IPhone cameras at the service of Macs: Continuity Camera, here’s how it works

Among the novelties at the debut with macOS Ventura, made official by Apple a couple of days ago at WWDC 2022 (here is the summary of the news), there is one that concerns those who own both a Mac and an iPhone. Is called Continuity Cameraand its operation was detailed by Karen Xing, one of the Cupertino computer engineers who was responsible for fine-tuning the function.

CONTINUITY CAMERA, HERE’S HOW IT WORKS



Continuity Camera is very simple to explain: lets use the iPhone cameras as a webcam for the Mac, intuitively achieving a vastly better result in terms of video stream quality than Apple’s built-in FaceTime camera – it comes in at 1440p at 60 fps. In addition to the advantages that we will illustrate later, Continuity Camera can be very useful for those who own a Mac mini, since it is up to the customer to buy a webcam for calls, conferences and so on.

It will no longer be necessary to spend tens or in some cases even hundreds of euros for a webcam, being able to use the “eyes” of the iPhone. Using Continuity Camera, then, will be extremely simple, as Apple’s philosophy dictates. There will be no physical connections between iPhone and Mac, and there will not be anything to set up either: simply keep the two devices close together to take advantage of Continuity Camera, emulating, so to speak, the connection methods between AirPods and any Apple gadget.

The iPhone will appear on the Mac as external camera and microphone sourceas long as three are satisfied requirements:

  • that the Mac is installed macOS Ventura
  • that there is on the iPhone (8 or newer) iOS 16
  • that the two are associated with the same Apple ID

Xing demonstrated how it works on Zoom. When using Continuity Camera for the first time, after opening the app, a window appears informing you of the possibility of using the iPhone camera rather than the one integrated in the Mac, so, once you have given the ok, the switch from the webcam to the camera takes place. Later, the iPhone camera can be used for all those Mac apps that allow you to take photos, record videos or sound streams.

ONE DEVICE, TWO FRAMES



In addition to the not negligible advantage of a perceptibly higher quality, they can be exploited by using the iPhone camera Center Stagethat functionality that recognizes the people in the frame and always keeps them in the center of the frame, the Portrait modewhich blurs the background to make the subject stand out more, e Studio Lightwhich is part of the novelties at the debut with macOS Ventura and which, if you use an iPhone 12 or newer, can dim the background light to emphasize the one that hits the subject instead.

Very interesting the possibility of using Desk View, another feature debuting with Apple’s latest round of operating systems. Desk View uses the ultra wide angle camera of the latest iPhones to achieve two shots, one of the subject and the other of the desk. This simulates what you would normally get with two cameras, one pointing towards the speaker and the other pointing towards a notepad or notebook. Useful when, for example, you have to show a project or explain something to someone.

Desk View, Xing assures, uses algorithms for minimize image distortion to which the peripheral areas of the frame are inevitably subject. Also for this function, Apple makes APIs available for developers who want to integrate it into their applications. While using Continuity Camera none notification it is delivered to the iPhone, which only has to take care of resuming: the most important alerts, including those of any incoming calls, are diverted to the Mac.


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