How To Turn Off Built-In Camera on Mac Computers

Most Mac computers come with a built-in camera located above the screen that can be used for video calls, taking photos, recording videos, etc. However, you may sometimes want to disable the camera for privacy reasons or when it’s not in use. Fortunately, it’s easy to turn the camera on and off on a Mac.

Why You May Want To Turn Off The Camera

Here are some common reasons for turning off the built-in camera on your Mac:

  • Privacy – To prevent unauthorized access to the camera. This gives you peace of mind that no one is spying on you through the camera.
  • Security – Disabling the camera when not in use reduces the risk of malware turning on the camera without your knowledge.
  • Save Resources – Turning off the camera frees up system resources that can improve your Mac’s performance.
  • Physical Camera Cover – Some people use tape or a sticker to cover the camera lens. Disabling the camera in software achieves the same effect.

How To Turn Off Camera On Mac

There are a few different ways to turn off or disable the camera on a Mac. Here are the step-by-step instructions for each method:

1. System Preferences

  • Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy
  • Click the Privacy tab
  • Select Camera in the sidebar
  • Uncheck the box next to each app that you want to prevent from accessing the camera

This will disable camera access for individual apps.

2. Parental Controls

  • Go to Apple menu > System Preferences
  • Click on Screen Time
  • Click the Content & Privacy tab
  • Go to the Apps tab
  • Uncheck the box for Allow Camera

This turns off camera access for all apps.

3. Terminal

For advanced users, you can use Terminal to disable the camera drivers. This will completely disable all camera functionality system-wide.

  • Open Terminal
  • Enter the following command:
sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/IOUSBHostFamily.kext/Contents/PlugIns/AppleUSBVideoSupport.kext
  • To re-enable the camera, restart your Mac

Testing The Camera

After turning off access to the camera, you should test to make sure it is properly disabled.

Try opening an app that uses the camera like Photo Booth or FaceTime. The app should not have access to the camera anymore.

You can also check the green indicator light next to the camera. It should not turn on when launching those apps if the camera is successfully disabled.

Closing Thoughts

Controlling access to your Mac’s built-in camera is simple. Use the System Preferences, Parental Controls, or Terminal commands outlined above to quickly turn the camera on and off.

Disabling the camera prevents unauthorized access, saves system resources, and gives you greater privacy. Just remember to enable it again when you need to use video calling or camera-based apps.