MacBook’s webcams are the worst. Here’s how to look better when talking to zoom


Libe Ackerman

If you have a MacBook except the MacBook Pro M1 2021one thing is for sure: your webcam is very bad. Sure, it’s a working camera at 720p – but it’s noisy, looks flat, and lacks depth-sensing technology. Although Apple can get dressed its rumored to be a 2022 MacBook Pro Thanks to the Full HD webcam, this laptop we expect to see later this year will not solve your pixelated look at Zoom meetings right now.

The 720p webcam is the same entry-level camera type that the company has been putting in laptops for years, and this is not the first time we have complained about it. Many Windows laptops are not much better, many have similar resolutions below 1080p, but at least some have better photosensitivity, color accuracy, or depth detection for facial recognition login.

So what are we going to do about it?

There is at least a reasonable chance that you are broadcasting to a video meeting online with Macbook Air or something similar. It means you don’t look your best. Especially on a smaller, low-slung laptop like the Air, the camera won’t be at the optimal angle if it’s lying on your desk or kitchen table, pointing at you.

One option is to use your phone’s camera. A front or rear camera will be better than any laptop you have. For TV appearances from my home office, I used a phone mounted on a tripod clip at eye level. I also used EpocCam software by Elgatowhich works on my phone and allows me to use the phone as a 1080p wireless camera for my MacBook. The Pro version costs a few dollars and won’t work in all scenarios, but it’s worth it if you’re using a compatible app like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

You can too connect an external Logitech or third-party webcam. But if you’d rather not go to the hassle, here’s how to get the most out of your webcam.

Pick up the laptop

If your laptop is close to a good ergonomic position for your hands then this is not the best place to meet Zoom. Get some big books. Get giant boxes of board games. Support that sucker. Use large books for the coffee table or something similar so as not to wobble so much. Do not use empty cardboard boxes.

Where should the camera be aimed? Place it just above eye level.


Not a great shot from the MacBook Air 2020 webcam. Pay attention to the soft picture quality and the laptop should be propped up higher.

Dan Ackerman / topwatchbest

Good lighting heals (most) diseases

The footage from the MacBook Air webcam looks especially bad in low light conditions. Lots of other laptop webcams are like that too. This is why film and TV sets as well as professional photography are flooded with gigantic lights. You don’t need all of this, but a good source of natural sunlight is an easy and affordable way to dramatically improve your webcam shot. Stand facing the window, do not turn your back on it. You want the camera to see light from the window, not the window itself.

If natural light isn’t available, don’t spend tons on fancy lighting. This a set from UBeesize is under $ 35 and includes an 8 inch ring light, a mounting stand and a phone clip. Lots of people at topwatchbest use this setup or something similar to work remotely.

Meet Mac computers with a better webcam

Both the MacBook Air and most MacBook Pro computers have a 720p webcam. But 2021 MacBook Pro 14 and Professional 16 have excellent 1080p cameras, along with 2021 24-inch iMac M1. Previously, this could only be found in the withdrawn ones iMac Pro worth $ 5,000 and above and 27-inch iMac.

My friend Brian Cooley has many more general webcam setup tipsincluding some good suggestions for headset microphones – although a phone headset or AirPods headphones should be enough for anything other than the CNN live hit.

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