How to Fix a Webcam

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Updated August 16, 2022

The best webcams deliver clear, speedy images and can connect users to people thousands of miles away. But as miraculous as they are, webcams aren’t without their issues. Many rely on webcams to connect them to loved ones but struggle with getting them to work correctly. If you can’t seem to get your webcam to cooperate, fear not! Below, we’ll provide essential troubleshooting tips on how to fix a webcam.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Most webcam fixes are simple and involve ensuring computer and camera settings are set up correctly.
  • Check that your software settings, such as your privacy controls, app permissions, and webcam driver, are up to date and not blocking webcam access.
  • Check every wired and wireless connection to ensure they’re not impeding the signal.

Another excellent resource for those reliant on webcams is our article on how to improve laptop quality. Some of these measures are super simple, such as understanding how to clean the webcam lens properly.

Insider Tip

A great way to check a webcam for connection issues is by plugging it into another computer.

How to Repair a Webcam

A handful of common issues prevent built-in webcams from working, regardless of the computer manufacturer. Most of these fixes are very easy and require simple settings fixes. For more settings advice, we offer many valuable resources, like our article on how to narrow webcam view.

Check Webcam Settings

Sometimes webcams won’t work unless you enable specific privacy settings. To manage privacy settings, enter your computer’s general control panel and find the privacy section. Once you find the camera privacy options, you should see an option to enable or disable webcam access for specific desktop apps.

For a further look into managing privacy settings, read our article on how to enable webcam access.

Fix Webcam Drivers

Every webcam has driver software accessible through a computer’s device manager settings. These device drivers communicate information from the webcam to the computer and come with software that requires updates.

An outdated driver causes compatibility issues. First, go into your device manager settings and check for any driver updates. Another thing to try if no driver updates are available is to uninstall and reinstall the webcam driver.

Warning

Sometimes installing antivirus software prevents your webcam from working correctly. To fix this, you must enter the software settings and safelist the app/site on which you need to use your webcam.

Check Connections and USB Ports

Those who use an external webcam should first look at each connection point. Ensure there are no loose connections and that nothing is stuck on the connector or in the port blocking the device from working.

Lastly, sometimes webcam issues are a result of poor internet connection. Check the receiver or Bluetooth connection strength if you own a wireless webcam device. You’ll also want to run an internet strength test if the connection is slow or fuzzy.

STAT: A study revealed that 51% of computer users had no idea that hackers were able to access webcams to spy on and steal personal data. (source)

How to Fix Webcam FAQs

Can apps use my webcam to spy on me?

When you grant webcam access to an app or website, they can use the camera to record data. In some cases, these apps and websites have been found to spy on users.

Why does my webcam video look bad?

The most likely cause for bad webcam images is a poor internet connection.

Why does my webcam only work in select browsers?

Every browser, from Google Chrome to Firefox, has unique privacy settings. To manage webcam properties, enter the privacy settings and grant permission to the site through which you are accessing the webcam.
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