Lifehack: Apple Pro Display XDR + iPhone 6 + Lego webcam

Building a DIY webcam for Apple Pro Display XDR.

Christoph Reimers
2 min read

It's 2021 and I'm convinced I really shouldn't be doing or writing this at all. I have a fairly expensive laptop and a fairly expensive display, yet I find myself in need of a decent webcam.

The laptop is a 2019 16" Macbook Pro. It has a 720p FaceTime HD camera . It's not great. The display is an Apple Pro Display XDR . Unlike other hi-end monitors and previous Apple cinema displays, it does not have a webcam to begin with. The standard solution seems to be the Logitech 4K Pro Magnetic Webcam. Not that it would really matter at this point, but at ~ EUR 200 it's not exactly... affordable. Plus I'm in lockdown, so I can't just walk into a store to try one out.

Additionally, I happend to have an old iPhone 6 flying around with a decent camera, so I set out to hack together a solution myself.

There's quite some software solutions out there that let you use an iPhone as a webcam. The best one I could find is Camo from Reincubate. It has a free version that basically lets you pull the trick. The pro version has a ton of features, maybe even too many. I'm of course happy to pay for a useful product. The only downside from my perspective however is that the payment model is subscription based.

With the software aspect out of the way, all I needed was a way to attach the iPhone to the screen. I considered various options and materials for this, but finally ended up using Lego. It took some iterations to get something that was functional, sturdy and not too obtrusive. While the final result (for now) is certainly not perfect, it does do its job, and I'm quite happy!

Below you'll find some pictures, and that's that.