Smart home gadget maker Wyze has released a firmware update and set of instructions for turning its low-cost security camera into a working webcam at a time when proper webcams from brands like Logitech are increasingly hard to find.
The update, which was released roughly an hour ago on Wyze’s support website, involves manually installing firmware onto your Wyze camera that will temporarily turn it into a webcam, after which it will no longer connect to the Wyze app and function normally. However, Wyze says you can reverse the process to restore security camera access to the device and have it function normally again.
The instructions say you’ll need a Wyze Cam v2, a microSD card, and a USB-A to USB-A cable for transferring the free firmware update from your computer to the camera. According to Wyze, all you need to do is drop the firmware onto the root directory of the memory card, plug the memory card into an unplugged Wyze Cam v2, and then hold the setup button while restarting to flash the firmware onto the camera and reboot it as a webcam.
From there, you should be able to plug the device into your Mac or Windows machine (being careful to use the USB-A port of the device and not the microUSB power port) and manually select it as a third-party HD output video source for applications like BlueJeans, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom, among other providers.
It’s not an elegant solution, and I’m having trouble actually getting it to work on my own Wyze Cam here at home. That may have something to do with only having access to a formatted microSD I use for external storage on my Nintendo Switch. (One solution there might be copying the files off, formatting the card, installing the firmware, and formatting again for the Switch before transferring the files back.)
Regardless, for those in need of a webcam who are having trouble finding one right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has office workers worldwide working from home, this could be a solution if you have the necessary gadgets lying around the house.