Continuity Camera is a great feature available in the latest versions of MacOS that allow a Mac to instantly use an iPhone or iPad for scanning documents or taking photos using that iOS devices camera. This allows you to use the high resolution camera of an iPhone or iPad directly from the Mac as a seamless part of your workflow, snapping the image right from an application or the Finder itself with an immediate import, without needing to use AirDrop or any other file transfer method to share the image from the iOS device to the Mac.

Continuity Camera system requirements: both the Mac and iOS device must be on the same wi-fi network and have Bluetooth enabled, both devices must be logged into the same Apple ID and iCloud account, and system software must be MacOS Mojave 10.14 or later on the Mac and iOS 12 or later on the iPhone or iPad. Aside from that, it’s just a matter of knowing where to access the feature and how to use Continuity Camera to get it working.

How to Use Continuity Camera on Mac with iPhone or iPad

Continuity Camera works in the Finder of the Mac, as well as new versions of Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Notes, Mail, Messages, and TextEdit. Using Continuity Camera is slightly different depending on how you access it on the Mac, but we’ll show you how it works in Mac apps as well as the Finder.

Using Continuity Camera in Mac Apps

Want to immediately snap a picture and import that photo into a Mac app? Maybe you want to scan a document quickly to insert that into the currently active file? You can do either with Continuity Camera, here’s how it works:

  1. Open a compatible app like TextEdit or Pages, then right-click (or Control+Click) within the open document
  2. Choose “Insert from iPhone or iPad” and then select ‘Take Photo’ or ‘Scan Documents’ from the pop-up menu, selecting the iOS device you want to use as the camera
  3. How to use Continuity Camera from Mac app

  4. Now picking up the iPhone or iPad, use the camera as usual and snap a photo or point it at a document
  5. Take a photo with iPhone in Continuity Camera on Mac

  6. Wait a moment and the photo or scan will appear instantly from the iPhone or iPad within the document on the Mac
  7. Continuity Camera photo taken from iPhone appearing on Mac

Taking a photo uses the iPhone or iPad camera in regular photo mode, whereas scan document uses the iOS devices camera with software processing to serve as a quick point-and-shoot scanner.

Using Continuity Camera from Mac Finder

Want to snap a photo or scan a document quickly using an iPhone or iPad and have the file appear instantly on the Mac? Continuity Camera makes that easy:

  1. From the Mac Desktop or within a folder, right-click (or Control+Click) anywhere and choose “Import from iPhone or iPad” and then select ‘Take Photo’ or “Scan Document” from the pop-up menu options
  2. How to use Continuity Camera on Mac from Finder

  3. Now pick up the iPhone or iPad and use the devices camera and scan the document
  4. Use iPhone or iPad to capture picture with Continuity Camera on Mac

  5. The photo or document scan will appear within the Finder folder or Desktop in a moment

The screenshot examples here show Continuity Camera using an iPhone camera to snap a photo that appears instantly on the Mac, but the Scan Document feature works exactly the same, except it’s using the scan feature of iOS to process the image for optimal replication of a scanner. And though we’re using an iPhone here, you can use an iPad just the same way.

Continuity Camera Not Working in MacOS? Troubleshooting Tips

If you are experiencing problems with Continuity Camera not working, it’s usually fairly simple to troubleshoot. First, remember that Continuity Camera has a variety of system requirements that must be met before the feature works:

  • The iPhone or iPad must be running iOS 12 or later
  • The Mac must be running macOS 10.14 Mojave or later
  • Both the Mac and iOS device must have Bluetooth enabled, and wi-fi turned on, while connected to the same network
  • Both the Mac and iOS device must be logged into iCloud with the same Apple ID
  • The devices must be in somewhat close proximity to one another

If all of those requirements are met and Continuity Camera is still not working, sometimes doing the following can resolve issues:

  • Turn Bluetooth off and on again in iOS and on the Mac
  • Turn wi-fi off and back on again in iOS and the Mac
  • Restart the Mac
  • Restart the iPhone or iPad
  • Be sure the iPhone or iPad camera is not currently in use by another app

Usually those simple steps will resolve most issues with Continuity Camera when it’s not working, particularly if you get an error message on the Mac stating ‘Could not import from iPhone / iPad – The device timed out.”

Continuity Camera could not import from iPhone or iPad device timed out error

Continuity Camera is just one of a variety of Continuity features available on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, a set of features designed to make the Apple device ecosystem work in harmony with one another and allow for seamless transitioning of working from one device to another. Some of the other most helpful Continuity tricks include using Universal Clipboard to copy and paste between Mac, iPhone, and iPad , using HandOff to pass app sessions from iOS to Mac and vice versa, and making iPhone calls from the Mac.