MacBook camera not working? Try these 11 fixes

MacBook camera not working. How to fix it

If your camera is not working on MacBook or is unavailable, it hinders your ability to FaceTime, connect with colleagues over video calls, and beyond. Thankfully, if it is not a hardware issue, you can most likely fix it on your own.

Let me show you 11 easy fixes and get your MacBook built-in camera working again.

  1. Force quit conflicting apps
  2. Restart your Mac
  3. Ensure the app has permission to access Mac’s camera
  4. Try using another app that needs the camera
  5. Make sure Mac’s camera is not restricted via Screen Time
  6. Update or reinstall the app
  7. Update your Mac
  8. Check Mac’s System Report
  9. Run Apple Diagnostics
  10. Reset the SMC
  11. Camera light flashes? Contact Apple Support

1. Force quit conflicting apps

If you are facing issues with the MacBook camera on apps like FaceTime, Skype, Photo Booth, Zoom, etc., force quit these apps.

Note: This will close the apps without saving any pending work. So, save your work before force quitting apps.

  1. Press Command + Option + esc or click the Apple logoForce Quit.
  2. Press and hold the command key and select all open apps that you believe use the camera.
  3. Click Force Quit.

    Force Quit conflicting apps on Mac

After 15 seconds, open the Photo Booth app via Launchpad, Spotlight, or Applications folder. See if the camera works now.

Photo Booth App icon on Mac
Photo Booth app icon. Source: Apple

2. Restart your Mac

Click the Apple logo at the top right → choose Restart. Now, try using your Mac’s camera. It should work.

Tip: If a simple restart does not fix the problem, try to start your Mac in Safe Mode and see if the camera works.

Additionally, you may also open Terminal and run this command to kill camera assistants.

  1. Copy and paste the following command in Terminal – sudo killall VDCAssistant;sudo killall AppleCameraAssistant
  2. Press the enter key.
  3. Next, type your Mac’s password.

3. Ensure the app has permission to access Mac’s camera

With macOS Mojave or later, you can decide which apps use your Mac’s camera. If you had earlier denied an app the permission to access the webcam, here is how to check that and allow it.

  1. Click the Apple logo from the top left and choose System Preferences.
  2. Click Security & Privacy → Click Camera at the left sidebar.
    Ensure the app you are trying to use has permission to access the camera. That is, it has a blue tick.
  3. If not, click the padlock icon, enter your Mac’s password, and permit the app to use the camera.

    Make sure app has permission to access  Mac's camera

4. Try using another app that needs the camera

Sometimes, the problem may be in the specific app instead of your Mac’s camera. To check this, open a different app that uses the camera. For example, open Photo Booth or FaceTime and see if everything works.

5. Make sure Mac’s camera is not restricted via Screen Time

On macOS Catalina and later, you can restrict your Mac’s camera via Screen Time. Follow the steps below to ensure this isn’t the case.

  1. Click the Apple logoSystem PreferencesScreen Time.
  2. From the left sidebar, click Content & PrivacyApps.
  3. Here, ensure the camera is allowed, and the apps that need camera access have time left.

    Make sure Mac's camera is not restricted via Screen Time

6. Update or reinstall the app

If you constantly face problems with an app and Mac’s camera, consider updating it for better compatibility. You can update apps by opening the App Store and going to the Updates section.

If the app is downloaded from elsewhere, learn how to update it.

Update Mac App via App Store

Additionally, if updating does not solve the problem, try uninstalling and reinstalling the app. You can learn various ways to uninstall Mac apps here.

7. Update your Mac

With every update, Apple looks to improve your Mac’s performance. If you are facing trouble using the camera, consider updating to the latest version of macOS.

To do this, open System PreferencesSoftware Updates.

8. Check Mac’s System Report

  1. Click the Apple logoAbout This MacSystem Report.
  2. From the left side, click Camera.
  3. You should see the camera details on the right side.

    Check Mac's System Report for Camera

Note: If you do not see anything, that means your Mac’s camera is broken or unavailable. Follow the rest of the solutions below or contact Apple Support to fix the camera issue.

9. Run Apple Diagnostics

Another handy solution to identify the problem is by running Apple Diagnostics. Once you do that, you will see the error codes (if any). If the error codes begin with N, that means you have a problem with the camera.

Contact Apple Support and mention the error code to them. You can see the completed list of error codes and what they mean here.

10. Reset the SMC

If you are using an Intel-based Mac, resetting the SMC helps fix the problems with the built-in camera. The process is easy. You can learn how to reset the SMC here.

11. Camera light flashes? Contact Apple Support

Is the tiny green light next to your MacBook’s camera flashing even after trying the above solutions? Get in touch with Apple Support.

This is how you can fix your Mac’s camera problems. I hope the above guide was helpful, and now you have no difficulty in video calling, etc. If you have further questions, I am just a comment away.

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