Switch Between Desktop, Camera, and iPhone on Facebook Live

So many people are going live on Facebook these days, but I’m constantly being asked “How can I do picture in picture?” “How can I switch between slides on my desktop and my webcam?” “How can I show my phone screen besides holding it up to the camera?” I have the solution - and all you need is a free Zoom account!

So many people are going live on Facebook these days, but I’m constantly being asked “How can I do picture in picture?” “How can I switch between slides on my desktop and my webcam?” “How can I show my phone screen besides holding it up to the camera?” I have the solution - and all you need is a free Zoom account!
Frustrated by the limited functionality of Facebook Live? Here’s how you can switch between your webcam, desktop, and iOS devices without paying for expensive software!

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Before we get in to everything, I want to emphasize that this post is NOT about the FB Live functionality built-in to Zoom Webinars. This is a free solution that you can use if you don’t want to pay $30/month for Zoom and you’re OK with a slight delay and reduced video quality during your broadcast.

What you can’t do

  • Using this method, you can’t have your face AND your desktop AND your device onscreen at the same time - you have to choose desktop or device

  • You can’t share your Android device - this only works with iO

Where this will work

  • Personal timeline

  • Pages

  • Groups

What you need

Tips

To make this experience as smooth as possible, I’d recommend the following (though they are not necessary):

  • Turn off any non-essential programs/apps running on your computer and any devices or services running on your wifi network to free up as much bandwidth as possible.

  • Use two monitors so that it’s easy to visually/mentally separate what you’re sharing from where you need to be watching for comments.

    • If this is not possible, watch for comments from a separate device (just make sure to turn off the volume on the device!)

    • If that’s not possible either, just be aware that you may experience the ‘infinite browser’ effect when you are switching between screens

  • You can connect your iOS device to Zoom via Airplay or via cable - I’d recommend using the cable to reduce the strain on your bandwidth.

  • If you want to show your desktop and devices without ever showing your face, that’s possible - just keep the Zoom camera turned off (but try to at least have a nice user photo set up in your Zoom account)

Before You Go Live

  1. Make sure the chrome extension is installed/enabled

  2. Close any non-essential programs, tabs, windows, and files to avoid confusion when switching

  3. On monitor 1 (or in a separate browser window) open up your Facebook Live post

  4. On monitor 2 (or in a separate browser window) open up Zoom and start a meeting from your personal Zoom room. DO NOT turn on the sound in Zoom (as the microphone source needs to be the one set in your Facebook Live post)

  5. On your Facebook Live post click ‘Share Screen’

  6. Select ‘Application Window’ and click on the thumbnail for the Zoom window**

  7. Click ‘Share’. If you go look at your Facebook Live post, the preview should now show the Zoom window

  8. Decide what you want to show when you first go live:

    • If you want to show your face, on Zoom click ‘Start Video’ (but remember, don’t turn on the sound in Zoom)

    • If you want to show your desktop, on Zoom click ‘Share’, select the window, application, or file that you want to show, then click ‘Share’

    • If you want to show your device, on Zoom click ‘Share’, select ‘iPhone/iPad via Cable’, then click ‘Share’

    • If you want to show your desktop or device AND your face (i.e. split screen or picture-in-picture, make sure you click ‘Start Video’ and ‘Share’ and arrange your face how/where you want it on the screen

  9. Once you’re ready, click ‘Go Live’ on your Facebook Live post. All of the switching you do will be done live while you broadcast.

**Selecting the Zoom window as your screenshare source prevents the infinite window issue. You can select the entire desktop for monitor 2 (or your only monitor) and things will still work, it will just be much more confusing to manage what’s being shared.

Switching Between Desktop, Webcam, and iOS Devices

It’s important to wrap your head around the following - whatever you are showing in Zoom is what is being broadcast on Facebook Live. That means Zoom is where all of your switching is going to take place - you can’t switch in Facebook Live.

Switching from your face to your desktop

  1. On Zoom click ‘Share’

  2. Select the window, application, or file that you want to show

  3. Click ‘Share’ again

Switching from your desktop to your face

  1. On Zoom click the red ‘Stop Share’ button

  2. Click ‘Start Video’ if your camera is not already turned on

Switching from your face to your device

  1. On Zoom click ‘Share’

  2. Select ‘iPhone/iPad via Cable (or Airplay)’

  3. Click ‘Share’ again

Switching from your device to your face

  1. On Zoom click the red ‘Stop Share’ button

  2. Click ‘Start Video’ if your camera is not already turned on

Switching from your desktop to your device

Note: you don’t have to stop sharing in order to switch

  1. On Zoom click ‘Share’

  2. Select ‘iPhone/iPad via Cable (or Airplay)’

  3. Click ‘Share’ again

Switching from your device to your desktop

Note: you don’t have to stop sharing in order to switch

  1. On Zoom click ‘Share’

  2. Select the window, application, or file that you want to show

  3. Click ‘Share’ again

Got any questions or think you have a better solution? I’d love to hear it in the comments

Can’t afford the Zoom add-on for Facebook Live? Here’s how you can use a free Zoom account to do webinars and tutorials where you can switch between your webcam, desktop, and iOS devices.

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