Mac Camera Not Working, Fix

Most Mac models include built-in cameras. In fact, all Mac laptops, namely MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, come with a built-in iSight, FaceTime, or FaceTime HD camera. Cameras are an important part of computers. For example, using your camera, you can record videos, make conference FaceTime calls, record lectures, or you may not be able to use Zoom or Skype. This means, also for example, that you may run into FaceTime problems and get “No Video” error messages if your camera is not functioning as expected.

Mac Camera Problems

This article explains how you can troubleshoot when your camera isn’t working in macOS. Sometimes, your camera may not work at all and sometimes you may get a “camera not connected” message. It is a good idea to follow the solutions below before submitting your camera for service.

See also: Microphone is not working on Mac.

How to get your camera working again

Follow these instructions in order. Test your camera between steps to see if your problem is resolved.

1. Before working through the possible solutions described below, you may want to consider a restart. Simple restart your Mac to see if that fixes your problem. You can restart your Mac by selecting Restart from the Apple menu.

2. Update your Mac. Make sure that your Mac has the latest version of macOS software installed. Here is how:

  • If your current version of your software is macOS Mojave or later: Click the System Preferences from the Apple menu and then click Software Update. If there is an update available, click Update Now and follow the onscreen instructions. (note: you may also want to check the “automatically keep my Mac up to date” box).Mac update
  • If you want to get updates for an earlier version of the macOS software (such as macOS High Sierra, Sierra), then open the App Store on your Mac and then click the Updates tab.

3. Is your problem is app-specific. For example, your camera works in FaceTime but does not work with Skype? Are you having this problem with only certain apps that require video connections such as Skype, Adobe Connect, iMovie, Zoom, etc? You may have a permission problem. Make sure that you give your apps permission. On your Mac, click the Apple menu and System Preferences, Security & Privacy, then click the Privacy tab. Select Camera from the left side, here you can allow apps to access your camera. Select the checkbox next to the app to turn on camera access. The app now has permission to use the camera. Test again.

App specific camera problems

Another solution is, if you are having an app-specific problem, try to uninstall that app (in the app that camera does not work) and then try to redownload and install again.

4. If you are getting the “There is no connected camera.” error message then please follow the steps below:

  • Open Terminal (Applications / Utilities).
  • And enter the following command and press enter:
sudo killall VDCAssistant
  • And now enter the following command and press enter:
sudo killall AppleCameraAssistant
  • If asked, enter your admin password.
  • And then restart your computer and test your camera again.

5. Reset NVRAM or PRAM and SMC on your Mac. Here is how:

  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold the Option, Command, P, and R.
  • Keep holding these keys for 20 seconds.
  • Your Mac will appear to restart.
  • This will reset NVRAM or PRAM.

To reset the SMC, please see this article for instructions to reset the SMC.

6. Restart your Mac in Safe Mode. Safe Mode may fix your problem. Here is how:

  • Turn off your Mac.
  • Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key.
  • Keep holding the Shift key until you see the login screen. Then release the Shift key.
  • Login. (You may need to log in a few times).
  • Your Mac is running in Safe Mode.
  • Test your camera.
  • Then restart your Mac normally. This will exit Safe Mode. And then test your camera again.

7. Does your computer recognize your camera? Here is how you can find out:

  • Open the System Information app on your Mac (located in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder). You can also open the System Information by clicking the Apple menu > About This Mac > Overview > System Report.
  • Find the Hardware (or USB) header.
  • Is your camera detected?

Is your camera recognized on Mac

8. If you are having your camera issue online in a browser such as Safari, Chrome, Opera, Edge, then check to see if there are browser camera settings. For example, if the camera is not working in Safari, here is you can allow your camera. Here is how you can allow websites to access the camera in Safari on your Mac:

  • Open Safari.
  • Click Safari and Preferences.
  • Click the Websites tab.
  • Click Camera.
  • You will see the websites (like Facebook) that are open, find the drop-down menu and select Ask, Deny, Allow.

Safari camera access

9. If you are having camera issues with your standalone camera (not built-in), then please see the tips below:

  • Make sure that your camera is correctly and completely plugged in.
  • Turn off your Mac and then turn off your camera. Wait 10 seconds. Unplug the camera and then replug it. And then restart your Mac. Test to see if your camera works.
  • Disconnect your camera and connect it using a different port.
  • Make sure that your camera cable is good, if possible, use a different cable.

If your camera is still not behaving correctly, it is time to contact Apple. Here are Apple’s support options:

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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11 thoughts on “Mac Camera Not Working, Fix”

  1. System Preferences > Security & Privacy doesn’t show camera.

    User account, so Terminal sudo commands are unavailable.

    Too obstinate to reboot.

    Safari is my primary browser so Safari > Preferences > Websites > Camera, Deny all to Currently Open Websites, including “When visiting other websites:” at the bottom.

    Camera works! Changed “When visiting other websites:” to Ask and I try to move forward. So far, so good.

  2. It seems many people are having issues with the built-in camera on MacBook Pros. Mine is 2016, I hardly ever used it but it worked fine when I needed it…then one day it didn’t. I’ve tried everything. Apple needs to do something about this.

  3. I Have a Macbook Pro 2015. as soon as I updated to Catalina the camera stopped working I have to reset SMC every time. I have tried everything on the list and no luck.. Including reinstalling the OS. I is a real problem when you have to do a lot of Zoom work. Any help would be very useful. I tried to get in touch with Mac but they did not reply.

    • Did you ever figure it out? I am having the same issue and have a lot of Zoom calls for work. I’ve tried everything you listed too.

  4. Hi!

    I was wondering if you could help me out. Whenever I open any app that needs a camera it shows “There is no connected camera”. I tried rebooting, resetting the SMC, and your tip using Terminal but what appears is “No matching processes were found”.

    Hopefully, you would be able to send me more tips to be able to fix my camera issue. I would really appreciate them. Thanks!

    • Same issue. I have a macbook pro from 2017 and the camera has just vanished for no apparent reason. I tried all the fixes other than reinstalling my OS. Hopefully Apple will fix this soon…

      • I have a 2016 macbook and same my camera just stopped working out of nowhere. I tried the fixes and my camera still doesn’t work. At this point i’m just hoping it starts working out of nowhere.

    • Same issue. I have a 2015 macbook pro and likewise my camera just stopped working out of nowhere. I tried the fixes and my camera still doesn’t work.

      Hopefully apple fixes it soon!

      • I am having the same problem… I tried everything and my problem seems to fall in your number #7 issue. But my camera is NOT DETECTED…
        Hope someone can help me.


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