ and press Enter->Find your IP address that most probably starts with 192. For details, go to Microsoft. To find IP in Mac OS X, do this].

Connecting PocketCam to Windows

That’s it. You will have the choice ‘PocketCam’ on any video-chatting application on your computer.

Conclusion


I have tried to make the tutorial as easy as possible for most people. If you run across any trouble, simply post a comment over here, and I will give you with my thoughts. Most of the high end laptops don’t come with a high quality webcam.

Apple MacBook Pro has 720p HD camera of less than 2 MP; Dell Alienware M18X high-end gaming laptop comes with 2.1 MP 1080p HD camera; and On my Dell XPS, I have a 1.3 MP camera, which is worse than terrible. In such cases, it is very useful to convert your smartphone into a webcam.

 
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