Here are six ways to fix your Mac camera if it’s not working as expected.
Nearly every Mac on the market comes with a built-in camera, allowing you to take quick snapshots, make video calls via FaceTime or Zoom, or show your whimsical side with filters and effects in the Photo Booth app. You just need to turn on your Mac camera and get started – no additional programs or settings are required.
A broken camera on your Mac means losing your window to the outside world. Instead of losing the ability to make video calls or take selfies, you can fix your Mac camera using a few little-known tricks and tips. If your Mac camera is not working, here are some solutions you can try.
Check the Camera Lens
The obvious answer is sometimes the best. Sticking a sticker to your Mac camera might be a smart move if you prefer to avoid spies, but a locked camera is a useless camera and it might be the reason your Mac camera isn’t working, showing a black channel instead.
Before trying to fix any other solution, make sure nothing is interfering with your camera lens. If stickers or other objects bother you, you will not receive a notification – the camera image will just be black.
If something is interfering with your camera, be sure to remove it before attempting to use the camera. However, if the camera image remains black and nothing gets in the way, you need to try one of the following fixes.
Use Another App
Mac users don’t need another webcam application as the built-in Photo Booth app should be able to take pictures and record videos. However, if this app (or another app like Facetime) doesn’t work, check if the issue is with your camera by trying another app.
It could be another Apple app (like Facetime over Photo Booth) or a third party app. Apps like Hand Mirror provide quick access to the camera feed from the menu bar, while other apps like Skype use the camera and microphone feed for video calls, provided your microphone is properly configured.
Try different camera apps to determine if your camera has problems with a particular app or indicates a broader software or hardware problem. Using a different app can also help prioritize which app has access to your camera since only one app should be able to access your Mac’s camera feed at a time.
Confirm App Permissions in System Preferences
Newer versions of macOS will automatically restrict access to your camera. This prevents spyware, poorly designed apps, and fraudulent websites from accessing your camera without your explicit permission.
While apps like Photo Booth and Facetime are usually given access to the camera automatically, third-party apps like Skype or Zoom are not. You can check your camera’s permissions in the System Preferences app.
- To open System Preferences, select the Apple menu icon in the upper left corner. From the menu, select the System Preferences option.
- In the System Preferences window, select the Security & Privacy option.
- In the Privacy tab, under the Security & Privacy menu, select the Camera option on the left. On the right, there will be a list of applications with possible access to the camera. Apps that have permission to use your camera will have a checkbox next to their names, so be sure to check the box next to any camera apps you want to use here. You may need to select the padlock icon at the bottom of the menu to authenticate first.
Once you’ve enabled permissions for the third-party camera app in the system settings menu, close and reopen the app to make sure the camera has been successfully granted.
Check Parental Controls in Screen Time
Screen Time is a set of parental controls in macOS that lets you restrict the features, apps, and services that its users can use. This is ideal for parents who might want to restrict camera access but works both ways. If you’ve locked your camera and forgot about it, you won’t be able to use your camera either.
- To check if the camera is blocked by screen time, you need to open System Preferences. From the Apple menu in the menu bar, choose System Preferences.
- In System Preferences, select the Screen Time option.
- Choose Content & Privacy from the left menu from the Screen Time menu. In the Applications tab, make sure the checkbox next to the Camera option is checked. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use the camera at all (even with system apps).
After you regain access to your camera in Screen Time, you may need to close and reopen the camera app for it to work properly.
Restart Essential Camera System Processes
Mac’s internal camera is controlled by system processes that run in the background of macOS. Sometimes, restarting these processes can resolve software conflicts or issues that are causing the Mac camera to stop working.
- To do this, you need to open the Terminal application from the launcher. In a terminal window, enter sudo killall VDCAssistant. If you are using an older version of macOS, you may also need to type sudo killall AppleCameraAssistant. If you are asked for the system password, enter it to ensure that the commands run successfully.
After stopping these processes, you can manually restart them by opening one of the built-in Mac camera applications such as Photo Booth.
Check Your Camera Is Detected Properly
Since most of the potential software fixes have been exhausted, you may need to check if your internal camera itself is working. If your Mac can’t detect it, it could indicate a hardware problem and you might need repair.
- To check if your Mac internal camera is detected, select the Apple Menu icon in the upper left corner. From the menu, choose the About This Mac option.
- On the Overview tab, click the System Report button.
- From the System Information menu, select the Camera from the Hardware tab. On the right, you should see your internal camera information listed, including the camera type and model ID.
If the information is not listed, then your camera was not found and you need to contact Apple for repair.
Troubleshooting Mac Camera Issues Further
The steps above should help your Mac camera get it working properly again. Most of the time Macbook camera issues are permissions related, as major web browsers block camera access by default. If you have enabled these permissions in the System Preferences menu, you will need to continue troubleshooting.
If nothing works, it could indicate a more serious software problem or even a hardware failure, so try resetting PRAM and SMC first.Â that doesn’t work, try resetting your Mac to factory reset and remove any conflicting apps or services, but remember to try using a USB webcam first to see if your hardware is faulty.
Here are six ways to fix your Mac camera if it’s not working as expected
Here are six ways to fix your Mac camera if it’s not working
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Here are six ways to fix your Mac camera if it’s not working as expected