Turn your iPhone into a document camera for Zoom and similar apps with Overviewer

Whether you’re a teacher working virtually during these times of social distancing or are just the type of person who prefers to use Zoom and similar videoconferencing apps for staying in touch with friends during the COVID-19 pandemic, an app called Overviewer is what you need.

Overviewer, which was highlighted today on AppAdvice, turns your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad into a document camera for Zoom and similar apps. For those wondering, a document camera (or a document scanner, as it’s also called) is a web camera mounted on a frame and pointed straight down on a desk. Such a setup basically creates a bird’s eye video view for a teacher or presenter who might want to physically show something on their desk.

How to use the Notes documents scanner on your iPhone

It works on all iPhone and all iPad models, can be downloaded for free on the App Store, works with AirPlay and simplifies the otherwise cumbersome process of sharing your iPhone’s screen on a video call on Zoom and similar videoconferencing apps. The app’s creator Charlie Chapman has made a little video tutorial to show how it works, which I’ve embedded below.

“This video is specifically for use with Zoom, but the same principle should apply to any video conferencing app that lets you share an iPhone screen,” he wrote.

According to Chapman:

My wife is a Kindergarten teacher and when COVID hit she had to figure out how to teach a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds how to draw letters over Zoom. Initially she made her own document camera using her iPhone and the default camera app. Zoom has a wonderful feature where you can share your iPhone’s screen by plugging into your laptop with a lightning cable or even wirelessly over AirPlay but when you open the camera app there are two issues.

1. There’s a bunch of buttons and chrome around camera view so it looks clunky

2. The camera app doesn’t actually rotate when you turn it sideways (just some of the labels) so you can only share your phone in portrait mode which means huge black bars on each side of the zoom call and a tiny video stream of what you want to share.

Grab Overviewer for free in the App Store.