How to Test a Webcam

Be sure your webcam is working properly so it's ready when you need it

What to Know

  • Checking a webcam before a video call can confirm that others can see you and that your background looks decent.
  • There are tons of free webcam test sites on the internet that can be used for both Mac and Windows computers.
  • Before you test, be sure the lens cover is off so the camera can see you and that any external webcams are properly connected to the computer.

This article explains how to test a Mac or Windows webcam both online and offline as well as with Skype.

How to Test My Webcam (Online)

Regardless of whether you have a Windows machine or a Mac, webcam tests are easy. One simple option is simply to use one of the many free online webcam test sites available on the web. These include webcammictest.com, turncameraon.com, and webcamtests.com (others can be found by searching "webcam test" online).

We'll use webcammictest.com for the purposes of the following step-by-step process, although online webcam tests are generally identical irrespective of the site you use.

  1. Open your web browser.

  2. Type webcammictest.com into your browser's address bar.

  3. Click the Check My Webcam button on the website's landing page.

    Check My Webcam button
  4. When the pop-up permission box appears, click Allow.

  5. Your webcam's feed should then appear in the black box on the right-hand side of the page, indicating that the camera is working. If you're using an external webcam connected via USB — and if no image appears after completing the webcam test — then you should try disconnecting and reconnecting it.

If you're buying a new webcam, look for one with good frame rates and high-resolution capabilities.

How to Test My Webcam (Offline)

Some people may not be too comfortable with online webcam tests, not least because some of the above webcam test sites state that users 'may be recorded' if they grant access to their webcams. Fortunately, they can use their computers' operating systems to test their webcams.

Test Webcam on Mac

  1. Click the Finder icon on the Dock bar.

    Finder icon in macOS Dock
  2. Click on Applications in the list of options that appear.

    Applications button in Finder
  3. In the Applications folder, click Photo Booth, which will bring up your web camera's feed.

    Photo Booth in Applications folder

    If you have an external webcam (in addition to the Mac's built-in one), you may need to select it from the Photo Booth app's drop-down menu. To do this you should drag your mouse cursor to the Photo Booth menu bar at the top of the screen and click Camera.

Test Webcam on Windows

If you're a Windows 10 user, select the Cortana search box on the Window's 10 taskbar, then type Camera into the search box. The Camera app may ask for your permission to access the webcam before it displays the camera's feed.

How to Test My Webcam (Skype)

One other popular way of testing a webcam involves using one of the many apps that can use it. For the purposes of this example, we'll use Skype, but other apps can be used, such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Facebook Messenger.

Here's the process for Mac and Windows:

  1. Mac/Windows: launch Skype.

    Skype icon on macOS
  2. Mac: Click the Skype button in the app's menu bar at the top of the screen. Windows: Click the Tools button on Skype's menu bar.

  3. Select Preferences (Mac), or Options (Windows).

    Skype Preferences menu item for macOS
  4. Click Audio/Video (Mac) or Video Settings (Windows).

    Audio/Video icon on macOS version of Skype

Where Is the Webcam?

Most laptops and notebook computers have webcams, but we often don't use them as much as we could. Most often, they'll be built into your device (especially if it's a laptop or notebook), visible only as a small, circular lens that sits just above your device's screen or monitor. However, they can also be purchased separately and connected via USB to your computer.