Everything you need to know about Apple's Continuity Camera

Continuity Camera
(Image credit: Apple)

When Apple used is annual WWDC (Worldwide Developers' Conference) to introduce its new Continuity Camera feature for macOS Ventura reaction was somewhat split – those who were just happy that the days of grainy MacBook images were numbered and those who thought the company could have done better than sticking iPhone to the back of a Mac to create a decent webcam… There’s no need for negativity though as a video by Apple software engineer Karen Xing, released at WWDC 2022, shows how Continuity Camera feature for macOS Ventura will work and it looks fantastic. 

(Image credit: Apple)

Continuity Camera: seamless experience 

Apple are all about seamless experience and Continuity Camera is certainly no different. macOS detects users’ iPhone as a camera and microphone, so all apps will work and developers wont have to do anything to their apps. Apple demonstrated how seamlessly Continuity Camera worked during its WWDC 2022 keynote with a demonstration using FaceTime and they also mentioned Zoom, Teams, and Webex, but all apps should work. 

Apple seem to have thought a lot about ease of use with Continuity Camera – impressively it’ll work with an iPhone turned to any orientation. While landscape would be the traditional and most obvious choice, portrait orientation gives a zoomed-in view which some people may prefer. 

iPhone mounts for attaching your handset to your MacBook are being manufactured by Belkin - but this accessory is not necessary for Continuity Camera to work.

(Image credit: Apple)

Continuity Camera uses a Control Center dropdown menu, which lets users select Portrait Mode, Studio Light, and Center Stage options – regardless of the app – which will be an absolute game changer for people who use webcams a lot. 

It’s 2022 so obviously Continuity Camera works wirelessly – you’ll need a mount on your Mac, which when used will just recognise your iPhone and start working. It will also work via USB too though – good news if you’re low on battery or interference becomes an issue. 

Continuity Camera - Desk View

Continuity Camera's Desk View utilizes the ultra-wide camera on iPhone to simultaneously show the user’s face and an overhead view of their desk (Image credit: Apple)

With the API (Application Programming Interface) for Apple’s Desk View mode, iPhone’s super-ultrawide lens (presumably via some seriously high tech bending and cropping of images) lets users show things on the surface of your desk without moving your phone. 

Lastly, Apps will let Mac capture photos and video from users iPhone and even pass on face detection and body detection metadata – something we are waiting to hear more on and test out. Captures will max out at 1920 x 1440 and 60fps, which is very decent. 

iOS 16 with macOS 13

Apple has been very clear that Continuity Camera requires iOS 16 in addition to macOS 13. This means those still using the iPhone 6S, 7 and first gen SE will have to upgrade their iPhone if they want Continuity Camera, as they won’t be getting the iOS 16 software update. Apple macOS 13 and iOS 16 are currently in beta, but will be fully released later in the year.

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Rachael Sharpe

Rachael is a British journalist with 18 years experience in the publishing industry. Since working on www.digitalcameraworld.com, she’s been freelancing, and contributing to some of the world’s best-loved websites and magazines including T3.com and TechRadar.com and has also had a book, iPad for Photographers, published. She's currently acting as editor of 5GRadar.com - a website specializing in the latest cellular technology.