MacBook camera not working? 11 Ways to fix it!

MacBook camera not working

Whether participating in a virtual meeting, engaging in an online class, or simply streaming videos and sharing moments with friends via FaceTime, using a MacBook provides a level of convenience and ease that easily outshines the limited real estate of a mobile screen.

A malfunctioning camera hurts the digital experience and may even prevent you from doing your work. Below are several ways to fix a MacBook camera that’s not working.

Common reasons why MacBook camera is not working

Here are some of the common reasons why your Mac’s camera isn’t working properly:

  • Lack of internet connection
  • Software malfunction
  • Changes in camera settings
  • Corrupted app or settings
  • Incompatibility with software updates
  • Physical damage
  • Wear and tear

11 Easy ways to fix MacBook camera not working

Before we go to the troubleshooting tips, it’s essential to understand that Mac’s built-in FaceTime or FaceTime HD camera automatically turns on whenever you open an app that can use it. A green indicator light will glow beside the camera to indicate that your Mac is actively using your camera.

But each app also has its own dedicated settings that control the camera. Just open the app, go to the menu bar, select Preferences, then look for Video or Camera settings. Now that we have taken care of the basics, let’s go through some quick fixes for Mac camera not working.

1. Fix FaceTime camera not working on Mac

Since most users complaining about their Mac’s camera are facing issues with FaceTime more than any other app, let’s target this first. Here are different ways to make FaceTime work on your Mac. Quit and reopen FaceTime.

  • Restart your Mac.
  • Check Continuity if you’re using your iPhone’s camera.
  • Make sure you’re using the correct camera and mic.

Some of these will be discussed in greater detail in the sections below.

Similarly, if you’re having troubles with Zoom, here are different ways to make Zoom work on your Mac.

2. Restart, update, or reinstall the app

Whether it’s FaceTime or a different app, a simple restart or force quit can flush out glitches and bugs that prevent it from communicating properly with your Mac’s camera.

If you only experienced this problem after updating your macOS, you may want to check if you can update the app for better compatibility. Otherwise, try uninstalling the app and reinstall it.

Choose the right camera in the app’s settings

If you have more than one camera connected to your Mac, head to Preferences to see the app’s Camera settings and select Mac’s built-in camera.

Double-check: Use another app that needs the camera

Sometimes, the issue isn’t your Mac’s camera but an app. To check, open a different app that utilizes the camera, such as a video conferencing app, and see if everything works. If it does, then the issue is with the app and not on your camera.

3. Update your OS

Make sure that your Mac is running the latest OS. Software updates fix bugs and glitches that may prevent built-in apps and features from working desirably.

4. Check Screen Time settings

If you’re using Screen Time, it’s possible that the feature is either restricting you from using the camera or the app you want to use doesn’t have remaining time available. To check:

  1. Go to Apple menu → System Settings.
    Get to the System Settings on Mac
  2. Select Screen Time from the sidebar → Tap Content & PrivacyGo to content and privacy
  3. Select App Restrictions → Toggle on Allow Camera → Click Done.
  4. Go to App Limits.
    Make sure the app you want to use camera with is turned off or not selected to prevent Screen Time from restricting you from using the app.Go to App Limits on Mac

5. Allow Camera Access

As an added security feature that came with macOS Mojave, you can now choose which specific apps can access your Mac’s built-in camera. It’s possible that you can’t access the camera on your Mac because it doesn’t have access. To give the app access:

  1. Choose Apple menu → System Settings.
  2. Select Privacy & Security on the sidebar → Camera.Go to Camera from Privacy and Security
  3. You’ll see a list of all the apps you have that need access to the camera. Toggle all the apps you want to use your camera in.Apps that have access to camera on Mac
  4. You may be prompted to quit and reopen the apps to be able to use the camera in them.

6. Force quit conflicting apps

Using your camera simultaneously for more than one app can also lead to problems. You might be denied permission too.

  1. To resolve this, check any open app in the Dock that you aren’t actively using. Control-click the app and select Quit.
  2. If the app remains in the Dock, open Finder → Applications → Utilities → Activity Monitor. Select the app and click the X at the top → select Force Quit.

7. Check your antivirus

If you installed an antivirus on your Mac, check its settings and ensure the software isn’t restricting apps from accessing your camera. 

8. Restart your Mac or SMC

If you’ve tried all the above methods and you still can’t make your camera work, the next step is to restart your Mac. If you own an Intel-based Mac, you may want to reset the System Management Controller (SMC), which is responsible for low-level settings. 

While its job is more for regulating fans and LEDs, it may also cause problems with your internal webcam, so resetting it might help. A simple restart will do if you have a Mac with Apple silicon.

9. Create a new user account

Creating a new user account may help you gain access to your Mac’s camera. To do this:

  1. Open the Apple menu → System Settings.
  2. Select Users & Groups → Add Account.
    You might be prompted to enter your password.Select add accounts from users and groups
  3. Be sure to choose Administrator as a type of user.
  4. Enter all the necessary details, including the Full Name, Account Name, and password.Create new user on Mac
  5. Select Create User.

Check if you can access your MacBook’s camera using your new administrator account.

10. Check for hardware problems

Here are different ways to see if there’s a hardware problem and what you can do with it.

Check the camera indicator light

Open an app that uses the camera, such as FaceTime. Check if the camera indicator light glows on your Mac. If not, it may be a hardware issue.

See if Mac detects its camera

For your MacBook to use its camera, it’s crucial that it can detect it. To check:

  1. Go to the Apple menu → System Settings.
  2. Select General in the sidebar → About.
  3. Click System Report at the bottom.Go to System Report on Mac
  4. Under Hardware, select Camera. See if you see FaceTime HD Camera and its Model ID and Unique ID.Under Hardware select Camera

If you don’t see FaceTime HD Camera listed under Camera or its details, then your Mac may not be detecting its camera.

Reset your Mac camera

You may try resetting your Mac’s Camera in Terminal using the VDCAssistant Command. VDCAssistant is a process that runs camera controls. Sometimes, this process continues to work despite already closing the app that uses the camera. This may prevent any other apps from using the camera on your Mac. To reset it:

  1. Launch Terminal.
  2. Type the following in the Terminal window: sudo killall VDCAssistant;sudo killall AppleCameraAssistantGo to Terminal on Mac
  3. You may be prompted to enter your administrative password to run the command.

11. Run Apple Diagnostics

Running Apple Diagnostics can also help you identify which hardware component is the culprit behind the camera issue. Once you run Apple Diagnostics, you’ll see a report on your screen. If you see error codes beginning with N, this confirms that you have a problem with your MacBook’s camera. 

You’d better go to the nearest Genius Bar or Apple Store for further help.

External webcam not working on Mac

If you’re not using your Mac’s built-in cam, but are encountering problems with your external webcam, here are some potential solutions to help it work again:

  • Make sure your cable and port are clean. Dust and grime can interfere with the connection.
  • Try plugging the camera into a different port.
  • Check for hardware compatibility.
  • Update the webcam’s software.

Wrapping up…

Did any of the above solutions help you restore your MacBook camera’s function? If so, share your experience below!

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Author Profile

Rachel loves anything Apple —from iPhones, to Apple Watches, to MacBooks. She is also a medical writer and a ghostwriter for various publications.

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