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

Dec 27, 2013 - 54 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 with almost any app that wants to use the front camera. It looks 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.

It’s worth mentioning that you can often fix the error by simply rebooting the Mac. 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. 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 string exactly, then hit return:
  4. sudo killall VDCAssistant

  5. Enter the administrator password when requested, this is required to execute a command with superuser privileges as prefixed by sudo
  6. 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.

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


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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:


    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.


  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.


  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:


    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

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