How to Activate Your Webcam

Get your built-in or third-party webcam up and running quickly

What to Know

  • To activate your webcam, go to Windows > Settings > Privacy > Camera and select the Change button.
  • Slide the button to the On position to enable your webcam.

This article will explain turning on your built-in webcam or webcam device on a Windows 10 computer.

How Do I Enable My Webcam on Windows 10?

If you find that your webcam isn't turning on or there's an error, you'll want to ensure that your camera is enabled to turn on when using apps. If it's off, this could be why your webcam isn't working.

  1. Go to Windows > Settings > Privacy.

    Windows settings showing the privacy setting
  2. Under App Permissions, select Camera.

    Windows Settings app permissions with Camera highlighted
  3. At the top, you should see whether or not access to your camera device is turned on or off. To change this setting, click on Change and then the slider to enable or disable your webcam.

    Windows app permissions with Camera access toggled on highlighted
  4. Under Allow apps to access your camera, you should have that turned on as well.

Other Ways to See if Your Webcam Is Enabled

If you followed the steps above but still aren't having luck turning on your webcam, there might be something wrong with the camera itself. You'll want to be sure you have the drivers installed for your webcam for it to work correctly.

  1. Go to the Windows Search function and search for Device Manager, then select it.

    Windows search with device manager highlighted
  2. In the window that opens, go to Cameras and then select the camera you're using.

    Windows list of devices with Webcam highlighted
  3. Right-click on the device and select Update Driver.

    Windows settings with Update Driver highlighted
  4. Windows will update the driver for you so that it will continue to work properly.

How Do I Check to See if My Webcam Is Working?

If you aren't sure that your computer's webcam is operating correctly, you'll want to try turning it on yourself to see if there are any issues.

You can do this in a few ways, but the easiest way is to activate your webcam through the built-in Camera app on Windows 10. Using this app should turn your webcam on automatically.

  1. Go to the Windows Search bar in the bottom-left corner of your desktop.

  2. Search for the Camera app and click on it.

    Windows search for camera app
  3. The app will open, and you'll see a notification that your camera has turned on. Your webcam light should also turn on. You'll see the feed from your webcam in a small window.

  • What do I do if my webcam isn't working?

    There are several ways to troubleshoot a webcam that isn't working. Check your antivirus software to see if it's stopping your webcam from launching, and check that all cables are securely fastened. Check the webcam with a different computer, or check the USB port with a different device. Check your webcam settings and drivers, and be sure to consult your manufacturer documentation for guidance.

  • How do I open my laptop's camera?

    If you're using Windows 10, select the Start button, then choose your webcam from the device list.

  • How do I activate my Mac's webcam?

    To use your Mac's built-in camera, open an app with camera access. For example, open an app such as FaceTime, or turn on a feature that uses your Mac's camera. You'll see a green light that indicates your camera has successfully turned on.

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