Why Is My Webcam Not Working?

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated September 12, 2022

Even the best webcams on the market can run into problems. If you find yourself lamenting, “Why is my webcam not working?” you’re in luck. We have a few tricks up our sleeve we can share with you. So, let’s talk about the most common problems you might encounter.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The most common reason a webcam won’t work is app permissions. Depending on your security system, you might need to set these individually.
  • Another issue is with having faulty or outdated webcam drivers. You can download or reinstall your drivers from the device manufacturer’s website.
  • The last thing that might pop up is a hardware issue. Unfortunately, most of these aren’t worth fixing because buying a new webcam is cheaper.

Why Your Webcam Device Isn’t Working

If you’ve recently learned how to turn on a webcam, you’ll likely feel frustrated if you suddenly find yourself faced with the question, “What do I do if my built-in webcam is not working?” or something similar. Before you toss the whole thing out of the window, there are a few things you should look into.

Insider Tip

You can fix some webcam issues just by hitting that power button and power cycling your device.

App Permissions

The first thing you should check is your privacy settings or app permissions. Both of these might hold the key to activating your webcam. You’ll have to check your computer’s control panel to see if this is the issue. Once there, find where the webcam is in the device manager. From there, check to see if your privacy settings allow for the webcam to be used across all apps and programs. You might also need to give your webcam access within specific apps, like your browser.

Outdated Drivers

Another common problem is old device drivers. This is what allows your webcam to work correctly with your computer. If your driver software is out of date or downloaded incorrectly, you’ll have to update or reinstall them. You can generally find them on the webcam manufacturer’s website. Of course, you’ll need to know how to update a webcam driver to do this.

Warning

Having faulty device drivers can cause webcam issues.

Hardware Issue

Sometimes it comes down to a physical problem with your webcam, which can be easily diagnosed if you know what you’re looking for. If you can’t fix your hardware issue, that’s okay. There are ways around not having an actual webcam, like learning how to use a Go Pro as a webcam. It’s also important to know what a webcam kill switch is and how it works. That said, it’s usually best to simply buy a new camera in this case, as fixing it is generally more expensive.

STAT: In 2021, the market value of video conferencing in China amounted to approximately 15 billion yuan, increasing by 18.3 percent from the year prior. (source)

My Webcam Won’t Work FAQs

How can I troubleshoot my USB port webcam?

One of the most straightforward troubleshooting methods is just to hit the power button, turn the webcam device off, and then turn it back on again. This solves a surprising number of problems.

Is my built-in camera high-quality?

Unfortunately, most internal webcams are of pretty poor quality. This will depend on your computer, however. If you need a higher-powered option, try a high-quality external webcam.

Will I need to download extra webcam software?

Generally speaking, yes. Most webcams come with software installed before you can use your new device, such as a webcam driver. This software typically doesn’t take up much extra space.

How do I install a USB port webcam?

These are incredibly easy to install on your computer. All you need to do is plug the cord into your webcam and then into the USB port on your computer.
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