Webcam is practically irreplaceable at this age. It is versatile hardware that allows you to participate in video chats, record vlogs, and more. Most laptops have a webcam preinstalled, and so does the entire MacBook line.
In Mac computers, including MacBook, the webcam is known as “FaceTime camera”, which refers to the exclusive video chat app in Macs, iPhones, and iPads. However, in normal cases, FaceTime camera is usable in other apps, and even in other operating systems like Windows running on Boot Camp.
However, sometimes technology products have a hiccup and your MacBook camera is not immune to this. While MacBook camera not working is a fairly common occurrence and can be fixed with a simple restart most of the time, sometimes it takes a few extra steps for you to recover from such situation.
How to Fix Your MacBook Camera
Fortunately, chances are your hardware is not actually broken, it’s the software that makes the camera not working in the first place. If your Facetime camera won’t work on Mac, there are several issues that might be the culprit. Read on to find out how to fix issues related to the Mac camera.
Check your Mac settings
By default, Mac OS restricts third-party app from using the webcam in order to maintain privacy. Thus, you might need to enable the webcam for third party software in your Mac settings.
To fix it, you can click the Apple menu, choose “System Preferences”, then “Security & Privacy” followed by “Privacy”. In the sidebar, choose “Camera”, and ensure that the software you want to use has been checked. If not, you can click the checkbox beside the software name you want to use. To make changes, you might need to click the padlock in the right corner of the window and provide the administrator password.
Check the software running on your Mac
While the hardware itself is versatile and can be used in a lot of apps, Mac cameras can only be used by one app at one time. This is the limitation of the Mac OS which unfortunately cannot be overridden.
To fix this issue, you will need to ensure that there is no software in the background that access the webcam. Software such as Skype sometimes run in the background and access the camera without you knowing.
Check the Dock to see the running software in your Mac, click the unused software, and press Cmd+Q to close the software. Alternatively, you can press Option + Cmd + Esc to open the force quit window, and close all software that you don’t need.
Shutdown your Mac
To fix camera not working on MacBook, you might want to restart your Mac through the Apple menu on the left side of your screen. Click the “Apple” menu, and choose “Shut Down”.
A dialog box will appear on your Mac screen. Uncheck the option to “Reopen windows when logging back in”, and click the “Shut Down” button to shut down your Mac cleanly.
After your Mac is shut down successfully, wait 15-30 seconds and briefly press the power button to start your Mac back. Retry using the camera to verify if the camera issue has fixed.
Update your system and installed apps
Sometimes, updating your app might solve various problems and bugs in your Mac. To update your Mac, you can click “System Preferences” from the Apple menu, and click “Software Updates”. Meanwhile, apps are updated in two ways: through App Store for apps installed from the Store, or manually through the installer for apps obtained from a third party.
To check updates for App Store apps, click the App Store icon on your Dock and click “Updates” on the sidebar. However, if your software is from a third party, checking updates is a bit convoluted. You will need to visit the developer’s website to obtain the updated software.
Use different app
Sometimes, even after changing settings and updating software, the camera might still not work in the desired software. To verify that the issue is not hardware-related, you can try using FaceTime or Photo Booth, which are both built-in Mac OS software.
If the camera works while using built-in software, the software you want to use might be bugged. You can check the preferences of your desired software from the Preferences or Settings window of it, but if camera access is enabled and you still cannot use the camera from the app, you would need to find an alternative for it.
Check if the camera is detected in System Report
If restarting does not work, sometimes you need to do some troubleshooting. There may be a hardware problem that makes all apps don’t see the camera. To ensure that the camera is properly connected, you can use the System Report, which will list all hardware that is connected to your Mac.
Start by clicking the Apple menu and choosing “About this Mac”. Then, click the “System Report” button to display connected hardware. Ensure that there is a camera listed under the “Camera” option, and close the software. If there is no camera connected, there might be a hardware problem on your Mac. Proceed to the next step to continue.
Reset the PRAM of your Mac
The PRAM in your Mac holds an important hardware configuration and powered by a small battery. The battery ensures that your PRAM still holds its important configuration even when your Mac is shut down.
Sometimes, resetting the PRAM will help sort out hardware issues, like the camera not connected when it should be. Resetting PRAM is also easy. The first step is turning off your Mac, followed by pressing the power button and holding
Option + Cmd + P + R while your Mac is booting. Keep holding the keys until you see the Apple logo the second time.
Reset the SMC on Mac
SMC, which stands for System Management Controller, is a chip inside Intel-powered Macs that runs a lot of physical parts in your Mac, such as the LED indicator, camera, trackpad, and Wi-Fi. Resetting SMC is a bit more complicated than just resetting the PRAM but it is worth trying before resorting to hardware fixes. There are three ways to reset the SMC, depending on your Mac type.
MacBook With Removable Battery
To reset the SMC on your MacBook with a removable battery, you need to shut down the Mac, remove the battery, then press and hold the power button for 5 seconds before reconnecting the battery and turning on the Mac.
MacBook With Non-Removable Battery
To reset the SMC on your MacBook with a non-removable battery that is released before 2018, you can shut down your Mac, then pressing and holding
Left Shift + Control + Option key for 10 seconds. Afterward, you can release the keys and turn on your Mac as usual.
If you have a newer (post-2018) MacBook, the MacBook is equipped with T2 Security Chip, which means that the process to reset the SMC is a bit different. Start with shutting down your Mac, then press and hold the power button for 10 seconds, and restart your Mac.
If your camera doesn’t work, press and hold the
Right Shift + Left Options + Left Control for 7 seconds while pressing and holding the Power button for the same time. Release all the keys and wait for a few seconds, and restart your MacBook.