With Windows 11, Microsoft adopted a new method of providing major feature updates to its operating system called Moments. Recently, the company released its Moment 5 update, which comes with several exciting features. One such feature is the ability to turn your Android smartphone into a webcam, which brings the Apple's Continuity Camera-like functionality to Windows. Here's how it works.

Note: You need to be enrolled in the Windows Insider program to use your Android device as a webcam as currently, the feature is only available to Windows Insiders and is not available on the stable build. In addition, your phone should be running on Android version 9 or later.

Connect your Android Device to your PC

You will have to connect your Android device to your Windows 11 PC before you can use it as a webcam.

  1. First, download the 'Link To Windows' app on your smartphone from the Google Play Store.
  2. Make sure you have version 1.24012 or later of the app. In case you have an older app version, sign up for the beta to get the latest version.
  1. Next, open the Settings app on your Windows PC and go to the 'Bluetooth and Devices' section on the left side.
  1. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on on both the PC and your Android device before clicking on the 'Add Device' option.
  1. A pop-up will appear, allowing you to choose how to connect your device. Click on the 'Bluetooth' option.
  1. Windows will start searching for Bluetooth devices around. Click on your device name when it appears to connect it.
  1. Both devices will show a pairing code. Click on the 'Connect' button to pair them, and your Android device will be connected to your PC.

Add your Android Device as a Webcam

You have successfully connected your Windows 11 PC with your Android device, but it still needs access to the device before you can use the latter as a webcam.

  1. On the 'Bluetooth and Devices' page, click on the 'Mobile Devices' option.
  1. When the 'Mobile Devices' page opens, you will see an option 'Allow This PC To Access Your Mobile Devices'. Click on the button to its right to enable it.
  1. Enabling this option will prompt Windows to start installing the Cross-Device Experience Host Update, which is required for the feature to work.
  1. You can also find this update in the Microsoft Store and update it from there if you're having trouble with it.
  1. Once the update is complete, click on the 'Manage Devices' button again and you will get a pop-up from where you can add your Android device.
  1. Next, click on the 'Add Device' button in the pop-up window that appears.
  1. Your PC will show you a QR code you need to scan using the Link To Windows app on the Android device you want to connect.
  1. On scanning the code, a six-digit alphanumeric code will appear on your screen. You need to enter the same digits on your mobile to proceed.
  1. Once you've entered the code, Windows will take a few minutes to add your device. It will show you a confirmation message when the pairing is complete. Click on the 'Continue' button at the bottom.
  1. Your device will now be visible in the 'My Mobile Devices' section, and you will see the option 'Use As A Connected Camera'. Click on the button next to it to enable it.
Source: Microsoft
Note: The feature is being rolled out slowly and as such, you might not get it right away.

Now, you are ready to use your Android device as a webcam.

Using Your Android Device as a Webcam

To use your Android device as a webcam, simply select it from the options in your virtual meeting app.

  1. First, launch your camera app, and a pop-up will appear asking for your permission to use your mobile device as a camera.
  2. Click on the 'Continue' button, and your laptop will start using the camera on your Android device immediately.
  3. Other apps, like Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, will also detect your Android phone when you sign in or set up a meeting.
  4. You can switch between the front and rear cameras on your phone and even pin the camera window on top of other windows.
Note: Currently, this feature does not source audio from the connected Android device, so you will need to use a separate microphone when using a desktop.
Camera controls available on your PC and phone when using your phone as a webcam. Source: Microsoft

By allowing users to use their Android device as a webcam on their Windows 11 systems, Microsoft has provided another reason to shift to its OS. Being able to use your Android device as a webcam offers several advantages.

Smartphone cameras have become quite powerful, and, in most cases, perform much better than the integrated cameras on laptops. Plus, it can help you extend the life of an old Android device. If your integrated webcam is not working for some reason, and you do not wish to spend on a dedicated webcam, it is the ideal solution.