During lockdowns millions of people around the world were reliant on video apps such as Zoom or Apple’s own FaceTime to chat with family and friends online. Lockdowns may be a thing of the past, but video calling still remains popular and is here to stay. And, of course, many of us are still working from home the majority of the time, continuing to use business-oriented apps such as Skype or Microsoft Teams to set up video calls with colleagues and clients.
Apart from the Mac mini , Mac Studio and Mac Pro, all Macs have one of Apple’s FaceTime cameras already built in, so you don’t necessarily need to buy a new webcam for video calls. However, the webcams on many Macs offer embarrassingly low resolution. As an alternative you can use your iPhone as a Mac webcam, and Apple is improving this functionality in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura. We’ve included some products here that help make your iPhone into your main Mac webcam.
Business users in particular will want to pick something better in order to project a more professional image to colleagues and clients, while many artists and musicians vlog and promote their work on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Almost all Mac owners could benefit from upgrading to something that can provide a sharper image than their machine’s default camera.
With that in mind, here’s our guide to some of the best webcams for use with your Mac, complete with links to buy. For broader advice, jump down to our thoughts on what to look for in a Mac webcam.
1. Kensington W1050 – Excellent and affordable
- Very affordable
- 1080p resolution
- Good Mac app
- USB-A interface
- Mac app requires macOS 10.15.4 or later (but app not required to work with Macs
Kensington makes a variety of webcams and other accessories for video-conferencing, but its new W1050 is very competitively priced, and arrives just as Kensington releases a new Mac version of its Konnect app as well.
With a price of just $49.99/£34.99, the W1050 is one of the most affordable 1080p (1920×1080) webcams we’ve seen so far. It doesn’t cut many corners, though, providing a bright sharp image that is clearer and more detailed than the 720p FaceTime camera on my aging office iMac. It provides 95-degree viewing angle, with fixed-focus to ensure that the entire image remains in focus at all times (which is handy if you need to move around during a presentation).
The adjustable stand can rest on your desk or attach to your computer screen, and allows you to tilt and rotate the camera to get the right viewing angle. It includes twin microphones with noise-cancelling features to reduce background noise, and there’s a privacy shutter on the front of the camera too. The only thing to watch out for is that the W1050 uses an older USB-A interface—which is fine for my old iMac, but you’ll need an adaptor for newer Macs that only have USB-C.
Like any USB webcam, the W1050 works automatically with Macs when connected via USB, but you will need Catalina (10.15.4) or later if you also want to use Kensington’s Konnect app. This provides additional controls for adjusting brightness, contrast and other settings, but its most useful feature is the ability to create and save profiles with settings that are suitable for different locations or lighting conditions. And, if you’re really serious about setting up a studio for video calls, conferencing or podcasting, then Kensington also has a range of accessories for use with its webcams, such as ring lights, and extendable mounts and stands.
2. Logitech Brio 500￼
- Tilt and swivel magnetic stand
- Clear, sharp 1080p resolution
- Show Mode for collaboration
- Expensive for 1080p camera
Logitech’s Brio range of webcams has been very popular in recent years—with the Brio Ultra HD Pro currently being our favorite 4K webcam—and it has just launched a new range of Brio cameras, starting with the Brio 500.
Priced at $129.99/£129 and available in a variety of colours, the Brio 500 looks like a fairly conventional webcam, with a USB-C interface that allows it to work automatically with any Mac or PC that also has USB-C. However, this new model includes a number of new features that make it more versatile than many of its rivals, and will particularly appeal to people who need to make conference calls when working from home.
The camera itself is fairly straightforward, with a high-quality glass lens that is capable of recording 1080p video at 30 frames per second, along with a privacy shutter and noise-cancelling microphone. The camera provides 65° – 90° field of view, but it also includes a new stand with an adjustable magnetic clip that allows you to freely rotate the camera to any angle you want. And, when used with the Logi Tune app–available for macOS 10.15 or later–you can use the new Show Mode to tilt the camera so that it points down at your desk and then automatically inverts the image so that you can show other people the documents or designs that you’re working on.
3. Logitech Brio – Best 4K webcam
- Supports HDR
- Supports 1080p video at 60fps
- Three field-of-view options
- High price
Logitech probably has the widest range of webcams currently available, ranging from low-cost models for video chats with your friends to gaming cameras and even full-blown videoconferencing systems for business users.
The Brio is one of the company’s top-of-the-range models–in fact, Logitech claims it’s “our best webcam ever”. It’s not cheap, costing $199/£199, but earns its keep with a high-quality lens that offers full 4K resolution (4096×2160) at 30fps, or standard 1080p video (1920×1080) at 60fps (although, of course, you’ll need pretty fast broadband to handle 4K streaming).
The Brio also supports HDR–high dynamic range–for bright, bold colors, and Logitech’s RightLight technology, which automatically adjusts the image to cope with changing light levels during the day.
The Brio is versatile, too, offering three field-of-view settings: a narrow 65 degrees for close-up head-and-shoulders shots, or you can widen the view to 78 degrees or 90 degrees to capture a wider view of the room and other people. The camera also includes two microphones, with noise-cancellation features to improve audio quality.
The adjustable stand can clip on to the top of your computer screen, or be mounted on a tripod for more professional productions (although you do have to supply your own tripod). There’s a privacy shade to cover the camera for extra security.
The Brio works as a standard USB camera, so you can quickly plug it in and use it on your Mac with apps such as FaceTime or Zoom, but Logitech also provides a Mac version of its Settings app, to provide extra controls.
4. Ausdom AW651 – Best for Streamers + VLoggers
- Supports HDR
- Supports 2K at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps
- Tripod included
- No software provided
Ausdom’s AW651—sometimes also referred to as the ‘HDR 2K’—is an affordable option for people who want more than a standard 1080p webcam, but perhaps don’t want to spend a lot of money on an expensive 4K model.
Priced at a competitive $89.99/£69.99, the AW651 provides two main options, allowing you to stream 2K video (2560 x 1440) at 30 frames per second, or 1080p (1920 x 1080) at a super-smooth 60fps. It supports HDR, with auto-focus and a viewing angle of 75-degrees, and the camera head can tilt and rotate to help you get the right angle for your video calls.
The only disadvantage here is that Ausdom doesn’t provide any software for the camera at all – either for Mac or Windows. There is a button on the back of the camera that lets you adjust the frame rate, but you’ll have to rely on FaceTime, Zoom or other streaming apps to control resolution and other settings.
The AW651 will work with any Mac running macOS 10.6 or above, but it uses a USB-A cable to connect to your Mac, so owners of Macs that only have USB-C will need an adaptor. However, the AW651 worked fine with our office iMac (USB-A) and with our USB-C MacBook Air with an adaptor.
There’s a privacy shutter built into the camera, and the adjustable stand can sit on the desk, or be attached to your computer screen or a tripod. And, surprisingly for such an affordable camera, the AW651 even includes a small six-inch tripod as well, making it good value for streamers and vloggers who need to adjust the camera position from time to time.
5. AverMedia Live Streamer Cam 513 – 4K webcam
- 1080p at 60fps
- 94-degree field of view
- Faint ticking noise coming from the webcam
The AverMedia Cam 513 stands out because it offers Sony’s 8MP Exmore R CMOS image sensor for 4K at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps video capture. There’s also an impressive 94-degree field of view, which provides the user with a large canvas for cropping and zooming without noticeable loss in detail.
That’s where the AverMedia CamEngine comes in. CamEngine is a vital utility and essentially required to get the most out of the Cam 513—which doesn’t have drivers, you need to use their software. The software allows you to tweak the image using advanced features such as Snapchat-style filters and AI-powered camera cropping.
Regarding those AI-related capabilities, it can crop in and track your face as you move around – good news if you move around a lot while on video calls. It’s not always flawless in performance however – we found it sometimes cropped into something that vaguely looked like a face, but you’ve also got the option of manually setting up each crop for different shots and angles.
Shots can be programmed to hotkeys, allowing for extreme zooms and dramatic ultra-wide shots on-the-fly during streams and video calls.
You’ll also find a privacy-focused shutter built in which will cover the webcam sensor when not in use.
The adjustable stand will attach to most displays. The camera plugs into your Mac via USB-C—the cable isn’t built-in but we don’t think that is a disadvantage (it means you can replace it with a shorter or longer USB-C cable depending on how you want to set it up.)
It’s a great 4K webcam—the only real annoyance is that we could hear a faint ticking noise coming from the webcam during use.
6. Belkin iPhone Mount with MagSafe – Best iPhone webcam mount
- Superior quality to MacBook's own webcam
- We just wish Macs had better cameras
Belkin makes two iPhone mounts that are specially designed to work with Continuity Camera—a feature in macOS Ventura that lets Mac customers use their iPhone as a webcam. It enables innovative Continuity Camera features such as Desk View that come with macOS Ventura.
The big benefit of using your iPhone as a Mac webcam is the quality of camera. While a MacBook boasts at best a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, the latest iPhones can record video at 4K. We found using an iPhone was noticeably superior, particularly in low light environments.
Belkin’s MagSafe iPhone Mount is available in two options: one for Mac laptops (in either white or black colors); and one for and Mac desktops and displays. MagSafe iPhones (12/13/14) attach magnetically to the mount in either portrait or landscape orientation. The connection was strong, but we felt safe using the phone without va case, for the most secure magnetic clamp.
The iPhone Mount with MagSafe for Mac laptops also features a ring grip for for handheld or kickstand usage.
7. Hypercam HD – Best Budget Webcam
- Low cost
- Records in a 1080p
- 78-degree field of view
- Similar to a few Chinese-made webcams, but we didn't encounter any problems
The Hypercam HD is inexpensive while offering a high-spec range of features, making it one of the best value webcams here.
Its 1080p HD resolution picture quality is noticeably better than the Mac’s default 720p HD camera, and the audio is clear. However, as you’d expect at this price, quality is not as great as you’ll find on the more premium webcams reviewed here.
The Hypercam’s glass lens has a 78-degree field of view—the same as the top-end Logitech C922. It also matches that webcam with fast 720p HD at 60Hz, and 1080p at 30fps.
The Hypercam features built-in HD autofocus and light correction, and two integrated mics. It is adjustable at up to 170 degrees.
Installation is simple—just plug the USB cable into your computer or docking station, and the driver automatically installs for almost immediate use. Unfortunately there’s no tripod mount option, but you can hang it off your display, or place it on a desktop.
We were initially concerned that it looked eerily similar to a few other Chinese-made webcams—and it’s not badged as a Hyper product—but we found few faults in testing.
8. Razer Kiyo – Best Features on a 1080p Webcam
- Light ring
- Long USB cable
- Good value
- Razer's Synapse app isn't Mac-compatible
Razer is best known for its range of gaming gear, and the Kiyo webcam is primarily aimed at gamers who need a high-quality camera for Twitch streaming and e-sports. It’s a shame that Razer’s Synapse app isn’t Mac-compatible—meaning you’ll be missing out on some current features and won’t be able to update it when new firmware arrives—but the Kiyo itself still works well as a standard USB webcam without needing any additional software and has a number of other useful features that will come in handy for video chats with friends and even for business calls.
The Kiyo provides a nice sharp 1080p lens (1920×1080), with 81.6 degrees viewing angle, and can record video at 30fps, or capture still images at 2688×1520.
The adjustable stand can clip to the top of a computer screen or fold flat to sit on your desk. You can tilt the camera lens to get just the right viewing angle, and the Kiyo’s USB cable is 1.5m long so that you can adjust the position freely. There’s also a tripod mount on the base of the stand as well—although you have to use your own tripod.
Like many webcams, the Kiyo has an autofocus function so it can keep your picture nice and clear when you’re moving around, but the main feature that sets it apart is its built-in ‘lighting ring’. The circular outer rim that surrounds the camera lens lights up as soon as you select the Kiyo as a video source in your video apps, and you can turn the ring like a dial to adjust the brightness level up or down. That can help solve the gloomy image quality that many of us struggle with when making video calls from a bedroom or makeshift office at home.
Razer also makes a good range of high-quality microphones that work well with the Kiyo too.
What to look for in a Mac webcam
We’ve picked out five webcams worthy of recommendation above, but here’s some more general advice on what to look for.
The FaceTime cameras included on all MacBook laptops and most iMac models are limited to just ‘720p’—which generally means a resolution of 1280×720 (although the FaceTime camera on my office iMac only seems to record at 1080×720). That’s pretty basic in these days of HD and 4K video, so in recent months many people have decided to upgrade to a higher-quality webcam that supports HD resolution of 1920×1080, or even one of the latest 4K webcams.
As well as providing a sharper, high-resolution video image, other useful features to look out for when buying a new webcam include autofocus, which can keep the image clear and sharp even if you need to move around a little, and brightness adjustment for when gloomier days. A wide-angle lens can be useful too, allowing you to fit more than one person into the image, or allowing business users to step back from the camera while giving a presentation or using a whiteboard.
You should also check to make sure that the webcam can record smooth video with a framerate of 25 or 30 frames per second (fps). Some webcams can even record at 60fps, although that’s mainly for specialist tasks such as gaming and e-sports on Twitch.
There’s certainly plenty of choice these days, and most modern webcams will work with your Mac automatically as they just use a standard USB connection—generally USB 3.0, although USB-C is now starting to appear on some new webcams too.
Once it’s plugged in, a USB webcam should then be able to work with any suitable video software on your Mac, such as FaceTime, Zoom or Skype (although it’s a shame that Apple never got around to releasing a Windows version of FaceTime, as that puts it at a real disadvantage against its video-chat rivals). The webcam’s microphone will also appear as an audio input in the Sounds control panel in System Preferences on your Mac.
Some manufacturers also provide their own apps with their webcams, which can help with features such as brightness and autofocus, so it’s worth checking to see if the webcam provides its own Mac app as well.