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Monday, May 25, 2020

How to turn your old Android phone into a web camera with these simple steps

I took an old Xiaomi Mi 4i and turned into a web camera so that I can video chat with my colleagues or friends on Skype or Zoom.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi | Updated: April 10, 2020 10:25:58 am
Use your old Android smartphone as a web camera for PC. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

If you’ve got a smartphone recently, you’re probably thinking what to do with the old device. In most cases, people either sell their old phone or keep it in the closet. How boring?

One of the options is to use your old phone as a web camera, as I did. I took an old Xiaomi Mi 4i and turned into a web camera so that I can video chat with my colleagues or friends on Skype or Zoom. There are plenty of free apps that can be used to turn your old phone into a workable web camera. It’s worth it, in case you don’t have an external web camera that can be hooked to the monitor.

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Here’s how to use an old Android smartphone as a Wi-Fi-enabled web camera for your PC.

The basics

If you are planning to turn your old Android phone into a web camera for your PC, you need the following things.

*Any working Android phone that supports Google Play Store
* A mount for your smartphone or mini tripod.
*DroidCam Wireless Webcam app.

Download and install DroidCam Wireless Webcam app

There are plenty of apps available in the Play Store that turn your old Android phone into a web camera. But I used the free version of DroidCam Wireless Webcam. You need to download this app from the Play Store and install it on your smartphone. Once you download the app on your phone, open any web browser on your PC and type DroidCam Windows Client. Open the web page, click on DroidCam Client v6.0 and download it. When the file is downloaded, install the DroidCam Client on your Windows PC.

I used the free version of DroidCam Wireless Webcam.

Link DroidCam Wireless Webcam Android app with the Windows DroidCam Client

After downloading DroidCam Wireless Webcam on your smartphone, you need to connect the app with the Windows DroidCam Client either by using a wireless network or via a USB connection.

If you are new to the DroidCam Wireless Webcam app, you will be greeted with a quick guide on how to use it. Tap Next, and then tap Got it. Now, the app will ask you for permission to use your phone’s camera and microphones. Once you give permission, it shows your phone’s IP address, and the port used by the app.

Now, go to your PC and open DroidCam Client. Enter the phone IP and the DroidCam Port displayed on your smartphone.

Connect the Android app with the Windows DroidCam Client on your PC. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Time to start video feed from your Android phone

Once your phone and PC are on the same Wi-Fi network, tab the Start button from on Windows DroidCam Client to begin the video feed. Your always-on, internet-connected webcam is ready.

The good thing about the DroidCam Wireless Webcam app is that it lets you use your Android web camera on several video calling apps. I used the web camera with Skype, and it worked perfectly fine.

I used the web camera with Skype, and it worked perfectly fine. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

How to mount your smartphone as a web camera

Well, this can be a little tricky. You need some kind of stand, a tripod or tabletop mount to stabilise your phone. Thankfully, I had a Joby mini-tripod lying on my shelf. It can stand on uneven surfaces and a phone clamp that can hold and stabilise medium to large-sized phones.

This is how I converted my old Xiaomi Mi 4 smartphone into a web camera. It took me 10 minutes to set up everything. This method is useful if you don’t have any plan to invest in an external camera.

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