Continuity camera: An unpopular opinion

Continuity Camera is a feature that will be very limited appeal.

To use it, I have to take my iPhone out of my pocket and mount it. And then I can’t use my iPhone as a phone while I’m using the iPhone as a camera. So if the meeting is slow and I want to check something, well I can’t do that. And if I want to step away from my desk and bring the phone with me, I have to dismount it when I leave and re-mount it when I return.

Whereas I just bought a pretty good Logitech camera for $70. I stuck it to the top of my display, and forgot about it.

Before that, I was just using the crappy built-in camera on my 2010 Apple cinema display. Nobody complained, and I can’t see that it hurt my career any.

Very few people care about video quality. I’ve been on hundreds of video meetings in the last 2+ years. I see a lot of poor lighting and crazy angles. Most people just leave their cameras switched off.

The people who do care about video quality will invest in a good camera and fuss with ring lights and such.

Here endeth my bold prediction. Let’s see how things turn out in a few months.


I don’t know about the prediction, but I agree with your overall assessment.

You may be right. I’m still using an old Logitech (C920?) 1080p camera I purchased many years ago and the light from an LCD bar lamp bouncing off a wall. And for some calls I just use my iPP (with the camera on the wrong edge).

IMO the image quality from either is better than half the remote guests on CNN :grinning:.

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I agree that it will be niche, It does have several real benefits though:

  • a very high quality output
  • a great option to provide that quality for the occasional speaking gig without massive expenditure
  • something to use until you’re happy that you’re going to get the benefit out of a more expensive camera
  • It takes very little space compared to a DSLR
  • Requires no wires (or USB ports)
  • If someone releases a decent mount for on a Monitor with Magsafe, there’s no need to insert it into a clamp or anything

If you’re in a meeting, why would you be messing with your phone?

But I agree, it’s very different needing something to use all day every day, than to need something infrequently.


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


Don’t forget that the Continuity Camera feature lets you select menu item File > Import from iPhone or iPad > Scan Documents in apps that support it. I use it all the time with EagleFiler. I assume all the other everything bucket apps support it, too.


I for one occasionally need to text a participant in a confidential manner and don’t wish to take the chance of inadvertently sending the text to others in the video call via the application chat window.


But can’t you do that from your Mac, keeping your attention on the screen (and thus, to all appearances, on the meeting), instead of looking down or off to the side at your phone (and so appearing distracted by something)?

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I offer no vote on your prophecy (either for me personally or globally). What I can say is that I have tried it out and can’t believe how well it works and how good the camera makes my set up look. I had been indifferent to the issue of the FaceTime/Selfie/Zoom camera quality. Nonetheless, I was really blown away seeing how good things looked when using Continuity Camera. It looks almost like a professional camera set up. Really cool. Not sure whether I’ll use it that often, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it.


I finally tried Continuity Camera tonight. It’s really good! It’s not as good as hooking up a mirrorless and doing custom lighting, but it’s much better than Opal C1 and 4K Logitechs that people are willing to pay $300 for. Best implementation of Center Stage they’ve done yet. Portrait does need a level of bokeh (this philistine calls it blur) closer to Zoom’s amount.

The auto-sensing of the camera in place is smart enough that it feels worth losing your phone. There’s a nice feeling of focus with the phone stuck up there.

They should’ve been ready with a Belkin mount for thicker external monitors. That’ll slow adoption as people figure out mounting.

It’ll never be massively popular, but there are definitely fields where you need to look good on camera, or at least not have the worst camera (unless doing it as a power move from your yacht/cabin/car’s cell connection.) So there’s some incentive to adopt this in a few corners.

The desk view would be nice in some situations, like remote teaching. Perhaps a bit late for that.

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I should clarify that I rarely text during a meeting as it is important to give the participants my full attention. There are, however, times when I may need to send a short confidential text to a participant, e.g., the board president. I may text something like, “Smith needs to remember that the bylaws require….”

That said, normally, your description would apply but not in my setup. I have the MBP connected to a large monitor on the credenza. I have a Logitech camera connected to the external monitor. I sit back ~5-6 feet from the camera taking notes. I am able, on the rare occasion when appropriate, to discreetly send a text message from my phone “hidden” below the site line of the camera. My face remains facing the camera while I briefly divert my eyes slightly downward to send a short text. Because I sit back from the monitor, no one can see the slight downward movement of my eyes. In other words, I send only the rare text message during a meeting and I only do so when it is important for the discussion but needs to be confidential.

Because I occasionally need to send a quick text message during a video call, I prefer to keep my phone available. For my needs, having a separate camera from my phone works best.

Sounds like it works for you, which is great.

My assumption on video calls is that someone on the call will just happen to be glancing at my feed at the most in opportune time. It’s a corollary to the (protective) assumption that any message sent electronically will eventually wind up in the worst possible place.

I am reminded of the university professors who assure me that, even in a class of a hundred students, it’s clear who’s paying attention and who’s distracted even briefly…

Valid points all but there are times when a confidential message is important. Without belaboring the point, in my situation, someone during a call may suggest something contrary to approved policy out of ignorance and good will, not ill intent. In such a situation it is sometimes more appropriate for another attendee to point this out than me. This is an example where it is important that I be able to confidentially text a participant during the meeting so that the issue is corrected before decisions are made that may conflict with approved policy. :slightly_smiling_face:


I agree. I have a webcam and don’t really see the advantage of using the phone instead but I use the doodle and scan options a lot to use my phone to create something on the Mac.

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I suddenly had an image of you on a zoom call, stroking a white Persian cat. :grinning:


That made me laugh!!

Not this:

But maybe this:


I decided to try it today and it wouldn’t work. I triple checked and meet all of the requirements; my apps see the phone as a camera and allow me to select it; the phone displays a notice that the camera is being access and makes a little chime sound; but the video just stays as a still frame of what was on the previous camera that was in use.

I want to have an unpopular opinion, but it looks like I can’t :laughing:

Are your devices up-to-date? Have you already tried restarting them to see if that would fix the issue?

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Yes, I did all of the things :slight_smile: And just in typing that, I realized that I have my work VPN connection active. That sometimes interferes with Apples inter-device services (AirDrop and other Continuity/Handoff functions). I’ll have to check that out.

Thanks for asking and making my brain remember that possibility!