How to Use an Android Phone as a Webcam on a PC

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A smartphone fixed on a tripodGenerally, an inbuilt webcam on a desktop or a laptop doesn't have enough resolution and clarity to give you a true HD experience during a video call. On the other hand, smartphone cameras have come a long way and are much more powerful than these inbuilt webcams. What if you can use your smartphone's camera as a webcam during a Zoom or a Google Meet session? That's what we're going to learn about today. It's a multi-step method that can be completed in less than 10 minutes. Depending on your phone's camera quality, you can stream high-quality video without spending at all on a separate digital camera. A couple of accessories are required to give the best experience to the viewers at the other end. I've mentioned both of them in the guide below. Another important thing worth noting is your connection speed. No matter how good is your phone's camera, if your internet connection is a bit slow, the video quality will be adjusted by the software. So, let's get started and see how we can do it.

A smartphone fixed on a tripod
A thing to take care of while using your Android phone as a webcam is to put it in a Do Not Disturb mode else your video streaming session may stall if a call arrives at the same time.

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And, make sure you've charged your phone's battery to 100% before initiating a long video streaming session. Let's first discuss some of the important accessories needed for this setup. So, here we go!

The first thing you need is a USB cable to physically connect your phone to your PC or a laptop. Though one can configure the connection through Wi-Fi too it's unreliable and doesn't give the best results.

The next important accessory you need is the smartphone holding clamp to make sure it's placed right on top of your computer's monitor. There are several options for the same. The best one is mentioned below.

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The advantage of this holder is that you can use it easily both with a laptop and a desktop device.

And, the last accessory (though not mandatory) is a microphone. If you're concerned with too much background noise from where you're streaming the video, this one is required.

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With both these accessories in hand, it's time to move on to the actual setup and configuration. We'll start with the setup required on the smartphone. It's a two-step procedure.

First of all, you need to enable the USB Debugging feature on your smartphone. Here's how to do it.

Depending on your smartphone model, the path to find the USB Debugging option may differ a bit, but more or less, the section where you can find it is the same on all the phones.

First of all, go to the Settings → About Phone option.

Smartphone's about phone option
Thereafter, go to the Version → Build number option. On some phones, you have to go to the Software Information → Build number option.

Smarphone's build number option in settings
Now, tap on the Build number option 7 times to enable the debugging option.

Depending on your phone model, the developer options will be available either within the Settings → Developer Settings → USB debugging section or as in the case of my phone, it is available on the Additional Settings → Developer options → USB debugging path.

Smartphone's USB debugging option
Once USB debugging has been enabled, it's time to install the DroidCam app on your smartphone. Thereafter, install the DriodCam client for your PC too.

Now open and start the DroidCam app. Once activated, you can see the connection's IP and port statistics as shown below.

DroidCam IP and port data
Note down the IP and port number as you'll need them to be punched in the desktop client of DroidCam while establishing a connection. You can select the front or back camera within the DroidCam settings.

Now, connect your smartphone with your PC through a USB cable and start the DroidCam client on your PC.

USB connection setting in DroidCam client on a PC
After connecting the USB cable, in a few seconds, the connection option will be available in the drop-down menu. Simply open the dropdown and select your device connected through the USB cable.

Wifi connection option in DroidCam client for a PC
If you don't have a USB cable, you can opt for a connection through the WiFi network. Select the WiFi option as shown above and punch in the IP and port details you may have noted as mentioned in one of the earlier steps.

Once connected, you'll see the video preview in your desktop client. Simply minimize it and open the application where you want to use your smartphone as a video source.

Skype settings
For example, here I've used the Skype application for demo purposes. You can see, I've selected DroidCam as the camera source in its settings menu. Whichever application you're using, you can do the same.

Selecting HD mode in the DroidCam client needs a computer restart. It gives you HD quality capture provided your smartphone has the necessary camera specifications to do it.

Remember, connection through a USB cable is fast with good picture quality. Connection through WiFi may exhibit some latency and slightly lower picture quality.