How to use your Android device as a webcam?
A good webcam, is tough to find these days. The coronavirus pandemic has moved much of America’s workforce into a work-from-home working environment. With so many people in need of basic technology hardware/software supplies, demand for webcams has risen, and as supplies changes, prices have unsurprisingly increased.
We’ll start with how to get your Android phone or tablet to act as a webcam for your computer.
HOW TO USE YOUR ANDROID PHONE / TABLET AS A WEBCAM
There are several apps in the Google Play Store that claim to upgrade your Android device into a webcam. Out of the few, DroidCam offered the easiest setup with the most reliable results. I don’t doubt that there are reliable app-free solutions to get this done, but for the sake of simplicity, this is what we’re going with here.
Download and install the free version of DroidCam from the Play Store. (It requires a device running Android 5.0 Lollipop or newer software.) The developer, Dev47Apps, makes a desktop client for Windows 10 and Linux (but unfortunately, not for macOS) that you’ll also need to download onto your computer. (Note: I’m focusing on steps to use it with Windows 10 in this how-to.) Make sure that you download version 6.2 since it addresses some issues that might cause a headache if you use an earlier version.
After the Android app is installed, focus on getting the desktop app up and running. During installation, you’ll need to allow the app to install audio drivers. Feel free to uncheck “Always trust software from DEV47 APPS” if you prefer.
Once the Windows app is running, you’ll see options near the top of the app window that will let you connect your device wirelessly or via USB. It’s actually easier to connect via Wi-Fi so that’s what we’re going to focus on. Thankfully, it’s on that setting by default.
Below those options, you’ll see a box where you need to input your Android device’s IP address. At this point, open up the DroidCam app on your Android phone or tablet. It will then show your device’s IP address. Go back to your PC and input that address in the field called “Device IP.”
There are two things to do before you hit “Start” in the desktop app. First, be sure both boxes for “video” and “audio” are checked. If only video is checked, your phone’s microphone won’t pick up your voice.
Next, click the three vertical dots in the top-right corner of the Android app to open the settings. There, in the “camera” section, you can choose whether to use the front-facing or back-facing camera. Your back-facing camera is almost guaranteed to be more capable than your selfie cam, so I recommend using that. Most of the other default settings are set to the ideal choice, so you can leave them.
Finally, hit “start” in the desktop app to initiate the connection. You should see a preview of the video feed on your PC screen. If you don’t see it, ensure that both your PC and Android device are on the same Wi-Fi network or LAN. My PC is wired to the internet, but it still works wirelessly with my phone because they’re on the same network.
Now, simply open up your preferred videoconferencing app, like Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype. In the video settings within each app, switch the default camera to “DroidCam Source 2” or “DroidCam Source 3.” One of those should mirror what you see in the DroidCam Client window.
To make your device’s microphone the default input in your videoconferencing app, go to the microphone section in your videoconferencing app (it may be referred to as audio input), and select “DroidCam Virtual Audio.” Once you do that, it should work as intended.
A quick aside: if you’re using the front-facing camera for video duties, and for some reason need to grab your phone-turned-webcam to send a text or browse through your contacts, DroidCam won’t stop you. You can collapse the app without interrupting the camera feed.