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If you use a MacBook or iMac to make video calls, you’ve probably never given a thought about the camera when making FaceTime or Zoom calls because those computers have a camera built-in. If so this article is not for you. However, if you use a Mac with a monitor that is not made by Apple, you may either have no video at all or your camera is positioned weirdly off to the side with your laptop. So why do non-Apple monitors typically skip the camera? Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, video calls were uncommon. Only Apple really believed they were the future. I’m sure in the coming years more monitors will have built-in cameras, but until then, we are stuck with having to use a workaround. Here are three ways.

  • Use your iPhone. If you are running macOS Ventura and iOS 16 or higher, and if your iPhone supports it (iPhone XR or later), you can use your iPhone as a webcam with a feature called Continuity Camera. You will also want a mount such as this or this. Continuity Camera is by far the easiest way to get amazing video quality on a webcam, though it does tie up your iPhone while you are on video calls. This isn’t just for people who don’t have a webcam built-in. The camera on your iPhone has spectacular quality and will result in some of the highest-quality video you can get in a call if that’s what you need.
  • Get a dedicated USB webcam. I recommend the Logitech C920S. It’s a great basic webcam with decent video that doesn’t look overprocessed. Don’t bother installing the included software. Simply plug it into your computer or your monitor’s built-in hub. Your Mac already has the needed drivers. I have found that Logitech’s software can actually cause it to behave poorly. All of the Logitech C920 models are the same camera, they just have very subtle differences. The “S” model includes a privacy cover and microphone.
  • Join the call from iPhone or iPad. Depending on how you do video meetings, you may be able to use the app on iPhone or iPad. You won’t get a large screen, but it’s probably the easiest and most reliable way to join a call. And if you have a recent model, the audio and video quality will rival all but the most high-end computer setup.
In my personal setup, my iPhone is using Continuity Camera, mounted atop my large monitor. Without it, my MacBook Air’s built-in camera would get an unflattering up-nose shot.
In this setup, a Logitech USB webcam is connected to the monitor’s built-in hub, so that every time the computer gets plugged into the monitor the camera is also connected.

Switching between multiple cameras

So how do you deal with multiple cameras on a single computer? Rather than using a system-wide setting, each video call app will be slightly different. In Zoom, click the little chevron “up” arrow next to the Start/Stop Video button to choose from your list of cameras. In other apps such as FaceTime, you’ll need to look in the menus at the top of your screen.

Further Help

If you are an existing customer who needs help with this or if you have other questions, or if you are in San Francisco and interested in becoming a client I invite you to book an appointment with me. Otherwise, you may wish to contact Apple Support or find a local Apple consultant.

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