Document cameras are handy for all types of presentations. The recent trend of working from home, online meetings, and remote learning has limited our access to such luxuries while simultaneously increasing our need for them. Thankfully there are ways to use mobile devices, like an iPad, as a document camera while using Teams. Let’s see how we can do that.
You can use your iPad as a document camera on Teams by installing the Teams app on the iPad and joining the meeting from both the iPad and another device simultaneously. There are also third-party apps like EpocCam and Astropad that make this easier, especially combined with Teams’ Whiteboard app.
Using your iPad as a document camera on Teams is entirely possible. There are various ways to do it, and the method you choose will depend on your specific requirements. Some methods are simpler than others, and some cost money while others are free. Let’s look at each option, its pros and cons, and how to set it all up; then, you can make an informed decision.
The Easiest Option: Teams On An iPad
Sometimes the simplest solution is best, and this is no exception. It’s easy to do and requires no third-party software or additional devices. All you need is an iPad, Teams, and some kind of tablet holder. Here are the steps for the easiest way to use your iPad as a document camera on Tams:
- Install the Teams app on your iPad from the App Store.
- Log in using your Teams credentials.
- Mount your iPad on the desk using a tablet stand. Some are easily adjustable with long arms that can be twisted and turned in any direction. The ideal is to get one of those stands since they are easy to find and not overly expensive.
- Ensure that you can easily change your iPad’s perspective on the stand. You should be able to move it so that the camera and screen face you, then quickly change it to face the desk, where you will have the document or object you want to demonstrate or annotate.
- Connect to your Teams meeting.
- Enable the microphone and camera, and ensure that your microphone isn’t muted.
- When it’s time to start presenting, simply turn the iPad so that the camera and screen are facing the document or object that you want to show to the meeting.
This method is straightforward yet effective. It requires very little technical know-how or expertise. Once you have the right tablet stand for your iPad, this will become a natural go-to for all your online meetings or remote learning sessions.
There are three major disadvantages to this method:
- People in the meeting won’t see you during the demonstration since the camera won’t be pointing at you. This is not necessarily a dealbreaker since the attendees’ focus should be on what you’re demonstrating rather than your face, but some people might not like this fact.
- More importantly, though, you won’t be able to see what’s going on in the meeting since the screen won’t be facing you either. If someone raises their hand or asks a question in the meeting chat, you will only know about it once you turn the screen and camera back to you. You might miss some vital information or questions this way.
- You won’t be able to use features and apps like the Whiteboard while you’re demonstrating on the document camera. Again, this isn’t usually a significant problem, but it could be an inconvenience once you’ve seen what some of the other options enable you to do.
This is the lowest-cost way to use your iPad as a document camera on Teams, and it’s the simplest as well. But it is limited in terms of capabilities, limiting your freedom in the online meeting. Those limitations are lifted somewhat with our next option, which involves simultaneously accessing your Teams meeting from two devices.
If you’re wondering how to record a Team’s meeting with Audio, not just the video part, I have you covered with the article titled “How To Record Teams Meeting From The iPad With Audio“. It’s a companion article to this one where I offer a few options to accomplish the goal.
Connecting To Teams On Two Devices
Our second method is a lightweight and streamlined option. It involves installing Teams on both your iPad and a second device, like a laptop, and connecting to the meeting from both devices simultaneously. If you already have two devices available, this should cost you just as much as the first option since you need an adjustable stand for your iPad.
This option is lightweight because it requires no additional setup or third-party software. But it requires more than one device running Teams, which is not always possible for everyone. However, if this is possible for you to do, it could be a straightforward solution to your problem.
To make this method work effectively, simply follow these steps:
- Setup your primary device. This is the device you will be using to communicate with your attendees and see what’s happening in the meeting. Usually, a laptop or desktop PC is ideal to be used as your primary device. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Windows or Mac device; as long as it can run Teams, you’re good to go. So install Teams and log in using your credentials.
- Set up your iPad as a secondary device. This simply means you have to install Teams on your iPad from the App Store. Login to Teams on the iPad using the same credentials you used on your primary device.
- Mount your iPad on your desk with the tablet stand. Ensure that it’s adjusted with the camera/screen side facing the document or object you want to demonstrate or annotate.
- Join your Teams meeting on the primary device (laptop or desktop PC).
- Ensure that both the microphone and camera are enabled on the primary device and that your microphone isn’t muted. This is the device that you will use to communicate with the meeting attendees.
- Now join the Teams meeting from your iPad as well.
- Mute your microphone on the iPad, and turn the speaker volume down to the lowest possible setting, to avoid audio problems.
- Ensure that your camera is enabled on the iPad since it’s pointless to use it as a document camera without activating the camera.
- When Teams asks if you want to transfer the meeting to your iPad or join with both simultaneously, choose the option to join with both; otherwise, Teams will disconnect you from your primary device and only connect to the iPad, which is defying the purpose of this exercise.
This method’s advantage over the first is that you can see the meeting attendees and interact with them. You can keep an eye on the meeting chat, and you will notice if someone raises a hand. The attendees will also see you, not just the document or object you’re demonstrating, which helps with the “personal” side of online meetings or remote learning.
The most crucial disadvantage of this method is that it uses double the bandwidth. A Teams meeting can be quite a data-hungry thing and already has quite an impact on your internet speed. Having the same meeting running on two devices at the same time, using the same internet connection, and both broadcasting simultaneously could potentially slow your internet connection down to a crawl.
That’s where the next option comes in. It has all the advantages of this method but without the detrimental effects on your internet connection.
EpocCam – Turning Your iPad Into A Dedicated Camera
EpocCam is dedicated software that turns your iPhone or iPad into a webcam. It comes in the form of an app for your iPad combined with driver software for a second device running either macOS or Windows. EpocCam turns your iPad into a webcam of sorts that connects with your laptop or desktop computer to use with Teams or other software that requires a camera.
EpocCam, developed by Elgato, has a free version with limited capabilities and a paid version that costs around $8. It’s worth paying the money for the premium version since it will give you better quality video than the free version, which is limited to standard definition.
You can also connect to your laptop or desktop device using either a USB cable or WiFi. When connecting over WiFi, you have to ensure that both your iPad and your other device are on the same WiFi network, and you can sometimes expect a slight delay, whereas connecting through USB is fast and instant; but both options work really well.
To use EpocCam to turn your iPad into a document camera on Teams, just follow these simple steps:
- Download the EpocCam app on your iPad. It is on App Store for all iPads running iPadOS 13 and later. (Unfortunately, older iPads are not supported.) You can either pay for the full version or use the free app; they both work well, though the premium version has significant benefits over the free version.
- Download and install the EpocCam driver software for the operating system that you will be using (macOS and Windows are supported). You can download the driver software from the EpocCam website and install it like any other software.
- Once the driver software and app are both installed, you can now connect your iPad to your computer as a camera. If you want to use USB, connect the cable between your iPad and the computer that you will be running Teams on. For WiFi, ensure that both devices are on the same WiFi network.
- Launch the EpocCam app on the iPad.
- Now open Teams on your computer. It should list EpocCam as a camera option along with any other cameras you have connected, if any. Select EpocCam from the list.
- Now attach your iPad to a desk stand and position it in the best way for your demonstration.
- Now you can start or join the meeting.
- During the meeting, you can switch between your front-facing webcam to show your face and EpocCam to do your demonstration.
Using EpocCam is perhaps the most versatile way for you to connect your iPad as a document camera on Teams. Though it requires the installation of third-party software and maybe a purchase, the software is powerful, feature-packed, lightweight, and inexpensive. People who have used EpocCam often say that they don’t know how they managed without it before.
AstroPad – Turning iPad Into A Drawing Tablet
Get it from the App Store – FREE with iAP’s
This last option is not necessarily for turning your iPad into a document camera. Still, it is similar and related and could be a solution for some of the challenges we face when working from home. Especially useful for teachers, AstroPad has software that allows you to connect your iPad to another computer, like a laptop, and act as a touchscreen or drawing tablet.
If you find yourself in a situation where you want to annotate an electronic document or draw over a document that you don’t have a hard copy of while in a Teams meeting, AstroPad may be just what you’re looking for if your computer doesn’t have a touchscreen.
AstroPad is a lifesaver for teachers or instructors who are teaching online using Teams (or any other platform, for that matter). You simply install the software on your computer, load the app on the iPad, and connect your iPad to the computer using USB. AstroPad mirrors your computer display on your iPad and, when sharing your screen in Teams, you can draw using a stylus or even your finger.
To use AstroPad, simply follow these steps:
- Download the AstroPad app on your iPad. You can find it in the App Store. If you’re connecting your iPad to a Mac, download AstroPad Studio, or if you’re connecting it to a Windows machine, you can use the beta version of AstroPad’s Project Blue, which works very well even though it’s still in the Beta testing stage.
- Download and install the AstroPad Studio (for macOS) or Project Blue (for Windows) software on your desktop or laptop computer. You can download it free of charge from the AstroPad website.
- Now open AstroPad or Project Blue on both your iPad and the other computer.
- Connect your iPad to your main computer using a USB cable.
- You should see a notification showing that it’s connecting, and then your computer’s desktop should appear on the iPad. Whatever you have on your desktop will now be mirrored on your iPad, including any documents or apps that you open.
- Now launch Teams on your desktop or laptop computer and start or join your meeting.
- Everything on your computer should work precisely as it usually would. When you use Teams’ screen sharing feature, you can manipulate whatever you’re sharing through touch controls on your iPad.
AstroPad is especially useful when used with drawing or annotation apps, like the Microsoft Whiteboard app or the Whiteboard feature in Teams. Though it doesn’t turn your iPad into a camera, it adds a helpful element related to a document camera in many ways.
It’s really relatively easy to turn your iPad into a document camera on Teams. You don’t even need to install any special software for basic functionality. If you need more power, use other options like EpocCam or AstroPad, which can make life so much easier, and turn your next Teams meeting into a powerful demonstration of the incredible technological strides we’ve made over the last few years.
I did not come up with the answers to this topic on my own. I’m mostly a Slack and Zoom user so when this topic came up (someone searched for it on my site) I did some research. This is a list of websites that helped me come up with a solution. Credit where credit is due.