Windows 11 Will Now Let You Use Your Phone As Webcam – Here Is How To Set It Up

Key Points

  • Windows Insiders on all channels have started receiving the ability to use their smartphones as a high-quality webcam for online video meetings.
  • To use this feature, subscribe to any Insider channel on Windows 11, make sure your smartphone has Android 9.0 or above, the “Link to Windows” app is on version 1.24012 or greater, and you are signed into both devices using the same Microsoft account.

Microsoft has just announced the next big thing for Windows 11, which is the OS-native ability to use your Android smartphone as a webcam during video calls.

When taking video calls on your Windows PC, you either use the integrated webcam which has really poor resolution, or a standalone webcam that you must purchase separately and then continue to install the drivers for it. Alternatively, to be able to your your smartphone, or a spare phone as a webcam, you must purchase third-party applications and then synchronize them. This will no longer be the case.

The ability to you your Android device’s high-res camera as a webcam is being added to the Windows 11 OS. The feature is still experimental, which is why it is only available to Windows Insider subscribers at the moment. With this feature, you and the person on the other end of the video chat should be able to see yourself clearly through the lens of your phone.

Not only that, but if the device supports it, you should also be able to flip the cameras on your phone if it has a multi-camera setup.

Note that the feature is currently rolling out to all Insider channels gradually. Therefore, if you are already subscribed to a channel and do not have the feature after having set it up using the guide below, you will get the feature soon enough.

Note: The ability to use your smartphone as a webcam is not linked with the “Phone Link” app.

Requirements for using Android phone as webcam on Windows

Before discussing how to set up your Android device as a webcam on a Windows 11 PC, there are a few requirements you must first satisfy, which are as follows:

  • The Android device should be on Android 9.0 or above
  • The “Link to Windows” application on the Android device should be on version 1.24012 or greater.
  • You must be signed in with the same Microsoft account on both the Windows PC and the Android device.

If your Android smartphone and the “Link to Windows” app satisfy these requirements, and your Windows PC is subscribed to the Insider channel, you should be able to use your smartphone as a webcam during online video meetings.

Camera controls when using Android device as webcam
Camera controls when using an Android device as a webcam. Source: Microsoft

To check your Android version, on the smartphone, go to Settings > About Phone > Software information.

Check Android version
Check Android version

To check the “Link to Windows” app version, use these steps:

  1. Open the “Link to Windows” app on your Android device and click on the 3 dots in the top-right corner.

  2. Then click on “About Link to Windows“.

    About Link To Windows
    About Link To Windows
  3. Here you’ll find the version number of the app. Make sure it is 1.24012 or above.

    Check Link to Windows version
    Check Link to Windows version

Once both versions are confirmed and meet the minimum requirements, continue to the next section to set up your Android phone as a webcam for the Windows 11 PC.

How to set up Android phone as webcam on Windows 11

As mentioned earlier, at the moment, the ability to use your Android smartphone as a webcam is available to the Insiders only. Therefore, you must ensure that you are subscribed to any Windows Insider channel.

If you are, and the Android version and the “Link to Windows” app version meets the minimum version requirement, you can use the following steps to set it up as a webcam:

  1. On the Windows 11 PC, press the Windows key + i to launch the Settings app.

  2. Click “Bluetooth & devices” on the left.

  3. Toggle the slider in front of “Allow this PC to access your mobile devices” into the On position.

  4. Click “Manage devices“.

    Manage mobile devices on Windows
    Manage mobile devices on Windows
  5. Click “Add device“.

    Add a mobile device
    Add a mobile device
  6. Now scan the QR code using your Android phone’s camera and open the link.

    Scan the QR code
    Scan the QR code
  7. Now a code will appear on the computer’s screen. Enter the code on your Android device for verification, and click Continue twice.

    Enter the code on the Android device
    Enter the code on the Android device
  8. [Conditional] If not already signed in on the Android device using the same Microsoft account, you will be asked to sign in.

  9. When “Device linking complete” appears on the Android phone, click Done. Then click Continue on the Windows device.

    Device successfully added to Windows PC
    Device successfully added to Windows PC
  10. Now, proceed to enable the option “Use as a connected camera” in the “Manage mobile devices” window on the Windows computer.

    Allow device to be used as webcam from Windows 11 PC
    Allow device to be used as webcam from Windows 11 PC. Source: Microsoft

That’s it! After performing the steps above, you should now be able to use your smartphone as a webcam for all your video meetings that you take from your Windows PC. You will also be able to control the camera and effects settings from both the computer and your Android device.

Closing words

The concept of using your smartphone as a high-quality webcam isn’t new. There are apps that you install both on your computer and your smartphone that will provide the same functionality. However, those apps are usually paid, and not cheap.

However, Windows’ native ability to use the smartphone’s camera as a webcam will be game-changing; both, for the end users as well as the software manufacturers that provided the ability for an extra buck. It seems likely that when Microsoft finally launches the stable functionality for all Windows users, the third-party software manufacturers will run out of business.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

1 comment

  • Hz

    DroidCamX will still be a better choice.
    It not only allows you use smartphone as a webcame, but also as a microphone.

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