Working at home and homeschooling. It all asks a lot from us. If you find yourself in trouble when dealing with a situation without a webcam when you need one, here’s some help. You don’t need to worry about webcams that are sold out or that are too expensive. Turn your smartphone into a webcam.
When you take a look at the prices of webcams these days two things are interesting. Interesting not in a good way. The webcams that are listed in the various webshops are not the cheapest ones. The cheapest ones are out of stock. If they are in stock and reasonably priced, there’s always the waiting. It can take longer than normal to have products delivered to your doorstep.
Most of us have a smartphone that has a decent camera. The days that you were stuck with an abominable camera are long gone. It’s not always necessary to buy a high priced smartphone to benefit from a good camera. Brands like Nokia, Motorola and Acer offer smartphones with some sharp prices and good cameras.
If you’re one of my followers on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook) you must have noticed that not all my photos are taken with my professional DSLR camera. Many of them are the result of an instant moment. I used my Motorola G7 Power for these photos. This is not the newest smartphone out there. If you’re interested, this is what this brand has to offer right now. This is not an advertisement for Motorola. It could be a Nokia that I could discuss. Also smartphones with nice prices and good camera qualities. Or it could be Acer, Alcatel or any other brand.
There are some exceptions when it comes to these budget phones. If you’re thinking about ordering from certain Asian webshops, do remember that they can include pre-installed malware. I made this mistake two times in a row. One time with a Xiaomi smartphone and the other time with a HomTom smartphone. Yes, I know, there is a slight possibility that you have never heard about that last brand.
I must take some caution here: not all phones by these brands contain malware and not all phones sold by Asian webshops contain malware. Certain phones from certain web shops do. Getting rid of this malware can be quite a challenge. It’s time you could spend on other things. For instance: setting up your smartphone as a webcam. You’ll notice that this is easier to do.
What do you need?
- A smartphone with a minimum of one camera (are there smartphones these days that only have one camera at the back and none at the front?).
- Access to the wifi network that your computer or laptop uses.
- Optional: a USB cable to connect from the phone to the computer or laptop.
Let’s begin with this free app. Free to a certain extent. There is a full version, but I think you can do with the basic (free) version. This version is easy to set up.
- Download the software for your computer or laptop from iriun.com (remember your browser will warn you that there is no certificate found at this website).
- Download the app for your smartphone (links below)
- Make sure that your devices all run on the same wifi network. It will not run if you’re using 3G or 4G.
- If you don’t know how to get step 3 done, you can connect a USB cable. Remember to enable the device debugging for Android.
Once it’s all set up, you will see yourself or whatever the camera of your smartphone points to. There is, however, one catch. Yes, you can use the software on Skype or Teams. You can’t rely on it when it comes to audio. Simply because this platform doesn’t yet support audio. Maybe this will change in the (near) future. For now, you’re stuck with a headset or an external microphone.
The software of iVCam uses the same techniques as Iriun. It does support audio. If you use the free version of this software, you’re stuck with a watermark. Yes, a logo of the company that offers this software. If you don’t want to see that, you need to pay for the full version. If you pay $ 7.99, you can use this product on one pc at the time. More about the pricing of this software can be found on the website of E2ESOFT.
There are more options to pick from. IP Webcam App is aimed at parents. You can use your smartphone as a baby monitor. Setting things up is more difficult. It’s free, as far as I can tell.
Easier to install is the app DroidCam. The only trick here is that the developers cannot guarantee that you can connect it to your computer or laptop using a USB cable.
What’s the best option?
I think it’s not a problem to use a headset or an external microphone. That’s why I use the basic version of Iriun.com.