Fancy using your Samsung Galaxy phone as a webcam? It's coming soon, with a big catch

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra from the back in titanium grey
(Image credit: Philip Berne / Future)

It’s not uncommon knowledge that many laptop webcams are about as clear as a Vaseline-smeared window, so having another way to get your beaming or scowling face sparkling on a video call can be welcome. Enter the Samsung Galaxy phones. 

First announced at CES 2024, a partnership between Samsung and Microsoft means you will soon be able to use Galaxy phones running One UI 6.0 or later – think the Galaxy S23 or Samsung Galaxy S24 series – as a webcam for your laptop or PC. With this you can tap into a far superior camera than the 720p or 1080p built-in webcams of most laptops, and bypass needing to buy a separate webcam for a desktop machine. 

Samsung has yet to announce when this feature will be rolled out. But it looks like it could arrive soon as Reddit user FragmentedChicken flagged an updated Korean listing for the Galaxy Book4 Pro that says the feature will work on Galaxy Book laptops running Windows 11 24H1 and that it’ll be available on March 24. Windows 11 24H1 hasn’t been released yet but various laptop makers have it down to arrive late March or April. 

What’s unclear here is if the compatible Galaxy phones will work with other Windows 11 laptops; it would seem limiting to only have this phone-meets-webcam feature limited to only Galaxy Book laptops. Samsung has said that Galaxy phones will work with Microsoft’s Phone Link application allowing them to be used as webcam, so it would seem sensible for such an option to not be limited to Samsung laptops. 

Upgrading your webcam

Samsung Galaxy Book4

(Image credit: Samsung)

Using smartphones as webcams isn’t a ground-breaking idea – you can do the same with iPhones and MacBooks using a feature called Continuity Camera, though you’ll want a MagSafe accessory for that. Google Pixel phones can also be used as webcams ever since a software update last December

But with the Galaxy phones, there’s no need for a wired connection, plus you get a suite of camera controls like the ability to blur your background or tap into auto framing. So there’s arguably more scope here to tweak a video feed to your tastes. 

Ideally, I’d like to see more of the best Android phones have such features to better work with PCs; there are native Windows apps for that but I’d argue they aren’t slickly integrated and need more collaboration between phone brands and Microsoft to make interconnectivity seamless. But that may be wishful thinking on my part and may require some waiting. 

As for this new Phone Link feature for Galaxy phones running One UI 6, we'll update you when it rolls out onto more Windows 11 devices beyond the Galaxy Book4 series.

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Managing Editor, Mobile Computing

Roland Moore-Colyer is Managing Editor at TechRadar with a focus on phones and tablets, but a general interest in all things tech, especially those with a good story behind them. He can also be found writing about games, computers, and cars when the occasion arrives, and supports with the day-to-day running of TechRadar. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face and a nose for food markets.