How to Use an iPod as a Webcam

by David Weedmark Google

    With a 720p HD resolution and up to 30 frames per second, the camera built into the iPod Touch rivals the quality of many computer webcams. Apps that tap into this ability vary in how they work. Apps like Skype and FaceTime can be used without connecting to a computer at all. Other apps are designed to be used as IP cameras that stream video to your computer. A third set of apps are designed to integrate with your computer's video chat sessions. Because most of these apps cost a few dollars, it's a good idea to determine exactly what you want them to do before selecting the one that's best for you.

    Video Calling Apps

    Apple's FaceTime, Skype and Google Hangouts are just three examples of apps that can stream video from an iPod Touch camera to another device across the Internet. FaceTime, of course, is already installed on your iPod Touch. You can call anyone with an account using the same service and the iPod Touch acts as a webcam. Because you can't call yourself using these apps, if you want to use the iPod Touch as a webcam on your own computer to act as a surveillance camera or nanny cam, for example, you'll need to create two accounts.

    IP Webcam Apps

    Another set of apps are designed to turn the iPod Touch into an IP webcam. These apps, like IP Cam, IP Cam Pro and IP Camera (see Resources for links) can broadcast the iPod Touch's on your home network to any Web browser. They show you the iPod Touch's IP address so when you type that address, like "http://192.168.0.10" in the address bar of a Web browser on the same network, you can see the device's video.

    IP Camera Apps and the Internet

    Streaming video over the Internet is a bit more complex than streaming it within a home network. An IP address inside a network, for example, is meaningless outside of the network unless you have software on the receiving device that is able to negotiate a connection between the IP Touch and your computer through the routers separating them. Most developers charge an additional few dollars for the receiving app as well as the broadcasting app installed on the iPod Touch.

    Computer Webcam Replacement Apps

    If you don't have a webcam on your computer and don't want to use a video chat app on the iPod Touch, apps like PocketCam, EpocCam and WebCamera give you the ability to use your iPod Touch on your computer just like a connected webcam. You can then use the iPod Touch to broadcast video and audio on programs like Skype running on your computer. When you launch the app on the iPod Touch and connect it to your Wi-Fi network, the video chat program on your computer recognize the iPod Touch as a webcam. Note that some developers warn purchasers that the camera may lag by as much as a second compared to a built-in webcam.

    Disclaimer

    The information in this article applies to the iPod Touch with iOS 7 and apps available in January 2014. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products. Before purchasing an app, read reviews from other customers and visit the developer's support website to determine whether or not the app is capable of doing what you need.

    About the Author

    David Weedmark's articles have appeared in dozens of publications since 1989, including "The Windsor Star" and "The Ottawa Citizen." As well as being a technology consultant, he is the author of several books, including "The Tanglewood Murders." Weedmark studied English at the University of Toronto.

    Photo Credits

    • Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images