Your Android phone might soon double as a webcam for your Windows laptop

Microsoft Phone Link listing in the Microsoft Store
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft could be working on a feature that would allow Android phones to be used as webcams for Windows PCs through the Phone Link app.
  • Users would presumably be able to apply effects to the video stream, such as auto-framing.
  • The video stream capability would likely be supported by popular video-calling apps, though Microsoft may restrict the feature to devices that have Link to Windows pre-installed.

Microsoft's Link to Windows app might finally catch up to the times soon. A new update to the app suggests a potential feature allowing Android phones to function as webcams for Windows PCs.

Android Authority's recent teardown of the latest version of Link to Windows has uncovered code that hints at the possibility of turning your Android phone into a live camera feed for your Windows PC. While the code doesn't explicitly mention "webcam," the accompanying strings indicate that this is the intended purpose.

The code includes references to setting up a camera stream on your computer, complete with controls for flipping between front and back cameras, going into Do Not Disturb mode, and more. This could be a game-changer for users  who don't feel like spending cash on a webcam when their smartphones already pack some stellar cameras.

Furthermore, you might be able to throw in stabilization, filters, and HDR effects on your video stream. And there's apparently an auto-framing feature that sounds like Apple's Center Stage feature. There are even error alerts that would let you know if your phone is getting too hot.

For starters, Microsoft Phone Link, formerly Your Phone, is a handy tool that allows you to connect your phone to your PC. It consists the Phone Link for PCs and the accompanying Link to Windows app for smartphones. Once connected, you can access and manage your phone's content right from your computer.

Phone Link can already tap into your phone's camera, but it's currently limited to mirroring video-calling apps running on your device. However, this newly discovered code suggests that Microsoft is working on incorporating video-conferencing functionality directly into the app.

It's still unclear which devices will be compatible with this new webcam feature, but Android Authority suspects it might be limited to smartphones that have Phone Link pre-installed as a system app. This would include several top-notch Samsung phones and the OnePlus 11 with Android 14.

If Microsoft can pull it off, it would be a great addition for both Windows and Android users. Apple has successfully integrated similar functionality with its Continuity Camera feature, and it would be great to see Microsoft follow suit.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.