How To: Fix the “No iSight Camera Detected” error message on your MacBook

MacBook No Camera error iChat

In my continuing quest to offer obscure tech tips that will probably only help one other person in the world, today I’d like to tell you how to fix the “No camera detected” or “Cannot find iSight Camera” message I suddenly got today. I say “today”, but really I use the video chat feature so rarely on my late 2008 MacBook Pro that for all I know it hasn’t been working since I upgraded to Lion last year. But anyway, the gist of it is iChat, Photo Booth, and QuickTime all for some reason did not see my iSight camera. The audio for the camera seemed to work fine, but the green light would not light, and depending on the application, the error message ranged from “The iSight camera is in use by another application” to “There is no camera connected”.

MacBook No Camera error Photo Booth

MacBook No Camera error QuickTime

The fix, it turns out, was relatively simple. All you need to do is reset your SMC. What’s an SMC? It’s the “System Management Controller” in all Macs, and it controls a lot of the little hardware things that can go wrong in your Mac, like the fans running too hard, or maybe the backlight keyboard not working, and, apparently, your MacBook forgetting it has a built-in iSight camera. Just for fun, Apple made the process of resetting the SMC different for each Mac, but in general it all comes down to unplugging your machine from a power source for a certain amount of time, sometimes holding in the power button when the computer is turned off, etc. You can find instructions for resetting the SMC on your specific Mac here, but in my case I lucked out as I have the last MacBook with a removable battery – so all I had to do was shut down my laptop, remove the battery, count to 20, spin around, put the battery back and power it back up. BOOM. Camera works fine. And, it could be my imagination, but the computer is running a bit cooler as well despite my fan running quieter. So it’s probably a good idea to reset your SMC a couple times a year as part of your regular system maintenance. Give it a try, and let me know in the comments if you’re the one other person on the planet this tip helps.

57 Responses to “How To: Fix the “No iSight Camera Detected” error message on your MacBook”
  1. Eve says:

    Thanks! I also have a removable battery and this worked perfectly!

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