I just tried the coolest new MacBook feature in years — your iPhone is the webcam

Belkin's iPhone mount for MacBook is frickin' magical

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Early Verdict

The Belkin iPhone mount and updated Continuity Camera deliver a stellar webcam for MacBooks and a stunning Desk View mode that approximates a top-down view via the ultra-wide lens.

Pros

  • +

    Easy to set up

  • +

    Small and lightweight

  • +

    Can function as a kickstand and phone grip

  • +

    Amazing Desk View mode

Cons

  • -

    Prototype's latch feels somewhat flimsy

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The Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook is a great peripheral that turns your iPhone into a webcam. First revealed during WWDC 2022, this product complements the updated version of Continuity Camera coming to macOS Ventura. It’s a small peripheral that could bring a huge change for some folks — especially those using MacBooks with a 720p camera and content creators.

The official peripheral, dubbed the iPhone Mount with MagSafe from Belkin, is now available to pre-order for $29.95 from the Apple store (opens in new tab). We haven't tested this product yet, but we were fairly pleased with the prototype. It’s a simple puck that makes video conferencing on the best MacBooks more enjoyable. On top of that, the Desk View feature allows you to show what's on your desk to others, which you could use for demonstrations, how-to videos, unboxings and more.

All of this makes for one of the most amazing features I've ever seen on MacBooks.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook: Release date and price

The iPhone Mount with MagSafe from Belkin will be available on October 21 for $29.95 from the Apple store (opens in new tab). You can get it in either white or black.

Apple says another peripheral named the iPhone Mount with MagSafefor Mac desktops and displays will be coming soon.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook: Setup 

Setting up the Belkin mount is a straightforward affair. You’ll first need to have macOS 13 and iOS 16 installed on your compatible MacBook and iPhone (respectively).

macOS Ventura is due to arrive soon but you can try it now. Our guides on how to download the macOS Ventura public beta will get you started. As for iOS 16, you can download it to your iPhone right now.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook

The Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook is a simple puck that attaches to the back of your MagSafe-compatible iPhone. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

After that’s done, you’ll snap the Belkin mount to the back of your MagSafe-compatible iPhone – namely, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lines. There’s a latch with a Belkin logo that you’ll then flip up. This part directly attaches to your MacBook’s top bezel. Continuity Camera will automatically detect your phone if it’s in range, so there’s no need to plug it into your laptop. The process is really that simple.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook: Design

As stated above, the Belkin mount we were provided is a prototype and thus not reflective of the final product. As such, be aware that anything I discuss regarding its design and functionality is subject to change.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook

The Belkin mount attaches to a MacBook's top bezel via a thin latch. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook is a circular all-white puck that attaches to the back of iPhones with MagSafe. According to its store listing, the peripheral is made of aluminum, hard plastic and steel. It feels as smooth as the silicone cover on my iPhone 13 Pro. The product also has a metal ring you can use as a kickstand or phone grip.

Spec-wise, the camera mount is 2.3 (length and width) x 0.25 x 0.25 inches and weighs 1.23 ounces. Its circumference is about the size of the MagSafe ring on the back of an iPhone. In terms of thickness and weight, it's comparable to my Spigen Valentinus magnetic wallet card holder, which means it's fairly thin and light.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook: Performance

The difference between the MacBook Pro M2’s built-in 720p webcam and the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s 12MP camera is staggering.

I tested the Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook using an iPhone 13 Pro Max and a MacBook Pro M2 for the purposes of this hands-on review. I also tried the mount on the MacBook Pro 16-inch, which has a thicker lid than the M2 MacBook Pro. The mount slotted into both laptops without an issue, though it did fit more snugly into the MacBook Pro 16-inch’s lid.

Once you’ve placed the Belkin mount on your MacBook, all you need to do is fire up your favorite video conferencing app and select your iPhone from the list of available webcams. Note that you’re not relegated to using Apple’s proprietary FaceTime App. Google Meets, Zoom, Discord and more all work equally well.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook

The Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook securely attaches to your MacBook's top bezel. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Since both macOS Ventura and iOS 16 were in beta when I tested the mount, there were times when the picture would freeze when switching from the MacBook Pro M2’s built-in webcam to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Sometimes the iPhone wouldn’t be available as a camera option at all. Restarting the MacBook Pro resolved this issue for me.

The difference between the MacBook Pro M2’s built-in 720p webcam and the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s 12MP camera is staggering. The MacBook Pro’s camera made me look paler than usual. Sunlight from the nearby windows appeared harsh. By contrast, my skin had its natural light olive tone using the iPhone's camera. Not only that, but everything behind me was clearly visible. The frame rate was also smoother on the iPhone camera.

The latch that attaches to the MacBook’s top bezel is fairly thin. Because of that, I worried the phone would fall off if I opened the laptop lid beyond 90 degrees.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook

Despit being thin, the Belkin iPhone mount's latch maintains a solid grip on a MacBook's lid. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Thankfully, my concern was unwarranted as the Belkin mount maintained its grip no matter how far I opened the laptop. If the mount can easily hold the heavy iPhone 13 Pro Max, it shouldn’t have a problem with lighter phones.

The mount’s metal ring gives it additional functions. When you pull the ring down so it’s perpendicular to the puck, it serves as a kickstand to prop your phone up when watching videos. It also serves as a phone grip when you’re talking on your device.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook

The Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook has a metal ring you can use as a kickstand for your phone. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The only complaint I have with the Belkin mount is that the latch feels a bit flimsy. Though it grips the top bezel well enough, I still couldn't help but worry it would fall off. I hope the final product's latch is made of a harder plastic instead of the current soft silicone material — even if it's just for the sake of giving me peace of mind.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook: Desk View

I have no idea what kind of processing wizardry makes Desk View possible. What I do know is that it's pretty mind-blowing.

I had to dedicate a section just to the Desk View feature. Why? Because it's the most impressive feature of the updated Continuity Camera.

Desk View uses the iPhone's ultrawide lens to display a live view of what's on your desk. Perhaps I shouldn't admit this as a tech reporter, but I have no idea what kind of processing wizardry makes this possible. What I do know is that it's pretty mind-blowing. I showed the feature to colleagues at the office and everyone who saw it was stunned. It's really that incredible.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook

Desk View uses the iPhone's ultrawide camera to create a video of whatever is in front of your MacBook. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

With that said, I noticed that whatever was on-screen appeared somewhat distorted. For example, the notebook I focused on appeared longer in Desk View than it does in real life. My fingers also became elongated when I had them on camera. I'm not sure if this will be (or can be) fixed when macOS Ventura and iOS 16 are officially released. However, as things stand, Desk View is pretty remarkable.

Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook: Outlook 

I found the Belkin iPhone mount for MacBook a handy tool that pairs nicely with the updated Continuity Camera. Though I’ve not tested the finished product, I think the prototype gives a good indication of what to expect. If you own a MacBook and do a lot of video calls, this accessory seems like a no-brainer — assuming the price is affordable. 

As for the new Continuity Camera features, I think they're great and will make video conferencing better on MacBooks. Using an iPhone as a webcam is a winning idea, especially for folks using MacBooks with 720p webcams. And I look forward to showing Desk View to my friends and having them marvel at the feature the way my peers at the office did.

If you're interested, you can get the iPhone Mount with MagSafe from Belkin for $29.95 from the Apple store. You'll still need for macOS Ventura to drop before you can use the Continuity Camera feature, but we expect that operating system update to arrive either at the end of October or the beginning of November. If the finished product is as functional as the prototype, I’m sure it’ll be a hit among MacBook users.

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.