Where to Learn about a Built-in Camera on a Mac?

Although this issue may seem too easy to pay attention to, there is more to this than meets the eye. Paper booklets are often lost, and it does not take a second to find necessary information on support.apple.com. There are user manuals for different Macs there; however, most of them contain only basic information, so users are often left confused.

Mac computers now come with a built-in iSight digital camera.

It cannot be switched on or off by itself, as it is activated by Apple and third-party applications that need a camera. If you want to see how iSight looks like when enabled, try launching Photo Booth, for example. You can find this app in Spotlight or the Application folder in Finder. When you open it, an iSight green light indicator turns on.

Of course, if you also have an external camera plugged in, an app will ask you which one to use.

What Can You Do with an iSight Camera?

iSight works both as a video camera and a still photography camera. That means you can use it for taking photos, creating videos and video conferencing in different ways depending on what features an app offers.

It may not be convenient for many users, but Apple does not provide a special app for setting up iSight while most apps offer their own configuration options such as brightness, saturation, contrast, white-balance, etc.

As for taking photos, you can do it with Photo Booth, which was mentioned above. When it is open, you will see an image on your screen. Make photos by pressing the red button in the center of the window and add special effects like Black and White, Color Pencil, Thermal Camera, Pop Art by clicking Effects button and choosing one of the options available. You can find all the photos in User > Pictures > Photo Booth. You can easily change the destination folder in the Photo Booth menu.

Photo Booth is also capable of shooting video. To test this feature, select the red video icon in the left corner of the window.

You can also test your camera using iChat, an app for video conferencing. Open it from the Applications folder or via Spotlight. Enter your MobileMe, AIM, Google Talk or Jabber account information. If you log in successfully, you will see a green camera icon on your buddy list window. Click on it to turn iSight on, and your image will show up. To turn iSight off, just quit the application or press the red button in the upper left corner of the window.

What to Do If iSight Does Not Work?

There are situations when iSight is not activated by an app that needs to use it. The reason is often hard to determine. Before you decide to contact Apple Repair Center, you can try fixing the issue by yourself.

Enabling iSight with a Terminal Command

To turn iSight manually, go to FinderApplicationsUtilities and click Terminal. Type sudo killall VDCAssistant and press Enter. Then try opening any app that uses a camera and check if the issue is resolved.

iSight Firmware Update

iSight is controlled by firmware, which is usually updated automatically, without sending any notifications to a user. However, you can try updating it manually by downloading the iSight Updater on this page.