Using Pixel as a webcam on Android 14 QPR1 is a game-changer | Phones

Pixel 7 Pro Camera Bar 2.jpg

With the arrival of Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1, some Pixel phones – and eventually other Android devices – can now be used as a webcam for a PC, Mac, or Chromebook. This long-awaited feature is a real game changer, making high-quality video calls easy and affordable.

It was initially reported at the beginning of the year that Google was working on a way to easily use a modern Android device as a USB webcam. By comparison to the Continuity Camera feature available for those with a Mac and iPhone, Google built Android’s webcam capabilities on the USB Video Class (or UVC) standard. This means that any device that can handle a standard webcam can use an Android phone as one – there’s no ChromeOS-only restriction or anything of the sort.

After installing the Android 14 QPR1 Beta, most Pixel owners (more on this in a bit) should see a new option when plugging their phone into a computer. In the notification drawer, tap the usual notification for “Charging this device via USB.” Below the usual choices like “File transfer / Android Auto” and “USB tethering,” you’ll find a new option for “Webcam.”

This will trigger a new notification labeled “Device as Webcam.” Tapping this will bring you to a new app that lets you preview and tweak the video feed being sent to your computer. For example, you can tap to swap between 1.0x and 2.0x (digital) zoom, pinch to more finely adjust the zoom, or switch between the front- and rear-facing cameras. On the Pixel 7 Pro, there’s no option to use the built-in telephoto lens.

Once you have the zoom set up how you like it, you can safely lock your phone to conserve battery life. Android will continue sharing your video feed over USB. On your computer, in apps like Discord, Zoom, and Google Meet, you should see a new webcam option called “Android Camera.” And…

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