How to completely disable your Mac’s FaceTime camera

“Some of the more privacy conscious Mac users out there might put tape over their webcam or use apps like Oversight to detect camera activity,” OSXDaily writes. “While either of those approaches can be satisfactory for many users (or considered totally paranoid and overboard to others), many advanced Mac users in the security community go a step further and just outright disable their Macs front-facing web camera. This article will show you how to completely deactivate the front FaceTime camera on a Mac.”

“To be clear, this aims to completely disable the software components behind the built-in camera on Macs which prevents it from being used by any application, this webcam is sometimes called the FaceTime camera or the iSight camera, or simply the front-facing camera,” OSXDaily writes. “All modern Macs have this camera, it is located at the top of the display and embedded into the screen bezel. By disabling the Macs camera, any application that requires it’s usage will no longer function as intended because camera access will become impossible.”

OSXDaily writes, “This is an advanced tutorial aimed at advanced users, it is not intended for novice or casual Mac users.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For the camera, nothing is as foolproof and unhackable as physically covering it.

We’ve been taping our Mac cameras for several years. 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.

How to keep your Mac’s camera from spying on you, no tape required – December 8, 2016
Mark Zuckerberg covers his MacBook’s camera and microphone with tape – June 22, 2016
How to disable the iSight camera on your Mac – February 19, 2015
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


  1. Anything you do in software…can be undone in software.

    This is worse than useless, because it provides an utterly false sense of security.

    All a malicious hacker has to do is re-add the permissions.

    If they have the access to turn on your camera remotely, they have the access to re-add the permissions.

  2. I cover my camera. But the other day I got a FaceTime call from my dad. It was noting to remove the cover and have a great time with my dad.

    I wish there was an equally easy method to disable or muffle the microphone, and then turn it on, at will.

    1. System Preferences
      -turn the mic input down all the way

      Again, being this is done through software, if could be undone, but it’s better than nothing and easy to change if you need to use FaceTime.

      1. Then put foam tape over the microphone.
        And the camera.
        And the screen, keyboard, mouse, trackpad, desk, chair, office, building-block-of-iNsanity…..

        So, again, how to you disable the LED that is inline with the camera power??? Software?? Really??????????

        1984 is calling, and I would trade this stupidity for an evening of Bowie’s Floor Show in a (final) heartbeat!!

        1. I am sorry you think this is overblown concern. I can assure you via remote, A/V can be enabled and monitored. The microphone is independent from the camera and will not show a light. I can agree that bypassing the light is difficult if not impossible. Because of the general availability of multiple handheld devices and other voice activated/enabled items in the typical American home, it is even more likely that some units are less protected than others. I trust Apple tech – even more so I am a nothing person who has nothing remotely worth listening to. In that aspect I am not really concerned. However that doesn’t mean it’s not impossible or I just ignore the remote possibility.

          We have locks on our doors, that does not mean we believe we will be robbed, but we are just adding a layer of protection against the one chance that it could happen. So for my peace of mind, having some way to but a physical barrier between my tech and A/V-I/O, would be nice. Tape is one such example, but that doesn’t work for microphones.

  3. Well, my face is probably on some social media already. And that is all you see on my camera most the time. I am more worries about sound eavesdropping. But taping over the mic does nit help. Ideas?

  4. Buy a Mac Mini or Mac Pro (headless). Buy a monitor that does not have a built in camera or speakers. Buy yourself a USB webcam that you can physically unplug and eave the electrician’s tape in your toolkit.

    1. Yes indeed.

      Problem is, Apple refuses to make timely updates to its headless Macs. Someone at Apple thinks that all-in-one designs (iMac, laptops) are the only Macs we should have. That asswipe needs to be canned immediately. Pros need flexibility that overly integrated units cannot offer, at any price.

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