How to Test a Webcam and Take Webcam Pictures

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

A webcam is essentially any camera that's connected to a web-enabled device, such as your laptop or desktop computer. While they can be used to snap photographs, they're used most commonly for online video calls. To ensure a webcam is working properly before a video call, it's a good idea to test it.

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

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.

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,, and (others can be found by searching "webcam test" online).

We'll use 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 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.

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

How to Take Pictures With Webcam

Taking webcam selfies and other webcam pictures is simple.

Take Webcam Pictures on Mac

Assuming that you're using a Mac, do the following:

  1. Click the Finder icon on the Dock bar.

  2. Click on Applications in the list of options that appear.

  3. In the Applications folder, click Photo Booth.

  4. Pose for the camera, and then click the red Camera icon at the bottom of the Photo Booth window.

    Camera icon in Photo booth on Mac

In the case of macOS, photos will need to be manually exported to a folder, such as Documents.

Take Webcam Pictures on Windows

And with Windows, you need to go through the process below:

  1. Click the Cortana search box on the Window's 10 taskbar.

  2. Type Camera into the search box.

  3. Get your pose ready, and then click the Photo button on the right-hand side of the app's screen. Photos you take will be saved under the C:\Users\[Your User Name]\Pictures\Camera Roll file path.

Windows users can change their settings on the Camera app by clicking the arrow (>) button in the top-middle of the app's screen.