The iSight Camera is Not Working With Macbook Photo Booth

By Maxwell Payne

Photo Booth is an Apple program included on Apple computers running the Mac OS X operating system. This program allows the user to take photos and apply special effects to them. The program uses the Macbook's built-in iSight camera which is also used by other programs to record video and to video chat. Multiple issues can prevent the camera from functioning properly within Photo Booth.

Step 1

Click on the "Apple" icon in the top left corner of the screen. Select "Software Updates" followed by "Check for Updates." Wait for the computer to search for updates. Click "Install" or "OK" to confirm installation. Restart if prompted. Reopen Photo Booth. If the problem is not resolved, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2

Verify that no other program is using iSight. Click on the "Apple" icon in the upper left and select "Force Quit." Click on any open program that may be using the camera and select "Force Quit" followed by "Yes" or "OK." Examples of possible programs running in the background using the camera include iChat and iMovie. If this does not fix the problem, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3

Exit out of Photo Booth then reopen it by clicking on the Photo Booth icon in the Mac OS X dock at the bottom of the screen. Click on "Photo Booth" in the top menu bar of the photo program and select "Preferences."

Step 4

Select the menu option for "Camera" or "Default Camera" and verify that "Built in iSight" is the default. If it is not, click on the "iSight" option. Disconnect any externally connected cameras. Restart Photo Booth if prompted. Proceed to Step 5 if the issue is not resolved.

Step 5

Click on the "Finder" icon in the top right of the screen, i.e., the magnifying glass. Type in "Utilities" and select the "Utilities Folder" under "Applications." Click on the "USB" tab and verify the camera is enabled and detected. If enabled and the camera still does not work, proceed to Step 6.

Step 6

Save all work and restart the computer. Hold down the "Power" button for 10 seconds until you hear a long tone. Release the "Power" button. This resets the SMC (system management controller) and should allow the computer to redetect the camera.

Tips & Warnings

  • Verify that nothing is blocking the camera lens. The lens is located directly above the screen at the center. Note that if your Macbook is connected to an external display, the Macbook itself must be open for the camera to be active.