How to Completely Disable the FaceTime Camera on a Mac

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Mar 6, 2017
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Here’s how you can completely disable the FaceTime (webcam) camera on an iMac, MacBook or MacBook Pro for added security.

Feeling Paranoid that Someone Might be Watching You? Disable Your Mac’s FaceTime Camera for Good

Barring the Mac Pro and Mac mini, every Mac out there ships with a FaceTime camera. It’s a great way to initiate a video call, while at the same time a security problem for the paranoid ones among us. Face it, there have been instances where a nasty malware managed to take over a Mac, and ended up snooping private data and even access the FaceTime camera. If you are not willing to take any chances, then you might want to disable the built-in FaceTime camera for good, which is the best alternative to putting a tape on the darn thing.

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Before you kick off the procedure immediately, it’s best to read through it first, as it might not be an easy process to follow for some users. Also, make sure you have backed up everything on your Mac beforehand to a secure location. You know, just to be on the safe side of the fence.

Turn Off SIP (System Integrity Protection)

This is necessary for the process to work. Follow the guide posted here on how to disable it.

Issue the Following Terminal Commands

Once you are done disabling SIP on your Mac, launch a new Terminal window from Applications/Utilities folder in Finder, or the Launchpad. Now type in the following five commands in the order they are written.

sudo chmod a-r /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreMediaIO.framework/Versions/A/Resources/VDC.plugin/Contents/MacOS/VDC

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sudo chmod a-r /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreMediaIOServicesPrivate.framework/Versions/A/Resources/AVC.plugin/Contents/MacOS/AVC

sudo chmod a-r /System/Library/QuickTime/QuickTimeUSBVDCDigitizer.component/Contents/MacOS/QuickTimeUSBVDCDigitizer

sudo chmod a-r /Library/CoreMediaIO/Plug-Ins/DAL/AppleCamera.plugin/Contents/MacOS/AppleCamera

sudo chmod a-r /Library/CoreMediaIO/Plug-Ins/FCP-DAL/AppleCamera.plugin/Contents/MacOS/AppleCamera

Once you are done, launch any app that utilizes the FaceTime camera, such as Photo Booth. You will notice that the camera fails to initiate at all, confirming that the issued commands were successful.

Last but not the least, make sure you turn SIP back on.

How to Enable the FaceTime Camera Back Again

It’s simple, really. First and foremost, make sure you have disabled SIP. Once done, launch a new Terminal Window and enter the following five commands in the exact order they are written.

sudo chmod a+r /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreMediaIO.framework/Versions/A/Resources/VDC.plugin/Contents/MacOS/VDC

sudo chmod a+r /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreMediaIOServicesPrivate.framework/Versions/A/Resources/AVC.plugin/Contents/MacOS/AVC

sudo chmod a+r /System/Library/QuickTime/QuickTimeUSBVDCDigitizer.component/Contents/MacOS/QuickTimeUSBVDCDigitizer

sudo chmod a+r /Library/CoreMediaIO/Plug-Ins/DAL/AppleCamera.plugin/Contents/MacOS/AppleCamera

sudo chmod a+r /Library/CoreMediaIO/Plug-Ins/FCP-DAL/AppleCamera.plugin/Contents/MacOS/AppleCamera

Just like before, re-enable SIP once you have followed the above steps.

Wrap Up

If you don’t want anyone snooping in on you, then it’s best to take precautionary measures every step of the way. But when things get out of hand, you might want to resort to something more extreme. Like disabling your FaceTime camera for good.

Let us know in the comments section if you are willing to go that far in order to keep yourself safe online.

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