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iMac FaceTime Camera Quality

Use an old iPhone for better videos

My iMac, which is a Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2019 has a built in camera. The built in camera is an HD camera. My Apple Thunderbolt Display also has a built it camera, and it's also a HD camera.

Today, the terminology "HD" doen't really mean High Definition as HD means 720p. Most smartphones front screens are now using 1080p image resolutions.

iMac FaceTime

Video Resolution Fun Facts

HD 720p image resolution (1,280 x 720 pixels ? approximately 1 million total pixels)
Full HD 1080p image resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels ? approximately 2 million total pixels)
Ultra HD 4K image resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels ? approximately 8 million total pixels)

720p vs 1080p

Do you really need a 1080p video resolution for Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls? Probably not. However it would help with low lighting and clarity. This would be good for job interviews or important job meetings.

Got an Old iPhone?

The camera on your iPhone is designed to capture high-resolution photos and videos. When used as a webcam, it can significantly outperform many standard computer webcams. The iPhone's sensor and lens are engineered to produce sharp, high-definition images, ensuring that you come across clearly and professionally. Furthermore, the iPhone's camera excels in a variety of lighting situations, adjusting to give you the best possible image.

Setting Up Your iPhone as Your iMac's Camera

Transforming your iPhone into a FaceTime camera for your iMac is relatively straightforward. You'll need a few things to get started:

  • Your old iPhone (preferably one with a 1080p camera, such as the iPhone 6 or later).
  • A stable stand or tripod to position your iPhone.
  • A lightning cable to connect your iPhone to your iMac.
  • Software to bridge the connection between your iPhone and iMac (apps like EpocCam or Camo).

Once you have everything you need, follow these steps:

  1. Install the Webcam App: Download and install your chosen webcam app on both your iPhone and iMac. These apps will enable you to use your iPhone as a webcam via a USB or Wi-Fi connection.
  2. Connect Your iPhone: Mount your iPhone on the stand or tripod and position it where you would normally have a webcam. Connect your iPhone to your iMac using the lightning cable.
  3. Configure the Webcam App: Launch the app on your iMac and follow the instructions to connect it to your iPhone. You might need to allow some permissions on both devices.
  4. Select the iPhone as Your Camera Source: In your video conferencing app's settings (like Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams), select the webcam app you've installed as the camera source.
  5. Adjust the Settings: Fine-tune the camera settings to your liking. You can adjust the resolution, zoom, and even add filters if your webcam app supports these features.

Amazon Tripod
Useful iPhone Tripod Stand

The Benefits of 1080p Resolution

With your iPhone now set as your FaceTime camera, you'll notice a considerable improvement in video quality. The 1080p resolution of your iPhone's camera provides a high-definition video feed, making your image on calls much sharper than the standard 720p webcam of older iMacs. You'll appear clearer, with more accurate colors and better detail. This can be particularly beneficial for professional calls where making a good impression is paramount.

Looking Your Best on Conference Calls

The higher resolution combined with your iPhone's superior sensor will mean that your video has less noise and better performance in low light conditions. You can say goodbye to pixelated video and embrace a more polished and flattering image. Remember, good lighting is key to professional video calls, so make sure you're well-lit from the front. Your iPhone will take care of the rest, ensuring that you look your best.

Closing Thoughts

Using your old iPhone as a FaceTime camera is not just a creative hack but a smart way to leverage technology you already own. It's a win-win situation that contributes to a more sustainable lifestyle while improving your professional presence online. So, dust off that old iPhone, set it up as your new iMac webcam, and get ready to show up on your next video call with clarity and confidence.



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A Mac veteran since 1989, I'm here to share my experience with tips and tricks every Friday. Witnessing the evolution of Mac software and hardware firsthand, I've gained a deep understanding of how these machines work and can help you troubleshoot any issues that may come up.


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