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Apple is always working on improving your security, and each macOS update brings new privacy features. In particular, macOS Catalina offers better control of your data. It requires apps to get your approval before accessing the camera and microphone on your Mac. Every time you open the application for the first time, you’ll need to permit it to use your computer’s camera.

Below we’ll show you how to give camera access for any installed app. Also, you’ll learn how to limit access for programs you suspect might be recording videos without your knowledge. Let’s dive in!

Securing your camera and microphone

By default, the latest macOS versions — macOS Mojave and macOS Catalina — prevent apps from getting your personal data without your permission. That’s why when you open the program that wants to access your hardware, you’ll receive a pop-up. To give access, you just have to click OK. If this is a reliable app from a legitimate developer, you’ll need to confirm once and never think about it again.

If you clicked “Don’t Allow,” you could easily change that later on your Mac. You can check what apps are allowed to use your camera and allow or block access at any time. And here’s how to do that.

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How to manage your camera permissions

Now let’s see a few ways that allow the apps to access your camera. If you’re looking for a simple automated solution, jump straight to the last method.

#1: Use System Preferences

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Follow these steps to give some apps access to your camera:

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Choose System Preferences.
  3. Click Security & Privacy.
  4. Choose Camera from the lefthand menu.
  5. Allow the app to access your camera by ticking the box next to it.

If the application is opened on your Mac, you’ll receive a message asking you to quit it.

Click “Quit Now” and close the System Preferences window.

#2: Use your web browser

Let’s see how to enable camera permissions via Google Chrome.

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Go to the Chrome menu > Preferences.
  1. Choose Advanced > Privacy & Security.
  2. Under Privacy and security, click Site Settings.
  3. Choose Camera.
  4. Click Ask before accessing and adjust the setting to your liking.

The process is similar for all web browsers, so if you’re using Safari or Firefox, you shouldn’t have problems with finding camera permissions settings.

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#3: Use Parental Controls

The parental control feature on Mac also allows you to manage your camera.

  1. Open System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Choose Parental Controls.
  3. Click Enable Parental Controls.
  4. Enter your admin password if you’re asked.
  5. Click on the Apps tab and check Allow use of camera.

If you want to block camera access, uncheck the box. This will prevent all the apps on your Mac from using the built-in cameras.

#4: Use the app CleanMyMac X

We’ve come to the smoothest and the most intuitive way of taking care of your app permissions — with the help of an app called CleanMyMac X.

This program has a lot of useful features, like cleaning your Mac from junk files, speeding up the system, checking your computer for viruses and malware, and much more. Recently a new feature “Application Permissions” was released, and it allows controlling all your permissions, including your camera, in a few clicks. You should check it out!

  1. Download CleanMyMac X (a free trial version is available).
  2. Launch the app.
  3. Go to the Privacy tab.
  4. Click Scan.
  5. Choose “Application Permissions.”
  6. Check what apps have access to your camera and make changes.

Note: This feature is available only on macOS Catalina.

Apple Laptop Camera Filters

Once you’ve solved the issue with your permissions, check out other CleanMyMac’s tools. We recommend you to run a Smart Scan first. It will find unneeded files, determine potential threats, and define suitable speedup tasks for your Mac.

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Then feel free to try other tools in the left panel —you’ll find a lot of useful tools for making your Mac as good as new.

Apple Laptop Camera Cover

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!