How to disable the iSight camera on your Mac

“I’m probably not alone when I say that I rarely, if ever, use my MacBook Pro’s iSight camera. In fact, it’s become more of a worry to me when thinking about the potential hacking and privacy concerns,” Jeff Benjamin writes for iDownload Blog. “I’m far from a tin foil hat wearer, but I have to be honest and admit that the thought has crossed my mind before…you know, the one where hackers view my iSight camera unbeknown to me.”

“With all of that said, wouldn’t it be nice if you could disable your Mac’s iSight camera with a simple software tweak?” Benjamin writes. “I’ll show you how to do just that.”

“This is for OS X Mavericks or Yosemite only,” Benjamin writes. “I tested this out on my 2014 MacBook Pro with Retina Display running OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 beta.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Software is nice, but that camera is is still siting there unblocked.

Call us paranoid, but first see the related articles below. That’s why we use camJAMR iSight camera covers on our iMacs and MacBook Airs. They’re black, so they work perfectly with our iMacs and they’re removable/reusable. We’ve stuck and unstuck them hundreds of times. We just leave them on and peel them aside when we want to use the iSight camera. Plus they’re only $12.

Related article:
Orwellian: UK government, with aid from US NSA, intercepted webcam images from millions of users – February 27, 2014
Sextortion warning: It’s masking tape time for webcams – June 28, 2013
Research shows how Mac webcams can spy on their users without warning light – December 18, 2013
Ex-official: FBI can secretly activate an individual’s webcam without indicator light – December 9, 2013
Lower Merion report: MacBook webcams snapped 56,000 clandestine images of high schoolers – April 20, 2010

27 Comments

      1. Fact is that a lot of apps and malware can send data out of your Mac.

        Hint: block unknown transmissions out of your Mac with LittleSnitch. It is simply invaluable.

        Yup you have to learn a few things about why and how, but once you get it in gear, you will be surprised what apps want to send info out.

        1. Total agreement Bo. Among other things, Little Snitch catches apps attempting to send crap to Google Analytics on a regular basis. 😡

          Intego’s Internet Security / NetBarrier software also contains a reasonable ‘reverse firewall’.

          1. Appreciate your many insights. If my assumption is correct that NetBarrier monitors incoming and Little Snitch monitors outgoing, can both run simultaneously without collision issues?

            1. NetBarrier has both a regular firewall AND a ‘reverse firewall’, very much like Little Snitch. There are no collisions of any kind. They work entirely separately in both cases.

              The tough part is the learning curve in both cases. You eventually get used to the pop-up warnings about processes attempting to call out of your Mac. Then you eventually get the hang of what to approve, either permanently or temporarily. It’s all second nature to me at this point. I very much appreciate being able to STOP processes from calling home, or to Google Analytics, or to other questionable/nefarious servers on the Internet. I am the boss of my Macs, no one else. 😀

            2. I’ve used Little Snitch for a good while and run VirusBarrier but haven’t really used NetBarrier to any degree. Since they behave much the same and can run together, would that still serve a purpose?

  1. My simple solution: I cut out a piece of sticky note and stuck it over the lens. √ Done. I pull it off when I want to use the iSight. √ Quick and Easy.

    Be careful not to put the sticky over the light sensor, if you’ve got one. That comes in handy.

    1. … on my iMac. One criticism of your post – you forgot to mention “extreme low cost”. You can get many hundreds of those things – not yet clipped to size – for less than $4!
      I don’t have a whole lot of “need” for extreme privacy, these days. I’m retired, I do not engage in criminal activities, my financial interests are minimal. But, I am a “progressive” and believe neither a corporation nor a government has any valid reason to have access to my private information – not without a signed warrant, at least. Signed in advance of their intrusion.

  2. If you are paranoid about that camera then you should just stop using a computer, cell phone, and the internet and buy a manual type writer. Because you are a much bigger target being on your computer and cell phone then that silly iSight camera will ever be. I’m not going to worry about it or mess up my display with gooey tape to block off that iSight camera which no one has access to but me. Because I’m not that important enough for someone to want to look at me anyways. They would have to go through several steps just to get at that camera anyways. My firewall, my admin password and then maybe, just maybe they would be able to get to my camera. Just don’t see that happening for any reason.

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