How to Turn on a Webcam on a MacBook Pro

By Sarena Fuller

MacBook Pros come with a built-in webcam called iSight that works with different software programs. The iSight was an external camera until Apple integrated it into newer computer models, such as the MacBook Air, iMac and MacBook Pro. The programs iChat, iMovie and Photo Booth all come pre-installed on Apple computers and use the iSight webcam for various purposes. These include taking static photos, recording film for movies or transmitting live video for online chat sessions.

Things You'll Need

  • Instant messenger account (, MobileMe, AIM, Jabber, Google Talk)
  • High-speed Internet connection
  • Webcam software program

Turn On Your Webcam With iChat

Step 1

Launch iChat. Select your account type from the drop-down menu if you are a first-time user. Type your screen name and password, and click "Continue."

Step 2

Click "Done" on the Conclusion page and your "Buddy" list will pop up.

Step 3

Bring up the iSight camera box by clicking on the "Camera" icon at the top of your buddy list. Alternatively, go to "Video" at the top of the iChat Screen, then select "Video Preview."

Step 4

Click the "Camera" icon next to an online buddy if you want to initiate a video chat session or conferencing call.

Turn On Your Webcam With iMovie or Photo Booth

Step 1

Launch iMovie or Photo Booth.

Step 2

Click the "Video Camera" icon on the left side of the middle bar in iMovie. In Photo Booth, click the "Movie Clip" icon to the left of the red "Camera" button.

Step 3

Click "Capture" and select "Capture" again in the pop-up dialog box to start recording in iMovie. When finished, click "Stop." For Photo Booth, click the red "Camera" button to start recording and the square button to stop.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not see a video camera icon in iChat, go to "Video" at the top of the iChat screen and check the "Camera Enabled" box.
  • To add Photo Booth effects to your video chat session in iChat, go to "Video" and select "Show Video Effects." Choose a style or backdrop from the menu.
  • ISight also works with other video conferencing programs, but you must download the appropriate software.
  • You can only use iSight with one video conferencing program at a time, so make sure you sign out completely before opening another program.