Your iPad's getting USB webcam support with iPadOS 17

The iPadOS 17 update is going to add support for USB-connected webcams for the first time, making the tablet an even more viable laptop replacement.

1 minute & 42 seconds read time

The iPad continues to try and convince the world that it's a real laptop replacement and in many ways, it's proven that to be the case. But so far it's been found lacking in one key way - there was no way to connect a proper webcam.

Sure, the iPad comes with a webcam built in but that's no good if you want the camera angle to be different or, heaven forbid, you just want a really good image out of a proper webcam. But that's all changing when the iPadOS 17 update arrives later this year.

That's because Apple is finally adding USB webcam support to the iPad with the release of iPadOS 17. The update is expected to ship in September, so there is still a little time to wait. But when iPadOS 17 lands podcasters around the world will rejoice.

Apple had already confirmed during the WWDC 2023 event that the iPad would be able to make use of cameras built into displays like the Studio Display thanks to iPadOS 17. But some people have already been able to install the first iPadOS 17 developer beta and test the feature, and sure enough, any USB webcam plugged into an iPad appears to work just fine.

Those tablets can have a USB-C cable or connect via an adapter in the case of USB-A cables. All should work equally well, it seems.

That's a huge boon for iPad users, that's for sure and it's interesting that Apple didn't make a big deal of it. That being said, Apple was already trying its best to fit a whole lot into that WWDC event including the Vision Pro headset, a new 15-inch MacBook Air, an upgraded Mac Studio, and the first Apple silicon Mac Pro. And that doesn't even take into consideration the iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV software that was also announced alongside this iPadOS 17 release.

If you've always wished that you could connect your own webcam to your iPad, for whatever reason, this is extremely good news of course. Let's hope that this isn't one of those features that go missing before release. Thankfully, the fact that it is already working in the very first developer beta would suggest that that's unlikely.

Apple's big 2023 announcements aren't over, of course. We still expect new iPhones, Apple Watches, and perhaps even more to be announced in or around September. And then it's on to the early 2024 release of the aforementioned Vision Pro headset.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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