Do you want to prevent a Mac app from using the camera on your computer? MacOS makes it easy to manually manage and manage which apps can access the camera facing the camera on a Mac. Being able to manually control which apps access the camera on a Mac can be useful for privacy and security purposes, and perhaps it can even inspire you to remove the tape over your Mac as so many techy computer users seem to be trust for some privacy.
This article shows you how to directly control which apps can access the camera on a Mac, and how to block apps from using the camera, and how to give apps access to the camera on your computer.
How to prevent apps from using the camera on Mac to disable camera access
Here you can easily decide which Mac apps can use the computer camera:
- Go to the Apple menu and select "System Preferences"
- Go to the "Security and Privacy" preference panel
- Select the "Privacy" tab and then select "Camera" from the left side
- Repeat to turn off camera access for other Mac applications as desired
- Close by System Preferences when done
Note this applies only to third-party apps. All Apple apps and combined system apps do not appear in this camera's access control list on Mac. For example, apps such as FaceTime and Photo Booth will not appear in the list to control or disable camera access.
If nothing appears in Privacy> Camera list on Mac, it means no third-party applications have attempted to use the camera on Mac.
Of course, there are other ways to prevent apps from using the camera on Mac. You can use OverSight to detect Mac camera activity (and also block access), you can put tape over the computer camera that many people do, or you can even manually disable the Mac camera completely by changing system files that are really just too extreme advanced users (you can also disable the internal microphone on a Mac if you are concerned about that too). However, these latter options may be a bit extreme, but each Mac user has a unique privacy and security limit and risk profile, so do what suits you or make you comfortable, if that means losing your webcam, please.  If you deny an app access to the Mac camera and then try to use that app, you will surprisingly find that either the app does not work as expected or sometimes it will not work at all. For example, if you disable camera access for Skype, video chatting and teleconferencing will not work with Skype, and to make it work again, allow access for that app to use the Mac again.
How to Check and Allow App Camera Access on Mac
You may have noticed that newer MacOS versions will have apps send a notification dialog asking for camera access before the app can use the Macs camera. It applies to all third-party apps, for example, if you open Skype on Mac, you will notice that it requests camera access because a large feature of Skype is video chat. Of course, there will even be other apps that ask for camera access, which may not need them, so please be discerning about which programs you allow access to the camera on your computer.
If you want to manually control what Apps have camera access or you want to give the camera rights to an app that you previously refused camera access to, you can do so through the same setting area you used to block camera access:
- Go to Apple menu and select "System Preferences" then select "Security and Privacy"
- Select the "Privacy" tab and select "Camera"
- Check the box corresponding to programs you want to enable camera access for
- Close System Preferences when done
You may need to restore some apps for the camera to be found again, just quit and open them again and it will work fine. A reboot should not be required.
How to handle camera access for apps on your Mac is up to you, so if you let everything use your camera or nothing uses your camera, it's your decision and it's easy to make additional changes should you decide it is necessary.