The Continuity Camera is one of the best new features in macOS Ventura. Starting with macOS 13 and iOS 16, you can instantly turn your iPhone into a premium webcam for video calls and more. We’ll tell you how and why you should below.
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What is a continuity camera?
The Continuity Camera feature in macOS Ventura lets you use your iPhone’s rear camera as a video camera for FaceTime, Zoom, and any other app that needs a webcam. The feature also works in apps that aren’t meant for video calling, like QuickTime and Photo Booth.
The benefit is huge. Simply compare the quality of your Mac’s webcam to that of your iPhone for video recording. The Continuity Camera adds video features like Studio Lighting to enhance your environment and Center Stage to make you the focal point from anywhere in the show.
Apple previously included macOS features under the name Continuity Camera like Using your iPhone camera to take a photo to insert it into a Keynote slide on your Mac. Going forward, I think using your iPhone as your webcam would be useful enough that it’s what people mean when they say “continuity camera.”
How to use a continuity camera
To get started, make sure your Mac is running macOS 13 (Ventura) or later. You also need your iPhone to run iOS 16 or later. Both devices must use the same iCloud account to allow the connection.
The Continuity Camera works wirelessly, so you don’t have to connect your iPhone to your Mac with a cable. You can use a charging cable if your battery is low or you prefer a wired connection, but I found the performance to be excellent without a cable.
If your hardware is up to date, you’re almost done with setup. For best results, Apple highly recommends that you mount your iPhone over your Mac’s display. Your iPhone should be locked with the rear camera facing you – select your iPhone as the video source. How to do this varies by app, so you may need to dig into the app’s Settings screen. Learn more about using the continuous camera with FaceTime over here.
QuickTime is the default video player for many file types on the Mac It can also be used to create files video. You can do this by launching QuickTime, selecting File from the menu bar, and choosing New Movie Recording.
If your Mac has a webcam, this will likely trigger a live video preview from the built-in camera. Move the cursor and the recording/playback controls will appear. A large red circle starts recording video, and a downward-pointing arrow reveals input and quality options.
If your iPhone is installed and positioned correctly, you should be able to select your iPhone from the camera list. In almost all cases, this will greatly increase the quality of the video.
Speaking of quality, here you can also choose between HD and Maximum quality for video capture. High is usually fine because it uses standard compression (H.264 video and 44100Hz AAC audio) to control file size. Maximum uncompressed files created (Apple ProRes 422 video and Linear PCM audio) which are much larger in size.
You can now click on the red record button and start shooting. The benefit of using QuickTime on your Mac with your iPhone’s Continuity Camera is that you’re using your phone’s best video camera And the You can see what you are recording in real time. The short setup process is worth it compared to the selfie camera’s low video quality or hoping to be framed and focused by the rear camera without seeing yourself in real time.
After you stop recording, QuickTime will prompt you to save the video and choose a save location. Now you’ve created a video that’s far superior in quality to what you can do with your built-in webcam.
Want to use the Continuity Camera on your Mac to take photos? Photo Booth on Mac you can do that. This can be especially useful if you have your Mac and iPhone close at hand when you’re trying to take group photos for holidays or special occasions.
That’s because everyone can clearly see what they look like before the photo is taken, and Photo Booth provides a countdown before the photo is taken. Photo Booth also has a number of fun camera effects, and Video Capture supports these as well as Continuity Camera. You can also take four snapshots in succession to create a 4×4 grid of shots.
Photo Booth defaults to the built-in webcam. You can change the camera source for Photo Booth under the Camera section of the menu bar. You should see your iPhone as a camera option if it is properly installed or positioned for the Continuity Camera.
Once you select your iPhone as the camera source for Photo Booth, you will immediately see the quality of your photos and videos greatly increased. Simply take a photo or record a video in Photo Booth just like you would with the built-in webcam and it works.
Photo booth Photos and videos are saved in the app (and in the Photo Booth library file in the Finder). Could you Use the share sheet or drag and drop selected photos and videos To share them to your iCloud Photo Library or anywhere else.
Using Continuity Camera with Photo Booth also allows you to add camera effects like Portrait and Studio Lighting for a different look than what a built-in webcam can provide. Using your Mac screen as a viewfinder without compromising on quality is great.
What happens if I receive a phone call?
Great question, thanks for asking. Luckily, a spammer called me during a FaceTime call while I was using the Continuity Camera.
In every other case including video recording it will take over the call and pause the camera. The Continuity Camera anticipates this and handles it gracefully. There are no interruptions to your video call, your phone doesn’t vibrate or your ringtone goes off. Instead, macOS plays a single beep and displays a notification for the phone call until the call hangs up.
I’ll add one phone-related tip: If you find yourself looking for your iPhone and can’t ping it using Find My or your Apple Watch, check the top of your Mac screen. Did this happen to me during a video call that involved asking everyone to wait while I look for my iPhone? Sure, it could happen to you! This is the natural way to use your iPhone as it becomes your webcam.
This article is brought to you by MosyleApple’s only unified platform. Mosyle integrates 5 completely different apps on one Apple-only platform, allowing companies to automatically deploy, manage, and protect all of their Apple devices. Request a free account today And find out how you can put your Apple fleet on autopilot at a price that’s hard to believe.
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