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Fix iSight cameras that show only a black picture in Photobooth

Fix iSight cameras that only show a black picture in Photobooth

Occasionally, owners of Macs with Apple’s built-in iSight webcams may experience an issue that causes only a solid black picture to be displayed. No need to worry, it’s most likely not permanent.

A few days ago I received a call from a friend of mine who was running into a puzzling issue with his new MacBook that was preventing him from using the iSight camera in Photobooth and iChat. While it worked earlier in the day, it was now just showing a blank, all black screen. A few expletives later, I suggested the most basic troubleshooting measure — restarting the system. This simple tip usually resolves a good chunk of weird bugs like this, but not in this case.

The next thing we tried, however, did bring back full functionality of the camera. It’s a very simple fix that will only take a minute or two:

1.) Shut down the system completely, remove the battery, and disconnect the power adapter.
2.) Press and hold the power button on the laptop for a few seconds. This drains all the power lingering in your Mac.
3.) Re-insert the battery and power adapter (if you were using it before), and turn your Mac back on as your normally would.

This quick three-step process should get your iSight camera working again. If not, you may have a more serious problem that needs to be addressed by an Apple certified technician.

6 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

wow this actually worked!!! I’m so glad that it wasn’t a real problem…. I just got this a week ago, so I didn’t think it could have been a real problem…

Omg, thank God, I thought this was a serious problem.
I tried the on-off method ten times!

I thought it was a serious problem too that included a trip to the apple store, thank goodness I came across this. It really worked, yay!

Remove the battery? Imac G5. Any ideas?
Isight works with skype and quicktime but doesn’t with photobooth.

I tried doing this before, nothing worked resetting everything. It still doesn’t work.

I have the same problem to only on my 20″ Duo Core Intel iMac. None of the above has fixed it. Any other tips?