Your Mac can finally have a great webcam, thanks to your iPhone

Using Camo on macOS
(Image credit: TechRadar)

It’s no secret that the webcams on Apple’s Mac devices leave a lot to be desired, with no better example than the Studio Display’s recent issues. But the Camo app looks to solve this, with a new update that enables it to be used for FaceTime calls, alongside native support for Discord, WhatsApp, Slack, and more.

While a firmware update for the Studio Display is in testing, which looks to fix some of the issues that the webcam in the display has been suffering from, it seems that there’s still a long way to go before it’s acceptable for use in calls, especially for the price that the display is being sold for.

Yet Camo is one of those ‘why didn’t I think to do this before?’ apps, as we all carry around mobile devices that have fantastic single, dual, and triple cameras that can easily trounce Mac webcams.

While it’s free to download, there’s a monthly subscription fee of $4.99 / £4.39 / AU$5.49, with a lifetime license of $79.99 / £69.98 / AU$87.99 which enables more features. We gave Camo a try with an iPhone 13 Pro, and we were surprised with the results.

Lights, Camera, App

Using Camo on iOS for the Mac

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Installing the app on both macOS and iOS was a simple task, but it was only when we were trying to configure the app on macOS that it felt overwhelming, due to the many options available to customize the iPhone’s camera.

However, after getting used to Camo after an hour, you come to realize that you only need to focus on some menus on the left to change between the lenses on your iPhone. Camo already integrates with Zoom, FaceTime and other conferencing apps, so you just need to switch the video in their settings to ‘Camo’ and you’re all set.

Of course, you’re going to need to find a mount for your iPhone to make sure that it gets your good side when in those conference calls.

Comparing the Macbook Pro 14-inch webcam to my iPhone 13 Pro’s rear camera was night and day. The quality was as good as a Pro webcam from Razer or Logitech, with different resolutions and focus options to choose from. Camo didn’t trip up once with latency or a crash as I was testing it in various apps, either.

Why do Mac webcams still suck?

While I don’t own a Studio Display, it does raise the question of why the webcams in Macs are still not good. Apple certainly talked up the camera in the Studio Display when it was announced in March, but real-world tests have shown it to be well below par.

We’re at a point where the iPhone SE 3’s front camera can take better quality photos and videos than what the camera from the $1,500 Cinema Display from Apple can achieve. But Camo can solve this problem, even with its free option.

For now, an improvement we’d like to see for Camo is to have your Mac connect to an iPhone without a wire

However, for now it solves a big issue that Apple is currently dealing with in its Cinema Display, so if you want to look glamorous in 4K in conference calls, Camo offers that opportunity for you.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter, 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.