Apple’s iPhone Continuity Camera on Mac Notebooks with a Belkin Magsafe Mount Review

Despite its poor reputation, Belkin’s iPhone Mount with MagSafe for Mac Notebooks is a useful product. It allows you to attach your iPhone to your laptop and leverage the Continuity Camera feature of macOS Ventura and iOS 16. This transforms your iPhone into a webcam that easily outperforms the one that comes standard on modern MacBooks.

And if it only did that, I’d still be satisfied; but, its layout and features are what make it worth thinking about, despite the plethora of similar accessories already on the market. The mount can convert your phone into a webcam with the flip of a switch; simply magnetically attach it to your phone, flip out the Belkin-branded foot, and set the whole thing on your computer’s desk.

Any video chat app will allow you to select your iPhone as the camera device. The mount is circular, so you can attach your phone in either portrait or landscape orientation, and the mechanism is basic yet effective. But its adaptable form means it lacks the extra stabilizing magnet at the base of some other MagSafe attachments.

That probably won’t be a problem in terms of durability; I’ve tested Belkin’s mount with and without a cover on my iPhone 12 Mini with no issues, and none of my coworkers have reported any problems with the mount when using it with larger phones. However, you may need to spend an extra second adjusting the mount slightly to ensure that your footage isn’t skewed in any way.

The mount’s strong points include its sturdy construction and the included kickstand/grip ring (unfortunately, the kickstand is not in the ideal location for using the phone’s camera as a desktop tripod). All of it is quite solid and smooth, like a rock that has been polished by running water.

It’s covered in a grippy rubber that both looks and feels amazing and doesn’t get in the way. The low-profile dome fits almost perfectly into my palm when using it with my phone on, and I hardly ever know it’s there. To get the most out of your Continuity Camera, you should carry its mount at all times. Since I plan to keep the Belkin on my phone, I won’t be tempted to leave it behind while I go out.

However, I don’t see this mount and Continuity Camera as radically improving my ability to have casual FaceTime or Discord calls with friends and family for one simple reason: when my laptop is actually on my lap, putting a phone at the top of the lid makes it quite tippy, even with my small phone.

My laptop was prone to tipping over while I worked with my legs crossed, and my phone would fly across the room if I didn’t catch it in time. Even with my arm resting on the palm rest, the weight of the phone is enough to pull my 13-inch MacBook Pro’s screen back to its fully open position, which frequently results in a very ugly angle (and maybe an uncomfortable amount of force on my display).

To be clear, unless you’re using the ridiculously tiny 12-inch MacBook, this shouldn’t be an issue at your desk. A colleague who used the mount with an iPhone 13 and a MacBook Air reported no swaying, while another colleague who used it with a Pro Max and a 16-inch MacBook Pro reported the same.

Apple iPhone Magsafe
Apple iPhone Magsafe

But that means I’ll have to reserve this gadget for my less-common desk or counter video chats rather than my usual couch sessions. That’s not Belkin’s fault; it’s just the laws of physics, and I honestly don’t think my mom or sister are going to mind seeing me in fuzzy 720p (or at least, I haven’t gotten any complaints in the prior few years).

Despite this drawback, I believe that the $29.95 price tag for the Belkin mount is justified for anyone who wants to improve their video appearance, owns an iPhone, and intends to upgrade to macOS Ventura on Monday (and who doesn’t want the effort of setting up a dedicated camera/tripod/light).

If you work primarily at a desk with a display, though, you might want to hold off on the desktop version, which, according to Belkin, will allow you to tilt your phone to refocus the photo. Belkin’s press release says that the new version is “coming soon,” but it doesn’t specify whether or not it would provide power more stylishly than simply connecting a Lightning connection to your phone. A feature like that wouldn’t make much sense on the portable version, but it might be useful for people who spend their days in meetings.