Continuity Camera in macOS: Surprisingly, a little attachment from Belkin became one of the most discussed aspects of Apple’s macOS Ventura announcement. The Continuity Camera feature is utilized by the “Belkin iPhone Mount with MagSafe for Mac Notebooks” (henceforth “Belkin mount” or “Belkin adapter”).
With this in-app capability, the iPhone’s camera takes the place of the webcam on your Macbook. The $30 add-on is an economical and stylish webcam upgrade.
Over the past two decades, Apple has transformed from a high-end and rather esoteric computer boutique into an all-encompassing technological powerhouse, and with this transformation has come more consumer-friendly price options across the board.
To make prices (somewhat) more reasonable, certain corners have had to be cut. Even more prominently, cameras in MacBooks have fallen victim.
Apple’s MacBooks have had front-facing 720p cameras since 2011. However, the laptop camera resolution has only been enhanced a little over the past 11 years, and even then, only in the most expensive versions.
Apple has continued to offer its laptops with 720p resolution until now. Even while the newest MacBooks with Apple Silicon have full HD 1080p cameras, their quality is well below that of today’s iPhone cameras.
The new Continuity Camera functionality is built into macOS Ventura and allows you to utilize your iPhone’s camera with FaceTime, Zoom, and other video-calling applications on your MacBook.
In addition, Belkin’s iPhone mount, developed in collaboration with Apple, is optimized for the new function and places your iPhone in a convenient location, at the very top of your screen.
You should make sure you meet a few prerequisites before shelling out $30 for a Continuity Camera, despite the fact that it works flawlessly and simply. You need to install the macOS Ventura update before continuing.
Any Mac capable of running macOS Ventura may use Continuity Camera. Likewise, the Belkin adapter requires an iPhone with MagSafe from 2020 or later. It’s not possible to use Continuity Camera if your iPhone doesn’t have MagSafe, so consider an update. Use only MagSafe-compatible cases with your iPhone.
You must install iOS 16 on your iPhone. Assuming you’ve previously installed the update, you may enable Continuity Camera by going to your device’s settings, tapping General, and then tapping AirPlay & Handoff. Turn it on automatically.
The same Apple ID must be used to sign in to your iPhone and your computer. Set up two-factor authentication for your Apple ID now. For safety reasons, we suggest doing this anyway.
A Continuity Camera can be hardwired or run wirelessly. If this is your first time utilizing an iPhone with a Mac in a wired configuration, once you’ve unlocked both devices and connected the cable, a “Trust” prompt will appear on both.
The iPhone’s camera should be the default camera for video-calling apps after you launch them. The camera settings menu in the app should include your iPhone. This option is included under the Video menu in FaceTime. Zoom’s video options may be found in the menu bar. While in a meeting, click the carrot icon next to “Stop video call” to make the adjustment.
Setting Up and Mounting
After installing the software, you may attach your iPhone to the Belkin mount by opening its little clip, gripping it onto your MacBook’s screen, and then inserting the MagSafe connection into your iPhone.
The screen of our MacBook was unharmed thanks to the Belkin mount we used to secure our iPhones.
You should use your MacBook with the screen tilted at an angle very close to 90 degrees for optimal viewing. The iPhone’s screen may be tilted to its largest angle if you lean the device back very far.
Apple might have planned ahead and included stronger hinges on the MacBook, allowing for a wider range of viewing angles, to accommodate this functionality. Hopefully, this will be included in Apple’s next laptops sometime in early 2023.
You may use the Belkin adapter to attach your iPhone in either portrait or landscape orientation. If the top of your MacBook screen isn’t exactly at eye level, you may utilize portrait mode to boost the camera view a bit higher. Conversely, this implies your eyes will be far lower than the camera.
Before purchasing this add-on, keep in mind that the case on the back of your MacBook’s screen may prevent it from functioning properly. We attempted to use the mount with an Incase product, but the attachment was too bulky to be securely clipped into the Belkin cradle. However, after applying a sticker protecting the brand, it functioned as expected.
Sound and Picture Quality During Video Calls
For our MacBook video chats, the Continuity Camera rapidly became an essential addition. Combinations of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max with the 13-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro yielded striking results compared to the built-in Mac webcam. It’s like trying to make a film using an iPhone from 2008 instead of a newer one.
One of the most noticeable variations is the ability to toggle video effects in Control Center.
Utilizing Your iPhone As A Continuity Device With this camera, Macs will now have access to Center Stage, Apple’s face-tracking technology that was unveiled with the M1 iPad Pro. As you turn your head, the video frame will shift to follow you.
It maintains your presence in the picture and adds a touch of class to your phone calls. So to speak, you act as your own cinematographer and ensure that you remain in the middle of the shot at all times.
This mode creates a digital bokeh effect for use in portrait shots. When compared to Portrait Mode on a 14-inch MacBook Pro with a 1080p webcam, the iPhone’s camera is superior in blurring the backdrop entirely and selectively. The latter typically distorts your facial contours.
Studio Light is a software program that dynamically dims the backdrop and brightens the subject. Apple likens this to the effect of using a ring light, although it isn’t a perfect replacement. When you don’t have access to a ring light, though, it can help you look almost as good.
In the meanwhile, the iPhone’s wide-angle lens can be used to great advantage in the new Desk View effect, which allows you to take photos of your desk and face in its own right. There aren’t as many situations when this mode would be useful, but it may come in handy for team design meetings or calls where you want to show off actual desk items.