Most of today’s laptops come with a built-in webcam, so you don’t need to buy additional equipment to enjoy your PC to the max. A webcam not working correctly, however, may scupper your plans
Many issues, from the smallest bugs to more complicated driver problems, can cause your webcam to misbehave. In this article, we’ll cover the possible reasons behind this, as well as simple solutions to help bring your webcam back into line.
Before You Start Troubleshooting
It’s good to know that Mac’s operating system doesn’t have a built-in app that configures your webcam. Nearly all apps that you can use on your Mac to access the camera have their own settings. That’s how you enable the webcam – adjust the settings within each individual app. You can’t just turn it on or off on your MacBook.
When you open an app, this is when your webcam activates as well. But how will you know if this has happened? Follow these steps to find out:
- Go to Finder.
- Select the Applications folder and choose the app you want to use the camera with.
- The LED light next to your built-in cam should switch on to indicate that the cam is now active.
Here’s what to do if the cam isn’t working.
Make Sure There’s No Conflict (or Viruses)
When two or more apps are trying to use the webcam at the same time, it may cause a conflict.
If you’re trying to make a FaceTime video call and your cam isn’t working, make sure there aren’t any cam-using apps running in the background. Skype, for instance.
For those who aren’t sure how they can monitor their active apps, here’s how to check them:
- Go to Applications.
- Find the Activity Monitor app and click to open it.
- Click on the app you believe might be using the webcam and end process.
If you don’t know what app may be causing the issue, the best option is to close them all. Just ensure that you’ve saved what you’re currently working on before you do so.
It won’t hurt to run a system scan either. There may be a virus interrupting your cam settings and stopping the video from displaying. Even if you have an excellent antivirus program to protect your PC, something may still slip through the cracks.
The SMC May Be the Answer
Mac’s System Management Controller may solve the webcam issue as it controls multiple hardware functions. You only need to reset it, and it’s nothing too complicated. Do the following:
- Turn off your MacBook and make sure the adapter is plugged into an outlet.
- Press Shift + Ctrl + Options keys at the same time, and turn on the computer.
- After your Mac starts, press Shift + Ctrl + Options simultaneously again.
- Make sure you hold the key for 30 seconds, then release them and wait for your laptop to boot as it usually does.
- Check your webcam to see if it works now.
Resetting an iMac, Mac Pro, or Mac Mini device may be slightly different. Follow these steps:
- Turn off your laptop, then disconnect it from a power source.
- Press the power button. Hold for about thirty seconds.
- Let go of the button and connect the power cable again.
- Wait for the laptop to start and check if the camera works.
Check for Updates or Reinstall the Apps
If you’re trying to make a video call via Skype or FaceTime and the webcam isn’t working, no matter what you do, maybe the problem isn’t with your camera. It may be the app you’re using.
Before you delete the apps, make sure you’re running the latest versions, and that there are no pending updates. After this, try deleting the apps and installing them again, and then check if the camera is working.
Also, did you know that there are network requirements when it comes to webcams? Not only will you suffer face poor image quality if your Wi-Fi signal isn’t good enough, but you may not be able to establish a connection at all. Make sure you have at least 1 Mbps internet speed if you want to make an HD FaceTime call, or 128 kbps if you want to make a regular call.
A System Update May Be the Culprit
As with some other operating systems, a system update may cause an interruption between an app and your webcam.
What if your webcam has been working correctly so far, and it’s suddenly refusing to cooperate? It’s likely that the last system update caused an error, especially if your updates happen automatically. Try returning your OS to its previous state and check if the cam is working.
Last Resort – Restart the Laptop
The simplest solution sometimes turns out to be the right one. If none of the previously described solutions works, turn off your laptop and turn it on again. Go to webcam software and check if the video is now displaying.
If Nothing Works…
Try contacting Apple support. They may have another solution you can try if not a single one of our suggestions helps make your webcam work again. However, bear in mind that both your laptop and webcam are prone to simply wearing out if you’ve had them for a long time.
How do you solve your webcam issues? Let us know in the comments section below!