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macOS Ventura: 5 helpful tips for using the Continuity Camera

Bring more friends into the fold during FaceTime calls with Center Stage. (Image source: Apple - macOS Ventura)
Bring more friends into the fold during FaceTime calls with Center Stage. (Image source: Apple - macOS Ventura)
At WWDC22 Apple introduced a breakthrough new way to leverage the sophisticated cameras on modern iPhones to deliver a unique set of webcam features that will work seamlessly between smartphones running iOS 16 and Macs running macOS Ventura. Take a deep dive into this flagship feature coming to compatible Macs and select iPhone models later this year.
Article compiled by Brahm Shank
The choices and comments made on this list belong solely to the author.

1. System requirements

The Continuity Camera allows users to harness their iPhone as an advanced webcam for their Mac. The feature requires the iPhone to be running iOS 16 and the Mac to be running macOS 13 Ventura. Developers and Apple enthusiasts can try the Continuity Camera before it debuts to the public this fall by downloading the latest developer betas at developer.apple.com or by joining the public beta in July 2022.

Basic webcam handoff functionality requires the iPhone XR and newer. The iPhone 11 and later is required to utilize Desk View, while the iPhone 12 and newer is required to take advantage of Studio Light filters. A user’s iPhone and Mac must be signed in under the same Apple ID in order to turn on the Continuity Camera. 

Continuity Camera enables new features and effects for FaceTime calls. (Image source: Apple - macOS Ventura Preview)
Continuity Camera enables new features and effects for FaceTime calls. (Image source: Apple - macOS Ventura Preview)

2. Activating the Continuity Camera

When receiving a FaceTime call, users will receive a prompt on compatible iPhone devices to connect their iPhone camera to their Mac. If this prompt fails to appear the user should ensure that both their iPhone and Mac have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled. Users can additionally toggle the Continuity Camera manually by navigating to the menu bar on their Mac in the upper left corner of the display. Then they can click the Video option in the menu bar to select their iPhone under the “Camera” header.

While the Continuity Camera is enabled by default on compatible iPhone models running iOS 16, users can opt not to use the feature by launching the Settings app on the iPhone, then tapping General > AirPlay & Handoff > Continuity Camera Webcam and toggling the corresponding switch. To disconnect an actively paired iPhone in the Continuity Camera mode simply select the red “disconnect” button beneath the onscreen text.

In order for the Continuity Camera to function properly, users must mount their iPhone above their Mac display with their iPhone’s camera array positioned just to the left of the built-in webcam. For Mac desktops, including the Mac Studio or the Mac mini, simply centering and then mounting the iPhone on a connected display will allow the Continuity Camera to work properly. Made-For-iPhone (MFI) camera mounts will be available for purchase from Apple and third-party retailers later this year but this US$19.99 cellphone mount from Amazon will do the job for the time being for those who would like to beta test the feature ahead of its release.

Pairing an iPhone to a Mac even works inside third-party video-calling apps like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom. (Image source: Apple/Own/Edited)
Pairing an iPhone to a Mac even works inside third-party video-calling apps like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom. (Image source: Apple/Own/Edited)

3. Using Center Stage

Center Stage is a webcam feature that keeps subjects dynamically centered during video calls. The feature is currently only available on the newest iPad models featuring a 12 MP ultra-wide front camera, including the latest-generation iPad Pro, the iPad Air (5th generation), and the iPad mini (6th generation). The Continuity Camera features utilizes the 12 MP ultra wide camera on the rear of the iPhone 11 and later to enable Center Stage on the Mac for the first time.

To turn on Center Stage click on the Control Center icon in the upper righthand corner of the display and select “Video Effects” under the dropdown menu. Then, click “Center Stage” to enable it. A white checkmark will appear next to the effects that users have enabled. 

Users can quickly toggle between camera effects and the overhead Desk View using this convenient dropdown menu. (Image source: Own/Apple)
Users can quickly toggle between camera effects and the overhead Desk View using this convenient dropdown menu. (Image source: Own/Apple)

4. Enabling Studio Light effects

Studio Light allows users to touch up their appearance during video calls with dramatic lighting effects that draw subjects into focus. To enable Studio Light on the Mac launch the Control Center by clicking the dual switch icon in the upper righthand corner of the display and select “Video Effects”.

Then, select “Studio Light”. This feature is fantastic when making a FaceTime call in a dimly-lit area, and it can even serve as a substitute for those ring lights that became popular during the Zoom revolution. 

5. How to turn on Desk View

Yet another incredible new feature enabled by the ultra-wide rear camera lens on the iPhone 11 and later is Desk View. While using the Continuity Camera, users can mimic the functionality of an overhead desk camera while showing their face onscreen at the same time.

To let FaceTime callers take a peek at a desk space, navigate to Control Center once more and select “Desk View” located at the very bottom of the menu under “Video Effects”. 

Desk view is an excellent tool for instructors and product demos. iPhone sold separately...(Image source: Own)
Desk view is an excellent tool for instructors and product demos. iPhone sold separately...(Image source: Own)

Buy the Laptop Cellphone Mount on Amazon 

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 06 > macOS Ventura: 5 helpful tips for using the Continuity Camera
Brahm Shank, 2022-06-29 (Update: 2022-06-29)