How To: Restart Your Camera in Mac OS X

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Working from home, for most, includes a fair amount of video conferencing. But, what if the camera on your Mac produces No Connected Camera errors and effectively won’t work or has suddenly stopped working with apps like Facetime, Skype, Zoom or Google Meet?

Well, you can either go for a full reboot of your computer, or use a little command line magic.

Time needed: 1 minute.

Restarting the camera on your Mac, Macbook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, or iMac works like this:

  1. Kill all apps that use the camera

    Make sure to stop all apps using the camera. I’ve not found this to be a requirement in all cases, but it’s good practise to do so before proceeding.

  2. Open Terminal app

    Open the terminal app on your Mac. You can find it by navigating to your Applications > Utilities folder.

    Alternative you can use spotlight ( + Spacebar) and start searching for “terminal”. Of course, if you’ve got the wonderful terminal enhancing iTerm app installed, that will work as well.

  3. Copy killall command

    You’ll need to copy the following command into terminal:

    sudo killall VDCAssistant

  4. Paste killall command to terminal

    Navigate to your terminal app and paste the killall command you’ve just copied

  5. Confirm command execution

    Next up, you’ll need to hit Enter which will prompt you to enter your administrator password for the Mac. Most likely this is the same password as your Mac user account you’re logged in with.

    If all went correctly, you’ll see an empty command line prompt again. Same as when you started.

  6. Open camera app again

    Open up your camera-using app (Zoom, Skype, Facetime, etc) and activate your camera again. It should now function properly again.

I’ve had to do this so many times that I’d figure I’d document how to do it properly. Hope this helps you too!

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11 responses to “How To: Restart Your Camera in Mac OS X”

  1. This Article was mentioned on brid-gy.appspot.com

  2. JvdMeulen Avatar

    Als je het zo vaak moet doen, moet je er een workflow van maken! (of als je @alfredapp hebt, een script/plugin) #tip

  3. How To: Restart Your Camera in Mac OS X ⇢ remkus.devries.frl/how-to-restart…

  4. Remkus de Vries Avatar

    Ja, is ek sa. En Alfred haw ik, dus sil dy ekstra stap ek dwaan. Goeie reminder!

  5. JvdMeulen Avatar

    ik ha der nea lêst fan, oars hie ik sels wol dien


  6. Wat is het fijn als vrienden een probleem voor je oplossen door het op hun eigen blog en dus publiek te posten. Want jouw probleem komt vaker voor dan je denkt.

  7. Marguerite Cardinal Avatar
    Marguerite Cardinal

    Thank you so much! Restarting my computer is such a pain. This really helped.

  8. Rob Kohr Avatar

    Very nice. I added this to my .zshrc

    alias camera=”sudo killall VDCAssistant” # restart the camera

    so now I can just type camera to run it

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Good tip if you’re familiar with aliases, yes.

  9. Paul Mostert Avatar
    Paul Mostert

    Hard reset switched my camera back on.
    Switch off Macbook then switch on with Opt, Command, P and R pressed for 20 Seconds.
    Open Photo booth – camera now working again

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