The Mac Observer

Skip navigational links

TMO Quick Tip - Disabling a Built-in iSight Camera

by , 7:30 AM EDT, June 11th, 2007

Apple didn't give us an overly obvious way to disable the iSight camera that's built in to the iMac, MacBook, and MacBook Pro, which is a problem for some people that work in sensitive environments. Covering the camera with a piece of tape will do the trick, but in some work places, that isn't enough.

You can completely disable your built-in iSight by moving a single file. Just move the QuickTimeUSBVDCDIgitizer.component file from System/Library/QuickTime to another safe location on your hard drive. Be careful what you move, because the System directory isn't a particularly safe place to mess around in. Should you move, rename, or delete the wrong file, you could potentially render your Mac unbootable.

You have to authenticate as an administrator when you try to move QuickTimeUSBVDCDIgitizer.component, and it will copy to the location you are trying to move it to instead of actually moving. Once the copy is complete, drag the original to the trash.

Removing the iSight component file will disable the camera and prevent any application from using it. If an application does try to use the camera, you'll see a dialog that says the device is in use by another program.

To return your iSight to its normal and usable state, simply put the QuickTimeUSBVDCDIgitizer.component file back.


Jeff Gamet is TMO's Morning Editor and Reviews Editor. He lectures, teaches and speaks on Mac OS X and design-related topics, and is the author of The Designer's Guide to Mac OS X from Peachpit Press.

if you have tips or tricks to share, or Mac-related questions you want answered.

Recent TMO Headlines - Updated March 29th

Wed, 11:47 AM
Weak Report Claims Touch ID Sensor Moving to the Back of iPhone 8
Wed, 10:47 AM
Apple Gives Developers First iOS 10.3.2 Beta
Wed, 9:00 AM
Private Internet Access VPN 2-Year Subscription: $59.95
Wed, 8:46 AM
iOS 10.3: Using "Find My AirPods"
Tue, 11:24 PM
Congress Says ISPs Can Sell Your Browser History on Party Line Vote
Tue, 7:09 PM
Apple Triples Supplier Sites Working In Energy Efficiency Program
Tue, 6:28 PM
You Can Opt Out of Sharing iCloud Analytics in macOS Sierra 10.12.4
Tue, 5:26 PM
macOS: Search Photos on macOS for Whatever You're Looking For
Tue, 4:18 PM
Developer Comments Go Live on App Store, Mac App Store
Tue, 3:07 PM
Samsung Plans to Refurbish and Sell the Recalled Note 7
Tue, 1:59 PM
Apple's New APFS File System, Developers Respond to App Store Reviews - TMO Daily Observations 2017-03-28
Tue, 11:01 AM
Element Blocks: The Coolest Periodic Table for Your Desk
  • __________
  • Buy Stuff, Support TMO!
  • Podcast: Mac Geek Gab
  • Podcast: Apple Weekly Report
  • TMO on Twitter!