Not got a webcam for your PC? Windows 11 users can just use their Android smartphone instead

This is such a neat idea, it's difficult to believe it hasn't happened before - and it's a definite boon for Android phone owners with a Windows 11 PC.

1 minute & 13 seconds read time

Windows 11 just got a whole load of new AI capabilities, including fresh features for Copilot, but something else is inbound alongside all that, namely the ability to use your phone as a webcam for your desktop PC.

You can switch between the front or rear camera (Image Credit: Microsoft)

You can switch between the front or rear camera (Image Credit: Microsoft)

This feature is rolling out to Windows 11 testers across all channels, and Microsoft has said it's a gradual deployment, so some Windows Insiders may not see it for a while yet.

It uses the Link to Windows phone app to hook up your Android device to the PC, and you can then use either the front or rear camera of your phone (or tablet) as the webcam.

You will need to have a mobile with Android 9.0 (or better) installed on it, and at least version 1.24012 of the Link to Windows phone app.

Microsoft said in a blog post introducing the feature: "To enable this experience, go to Settings > Bluetooth & devices > Mobile devices and choose 'Manage devices' and allow your PC to access your Android phone. Your PC will get a Cross Device Experience Host update in the Microsoft Store that is required for this experience to work."

Rumors about the feature started to circulate in November 2023, and it was revealed at CES 2024 in January - albeit in the context of using a Samsung Galaxy phone with your Windows 11 PC.

The good news is that this hasn't turned out to be a Galaxy-specific feature, and it'll work with any Android device as mentioned, as long as it isn't running an ancient version of Google's mobile OS.

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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