Fixing “There is no connected camera” Error with a Mac FaceTime Camera

Dec 27, 2013 - 76 Comments

Just about every Mac comes with a front-facing camera these days, referred to usually as the FaceTime camera, and on older machines was called iSight. Nearly all of the time, this camera works flawlessly and you’ll never have any problems with it, but a frustrating error can appear from time to time that makes many users think their is a hardware problem with the camera. Manifesting as a black screen with a camera logo that is crossed out with the text “There is no connected camera”, the error message can appear across just about any Mac, be it an iMac or a MacBook Air / Pro, and any version of OS X from Lion to Mavericks and OS X Yosemite, and with almost any app that wants to use the front camera. When the Ma camera is not working, the screen may look like this:

"There is no connected Camera" error message on the Mac


Most users who see the problem will be attempting to use the FaceTime camera with a default bundled app like FaceTime video, Messages / iChat, or Photo Booth, but other apps may report the error as well. If you get that error screen and message, don’t assume there is a hardware issue that requires warranty service, because you can usually resolve the problem quickly with a little trick.

Rebooting the Mac will Fix the “No Connected Camera” Error

It’s worth mentioning that you can often fix the error by simply rebooting the Mac. If you have the time for that, just reboot, it will almost certainly resolve the issue.

Rebooting is obviously inconvenient though since it halts whatever you’re doing, and that really isn’t an option if you’re attempting to keep an appointment with a time critical video call. So if you can’t reboot the computer for one reason or another, we’ll show you another way to quickly fix the error message and get the camera working again on the Mac.

A Quick Fix for Mac Camera Not Working

Fortunately, there is another trick that seems to fix the problem immediately using a command line force quit, and does not require a reboot:

  1. Quit all open apps that may try to use the FaceTime camera
  2. Open Terminal, found in the /Applications/Utilities directory in OS X
  3. Enter the following command strings exactly, then hit return:
  4. sudo killall VDCAssistant

  5. Still at the terminal, issue the following command as well:
  6. sudo killall AppleCameraAssistant

  7. Enter the administrator password when requested, this is required to execute a command with superuser privileges as prefixed by sudo
  8. Relaunch the app that was attempting to use the camera

At this point the front camera should work again as if nothing was ever wrong with it.

For some background as to what’s going on: the VDCAssistant process opens any time an app attempts to use the process. It appears the “camera not found” error message shows up when the VDCAssistant does not properly close when an earlier app used the camera, resulting in the camera staying in use and being blocked by other apps. Accordingly, the above trick found on the Apple Forums kills that stale process so that it can start fresh again with the new app. For those who are not inclined to use the Terminal, you can also forcibly quit the errant VDCAssistant task with Activity Monitor.

If you want to string the two commands together into a single line to fix an unresponsive Mac camera you can do that like so:

sudo killall AppleCameraAssistant;sudo killall VDCAssistant

Again, hit return and enter the admin password when requested.

Fix a Mac Camera not working

This is just one of a variety of problems I ran into while fixing up Macs and gifting tech support to relatives, and though it’s pretty easy to solve once you learn how, it’s important to remember that the average person just has no idea where to turn for issues like this.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that you can also trigger this intentionally if you want to actually disable the built-in hardware camera on Macs, which can be done by moving a system component file that is required by the Camera to another location. That trick basically breaks the camera making it not found and unable to be used, and while that may sound undesirable for most users, some system administrators and those concerned about privacy can find that to be worthwhile.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

76 Comments

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  1. Anne Bingham says:

    I’ve had the same issue with an older MacBook, currently running Snow Leopard. Any way to fix that? I’ll be upgrading to an Air in a few months but it would be nice to get my camera back…

  2. Yakov Fain says:

    This trick didn’t work for me. The VDCAssistant restart itself even if you do a force quit. The iSight camera is still not detectable. MacBook Pro Mac OS 10.9.2

  3. Laurie says:

    ‘No matching processes were found’
    and I went onto activity monitor aswel and it couldn’t find VDCAssistant. Webcam still not working :(

  4. Janny says:

    It didn’t work for me, also get the same error msg “no matching processes were found”. Webcam still not working :(

  5. Janny says:

    Finally it works!!!

  6. Mikaela says:

    It’s not letting me insert my password. It has the part open and ready to type, but when I do type nothing is inputed. What do I do then?

  7. trongtoan88 says:

    camera still not working :)

  8. Gunnar Thiessen says:

    Did not work. Camera still not working, getting the same message in all apps.

  9. Jean-Philippe Jung says:

    Hi,

    I am facing this issue intermittently too.
    First, although it is annoying, you should shutdown your Mac, let it powered off 15 seconds and restart it. Your camera should work out of a cold boot. If not, you likely have other issues.

    I found that closing my opened apps one by one and checking in System Information / System Report if you have a camera listed would do the trick. Every time you close an app, you refresh System Information. When you close the app that was blocking the camera, it will be listed again in System Information.

    So far, it avoids a reboot but this trial and error is really annoying. I found usually a browser keeps my camera locked, I use a lot Google Hangout in Chrome, and Skype (with two logged in accounts).

    Finding this Tip page, I gave it a try and it fixed my issue. I’ll keep monitoring what happens next (as my camera usually disappear at least once a week) and if this tip works every time or not. At least it provides an explanation that is coherent with the symptoms I faced.

    Thanks!

  10. Main Sheet says:

    Don’t forget that if you’re running a hypervisor like VMware Fusion you should check if the hypervisor has ownership of the i-Sight camera.

  11. Carles says:

    It worked for me on a macbook pro 2013 retina.

    Thanks

  12. punk says:

    worked on my macbook air …

  13. Cristina says:

    Thanks for the help! It worked! :)

  14. Sri says:

    It worked great. Thanks for the help!

  15. jay says:

    it won’t let me enter my password what do i do?

  16. jon says:

    worked for me too

  17. colette says:

    Jay: enter your password and hit Return – it captures the password, it just doesn’t display it on the terminal.

    Worked for me too on the first go.

  18. Gabe says:

    This didn’t work. I opened terminal and typed in code exactly. I even copied and pasted it in and I pressed enter and it asked for my admin passwords. I’m the admin. I typed it in right and it didn’t do anything. I tried again and then nothing happened. It says no such file or directory. Then I opened face time and photo booth and they said same thing. I need help. Tell me what to do

  19. Karis says:

    Usually, logging out – command shift Q – and logging back in fixes it with the newer systems.

  20. dani says:

    it doesn’t work, processeces were not found :(

  21. Jiles says:

    Thanks, working now!

  22. Hanna says:

    This did not work for me! When I tried to enter my password on Terminal, it wouldn’t type any words!!! Please help!

  23. dani says:

    It didn’t work for me, also get the same error msg “no matching processes were found”. Webcam still not working

  24. Richard says:

    Entered all the steps above but this is the message displayed:-

    No matching processes were found

    Camera is still not working.

    Help, this is really annoying

  25. andrea says:

    It worked!

  26. Haim says:

    Worked for me, thanks very much.

  27. carter says:

    Updated to yosemite and green light next to camera lens came on and blinks sometimes. I have no camera in system which means no VDC assistant. SMC nor Pram reset nor reload of Yosemite solved anything. I will continue to tell everyone that Apple has a big bite missing and it is called no quality control and no management. Any new Apple product has a bigger bite missing and more worms. Why should a $1500 laptop with a $10 camera work? You have to use your iPhone, your iMac,your macbook, and your iPad in tandem since none of them work as sold by Apple.

  28. Shankar says:

    Worked like a charm, thanks !!

  29. Whitney says:

    Worked on my Macbook Pro 2011 :) Thanks!

  30. Robert says:

    Have had this problem since upgrading to Yosemite. Tried to kill VDC assistant but system says it can’t fid; and cannot find any reference to VDC Assistant in Activity Monitor. Any further help would be appreciated

  31. Chris says:

    Thanks! it works great.

  32. Idong says:

    Works for me. Thanks

  33. Maryrose Lyons says:

    Thank you. And to all the good people like you who share your knowledge in this way.

  34. Sudheer says:

    Thanks. Killing the VDCAssistant process worked

  35. ash says:

    thanks a bunch, this worked perfectly for me!!

    some details.
    i’m on a macbook late 2010 running yosemite.
    i did have to switch to my admin account (i usually work in a separate user account).

  36. Lauren says:

    THANK YOU! This worked for my Macbook Air! :)

  37. Sergio says:

    Hello,

    This is the best solution :

    Open terminal
    Enter this: sudo killall VDCAssistant

    This is your solution. Restart your skype or any app with video

  38. Lotusprins says:

    I was so excited to find this solution, but it didn’t work on my Macbook Unibody (2008). OS X 10.9.5

  39. White Footprints says:

    You’re a lifesaver! Thank you!!!

  40. Katie says:

    Huge thanks for this, it resolved this issue straight away for me and was very much appreciated!! :)

  41. jasmin says:

    It worked! Thankyou!

  42. kiara says:

    what is the administrative password

  43. Sathiya says:

    Cool, this worked! Thanks!!!

  44. Vaishnavi says:

    This trick worked perfectly for me a few months ago. Now I get the same problem reported above: Terminal says, “No matching processes found” after I enter in the password – and the problem remains. How frustrating! It DID work before – so I understand all of you that are thrilled with this fix. But it DOESN’T work TODAY!!! Help!

    • sry says:

      Perhaps you are typing it wrong, check your syntax. If it worked before, as it does work, it will work again. Computers are much more logical than average things, it’s a simple decision in that sense, not much ambiguity.

  45. Bipul says:

    Excellent. Fixed my Facetime in seconds. Thanks a ton.

  46. LadyGwendolyn says:

    Hey guys! For those of you who get to experience the annoying “process not found”, I have advice from another website: try putting your computer to sleep, restarting, and then shutting down for 15 seconds. It worked for my little old leopard > w <

    • elliot says:

      This worked! My camera hasn’t worked for over a year (!!) but entering this command and your trick seems to have fixed it! Thank you! (late 2008 13″ aluminum MacBook, OS 10.8.5)

    • Wen says:

      Thank you so much! I tried everything, I even restored my laptop to factory settings. Nothing worked and I wanted to go to a store tomorrow but then I saw your comment :)

  47. Rumina says:

    Merci!…It works for me.

  48. DJ Mobi says:

    It worked for me. Tried to type the password,which dint appear,then tapped “enter key” and re-opened the camera and vola!

  49. MJ23 says:

    Should this work if I have a webcam that works on mac but I think Is made for PC I get this message but I feel its because the Camera isnt mac compatible to photo booth effects.. Im trying to use my green screen background and I get this message.

  50. MSV says:

    Thanks!! This fixed my problem immediately.

  51. Waqas says:

    Hey guys. I am still getting the msg that camera is not working. When i open the terminal and type in the command of sudo Killall VDCAssistant. It brings up no matching process were found. I tried restating and did the same thing again. It tells me to type in the password, but when i do it does not do anything. No matching process were found. I cannot be typing up the wrong password for sure. Can anyone please help?

  52. sceer says:

    Too bad. Tried everything, Terminal and cold shut down. Still not working. Hoping for a solution, but probably not

  53. repollesmac says:

    sudo killall AppleCameraAssistant;sudo killall VDCAssistant – See more at: http://osxdaily.com/2013/12/27/fix-there-is-no-connected-camera-error-mac/#sthash.HwSTwK3k.dpuf

    This is the message I received when I copied and pasted your text in terminal:
    “WARNING: Improper use of the sudo command could lead to data loss
    or the deletion of important system files. Please double-check your
    typing when using sudo. Type “man sudo” for more information.

    To proceed, enter your password, or type Ctrl-C to abort.” Should I proceed?

    • Noae says:

      The command to use is:

      sudo killall AppleCameraAssistant;sudo killall VDCAssistant

      Use exact syntax at the command line.

      If you don’t know how to use the command line you should skip this and reboot your Mac instead.

  54. amanda says:

    i cant get my camera working i forget my password off my mac book

  55. Shawna says:

    It worked!! Thank you. I was freaking out!

  56. Caroline says:

    Genius! It worked, thanks.

  57. Amit says:

    Thanks. Worked for me.

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