The extension of macOS’ continuity camera feature in macOS Ventura and iOS 16 to turn your iPhone into a webcam has been welcomed by many people. Perhaps the biggest problem associated with the feature is finding a suitable way to mount or place your iPhone! (See this article for tips.) But for some people, you may also not want to use the full camera frame of the wide-angle (or standard) camera on the back of your iPhone.
Apple doesn’t yet offer the ability to crop and zoom, or choose between alternative rear-facing or front-facing cameras. You can turn to third party software to help you further. The software you need depends on whether you need FaceTime, QuickTime, Safari, and other Apple compatibility, or whether you’re just using a webcam with third-party video software.
No FaceTime required
Apple doesn’t yet support generic virtual webcams, which are video streams managed by software from other video or composite feeds. The most popular of those packages is the open-source and free Open Broadcaster System (OBS). OBS now has virtual camera software built in; you used to have to go through some tech hoops and now it’s just a single click.
In OBS, you can select your iPhone as the video source just like you would in FaceTime or other apps. below Sourcesyou click on the plus sign, choose Video recording deviceand then select your iPhone in it Device pop-up menu. If it works correctly, you will see a preview of the iPhone’s display. Click Okay. You can now drag the handles of a red rectangle to crop a smaller portion of the video stream than what is shown by default. Click now Launch virtual camera under the Controls menu (default in the bottom right corner of the screen). Select in Zoom or other video conferencing or video apps OBS virtual camera. (OBS can also add titles, audio, windows, and much more; check out the extensive documentation and forums.)
If OBS seems too much to manage or you find it challenging, try mmHmm, a video presentation system that lets you combine audio, video, slides, screens, and other sources. The free tier should be enough if you just want to frame your iPhone’s input as a zoomed or cropped video that you can output to video conferencing software.
If you need to use FaceTime with your video camera, Camo by Reincubate is currently the only virtual camera software that I know of that is fully integrated with Apple’s macOS video inputs.
With Camo you install an app on your iPhone or iPad and your Mac. iOS 12 or later and macOS 10.13 or later or required. There is also a version for Windows 10 or later. You can connect your device to your Mac via USB or, as of a few weeks ago, via Wi-Fi.
With the Camo Studio app in macOS, you can select which camera on your iPhone or iPad you want to use as the source and then apply zoom, rotation, effects, a watermark, or image adjustments. The output becomes a virtual camera that you can select in any video app, in fact. (I use Camo as my videocasting source with my iPhone because of its extensive configuration options.)
Camo has a free tier that allows up to 720p video, but without zoom and most other features. However, you can try out the free version and see how you like it. Camo costs $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $79.99 to unlock forever. The paid license covers up to two computers and allows watermark removal.
This Mac 911 article is an answer to a question from Macworld reader Bradley.
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