How To Turn On The Camera On a Mac.
As you would expect from a high-end computer, almost all Apple Mac systems have a built-in camera. They allow you to make the high definition Zoom calls that you (and your bosses) expect from you. Whether it’s a video conference with colleagues or a chat with friends, it’s easy to turn on the camera on a Mac.
However, it’s not just about turning on the camera. When you learn how to turn on the camera on a Mac, you will need to know how to set it up for the apps you want to use, how to take photos, and how to restrict camera access so that spies don’t spy on you. To do all of this and more, follow the steps below.
How to test the camera on a Mac using Photo Booth
One of the easiest ways to turn on the camera on a Mac is to use one of macOS’s built-in applications called Photo Booth. This app is designed for selfies, allowing you to take pictures and apply basic filters. Please be aware that this is not a complete Mac photo editing application.
- To use it, launch the Photo Booth application from your Launchpad, accessible from the Dock at the bottom of the screen.
- This will immediately activate the built-in camera (or third-party USB camera) on your Mac. You should see yourself in real time in the main window. If you’d like to take a selfie, click the red â€œTake Photoâ€ button below.
- The saved photo will be visible in the carousel panel below. If you want to save the photo, right-click it and choose Export to save it.
- You can also use Photo Booth to take a video or take four quick shots in a row. To do this, click one of the camera options in the lower right corner. The first option (left) will quickly take four shots in a row, allowing you to choose the best option. The second option (center) will take a standard photo. The third option (on the right) records video.
- You can also apply effects to your photo or video by clicking the Effects button in the lower right corner. In the Effects window, you can apply various filters and distortion effects by clicking them and your camera will be updated to immediately display the effect.
The Photo Booth app is a great way to test the camera on your Mac, as well as assess lighting and overall quality. However, you will need to install a third-party app to access additional effects, filters, and settings.
Restrict access to the Mac Camera in System Preferences
Unfortunately, the Mac camera doesn’t have a significant amount of built-in settings. If you want to customize lighting, quality, and more, you need a third party app.
However, macOS allows you to restrict camera access. This is important as you don’t want a rogue app to be able to view or record your camera feed.
By default, you need to allow third parties to access your Mac camera in the System Preferences menu.
- To access System Preferences, click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the Mac Menu Bar window. Select the System Preferences option from the drop-down menu.
- From the System Preferences menu, select Security & Privacy.
- On the Privacy tab, under the Security & Privacy menu, select the Camera option. A list of third-party apps that have access to your camera will open. If you’re installing a new app to access or control your camera, you’ll need to approve it here.
- To share the camera, check the box next to the application name to enable it. To deny access, make sure the check box next to the application name is cleared.
These settings only apply to third-party applications that you install. Unfortunately, you can’t restrict access to built-in Mac apps like Photo Booth. While it is technically possible to completely disable the camera on a Mac, we do not recommend doing this, as it involves disabling other high-level protections used in macOS.
Using third-party apps with Mac Camera
To get the most out of your Mac’s camera, you’ll need a third-party app. They have many advanced features like lighting controls, filters, and scaling.
Some apps, like Hand Mirror, provide one-click access to the camera, but don’t offer any additional features. Other apps, such as Webcam Settings, are powerful editing tools in their own right, with features that let you edit the camera feed before taking photos or recordings, or before any video calls you make.
Unfortunately, some of the editing used in apps like Webcam Settings is limited to other third party apps. You can use apps like this to change video saturation settings, but because Mac classifies these apps as virtual cameras, the effects cannot be used in Photo Booth or FaceTime, or in some third-party apps such as Skype.
You will need to enable access to such third-party applications under System Preferences Security & Privacy Privacy Camera. For security reasons, it’s best to only install apps that you trust, such as those available in the App Store.
These apps will be reviewed by Apple prior to approval. This will reduce the risk of installing an unsafe application. If you download and install online software that is not from the App Store, you need to make sure you really trust the source before allowing it to access your Mac camera feed.
Use the Camera Effectively on Mac
Now that you know how to turn on the camera on Mac, you can use it to stay in touch with loved ones, take impressive selfies with Photo Booth, or even sign PDFs on Mac with the Preview app. Thanks to the Apple Photos library, you can save all your photos from your camera in one place, while syncing them to iCloud storage at the same time.
But where the Mac camera really shines is in video calling. You can chat and record FaceTime video calls, or use the camera with third-party services such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams Don’t be afraid to disable access to your camera when you’re not using it, especially if you’re worried about network security