Did macOS Ventura's Continuity Camera just Sherlock Camo and apps like it?

iphone being used as a webcam on a mac
iphone being used as a webcam on a mac (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple's new Continuity Camera feature might be familiar to some.
  • Apps like Camo already offer the ability to use your iPhone as a webcam.
  • Camo and others are already ahead of the game and can still survive in a post-Continuity Camera world.

Apple today announced a raft of new software updates including macOS Ventura, the Mac's next big software update that will arrive later this year. It'll include a new feature called Continuity Camera when it does, a feature that allows iPhones to be used as Mac webcams — something that might sound familiar.

That's because being able to use an iPhone as a webcam is nothing new, apps including the popular and excellent Camo already make that a reality. A recent Camo update added support for FaceTime among other features and it's an app I've covered here on iMore a few times before. But with macOS Ventura, did Apple just Sherlock it and other apps like it?

For the uninitiated, Apple 'Sherlocks' an app when it takes its main feature and rolls it into one of its own pieces of software, like macOS in this case, and it takes its name from an app called .... Sherlock.

Here's how Apple describes Continuity Camera as of today:

Continuity Camera now gives Mac customers the ability to use their iPhone as a webcam, and unlocks new capabilities that were never possible before on a webcam. With the power of Continuity, Mac can automatically recognize and use the camera on iPhone when it is nearby — without the need to wake or select it — and iPhone can even connect to Mac wirelessly for greater flexibility.3 Continuity Camera delivers innovative features to all Mac computers including Center Stage, Portrait mode, and the new Studio Light — an effect that beautifully illuminates a user's face while dimming the background. Plus, Continuity Camera taps into the Ultra Wide camera on iPhone to enable Desk View, which simultaneously shows the user's face and an overhead view of their desk — great for creating DIY videos, showing off sketches over FaceTime, and so much more

That definitely sounds like something third-party apps already offer, although the addition of Desk View sounds pretty impressive and isn't something I've seen done elsewhere.

Apple borrowing features from apps and turning them into parts of macOS, iOS, and iPadOS isn't new of course and Camo and apps like it won't be the last to have this happen to them. But as others have found out, being Sherlocked isn't always the end of the world. Developers can build on what they already have and create new features and capabilities that go beyond what Apple offers via built-in offerings like Continuity Camera.

I'm sure that's what Reincubate and other developers are already thinking about today. In fact, I know it is.

I'm sure Continuity Camera is cool, but it's no Camo.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.