While the built-in camera on your Mac can be a useful tool for video conferencing or taking quick snapshots, there may be times when you want to turn it off.
This article will show you how to disable the camera on your Mac to deny unauthorized access to apps or intruders.
Turning off the camera on a Mac
The iSight camera is a built-in webcam found on Apple’s line of MacBook laptops. Apple says the camera “brings photos and videos to life”. It can be used with many apps, including FaceTime, Skype, and Google Hangouts.
For professionals, the camera can be used for video conferencing and online meetings. For everyday users, the camera can capture photos and videos of special moments, such as holidays or birthdays. It can also be used for video chatting with friends and family who live far away.
Despite all its positives, there are several reasons why you might want to disable it. For example, the camera can pose a security risk as it can be used to spy on users without their knowledge.
In addition, the camera can take a toll on battery life and can also slow down a computer’s performance.
Finally, if you’re like some people, you might feel a little uncomfortable with the thought of your camera monitoring your activities, even if you’re not using it at some point.
Fortunately, turning off the camera on your Mac is relatively easy. Let’s see what tools you can use for this.
System Preferences is a system panel that comes with the macOS operating system that provides a graphical interface to access and change many of the macOS settings. These settings include the ability to change the appearance of the desktop, set network and security options, and manage user accounts.
While many of these items are also accessible and changeable through other parts of macOS, such as the Finder or Safari, System Preferences provides a central location for all settings.
Here’s how to disable the camera on your Mac through System Preferences:
- Open Launchpad, type “System Preferences” and then click the icon. You can also click the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences” from the drop-down menu.
- Select “Security & Privacy” from the System Preferences menu.
- On the Security & Privacy screen, click “Camera.” In the right pane you should see a list of the apps that are currently allowed to use the camera
- Disable all apps that are currently accessing the camera.
Safari-based camera controls
Safari, the web browser preinstalled on all Mac computers, has advanced security and privacy settings that make it easy to manage the websites that can access your camera. Safari allows you to allow or block access to your camera for all websites or specific websites.
- Open Safari on your computer.
- Click on ‘Safari’ in the menu bar at the top of the screen.
- Select “Preferences” from the drop-down menu. This should open the preferences section of your browser.
- Select “Websites” on the next screen.
- Click “Camera” in the left pane. This should open a list of currently open websites that can access your camera.
- Set the permission status next to each listed website to ‘Ask’ or ‘Decline’.
If you choose the Deny option, the associated website will not be able to access the camera on your Mac. If you choose the Ask option, the website will ask you to allow or deny access to your camera when the camera is needed.
Mac computers come with a built-in set of parental controls that allow you to restrict access to certain websites, applications, and system functions. Crucially, these controls allow you to disable camera access for some user accounts, while other accounts can use them without any restrictions.
To restrict access to your camera with Parental Controls:
- Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences” from the drop-down menu.
- Select “Parental Controls” from the System Preferences menu.
- Click the “Enable Parental Controls” button on the next screen. You may need to enter the administrator password to do this.
- In the left pane, select the user account for which you want to restrict access to the camera.
- In the right pane, click ‘apps’.
- Uncheck the box next to ‘Allow use of camera’.
This will prevent all applications from using the camera when the selected user account is in use.
Third Party Tools
If you don’t trust the local tools to provide reliable protection against access to your camera, you can try third-party programs. In this regard, the Camera Blocker app would be a great tool.
The app is very user-friendly and offers a high level of security. Once installed, the app automatically blocks the camera as soon as you turn on your Mac. You can also set the app to alert you if someone tries to access the camera.
Keep unauthorized access at Bay
Whether you’re concerned about privacy or just want to save battery, turning off your MacBook’s built-in camera is easy. It prevents apps from accessing your camera and makes it impossible for anyone to remotely activate it.
What is your experience with Mac cameras? Do you find any of the tools discussed in this article useful? Let us know in the comments below.