iSight & Web Camera Problem Solving FAQ

Apple Compatible Webcam Q&A

How Can I Adjust My Mac Webcam's Image Settings?

Not all webcams have the superior light-management like the Logitech and other's high-end webcams. UVC web cameras that DO work on a Mac typically don't come bundled with any OSX webcam software to control or adjust the image brightness or color. And unfortunately, Apple doesn't have a system-level Webcam Preference Pane in OSX. The single best thing you can do that doesn't need any Mac webcam app at all is to improve your room lighting so the camera doesn't have to struggle under inadequate light.

My UVC Web Camera Didn't Come With Any Mac OSX Webcam Software For Image Control.

One Apple compatible webcam effects and image adustment solution is a $20 app called iGlasses from It also provides alot of webcam effects to play with. If your webcam is dark or has color-balance problems, iGlasses can correct and help compensate for many image quality issues. There's several other Mac webcam effects and image apps worth checking out as well, notably Mactaris' Mac webcam app utility downloadable from the Apple App Store.

How Can I Tell If I Have USB 2.0 Speed Ports For Mac Webcams?

Go to Apple Menu > About This Mac. If your processor is a G4 or greater, if it's speed is 867mhz or faster, that's the point where Apple built-in USB 2 speed ports. ALL Intel based Macs have USB 2.0 ports. In Apple System Profiler > USB > Device Tree -- USB 2.0 devices listed need to show "Speed: 480Mb/sec". Old USB 1.1 ports-devices will only show "Speed: 12Mb/sec" as thier maximum bandwidth.

I only have USB 1.1 ports. Will USB 2.0 cams work?

NO. Modern USB 2.0 high-resolution UVC webcams utterly overwhelm USB 1.1 ports which are more than FOURTY TIMES SLOWER. Some cams won't display anything - or if they do you'll find your Frame-Rate is so abysmally low you'll just end up in sluggish, slow-motion frustration. Some USB video devices simply will present an on-screen dialog: "This Device Requires A USB 2.0 Port". Frankly, Macs lacking USB 2.0 ports have hit obsolescence anyways. If webcam chat or capture is important to you, spend your money on a new Mac first.

Is There Mac OSX Software For My Webcam Snapshot Buttons?

No manufacturer I'm aware of provides an OSX app to support buttons atop a webcam. Several companies such as RocketFish, HP, and Microsoft have 1 or more buttons on the camera to save an image snap to disk, send to email, or possibily to a printer. However, only Windows software has ever been written to support them.

iMovie doesn't see my USB Camera! Why?

Ask Apple. iMovie is only designed to work with a Built-In iSight on an iMac or MacBook - or a FireWire DV camera source. Apple intentionally does not allow external USB Mac webcams to be selected as a video source in iMove. The workaround? Try a special hack from Mactaris that allows iMove to 'see' an external 3rd-party web camera. Otherwise you'll simply need to record your video with some other QuickTime compatible video capture app - then bring it into iMovie for editing.

Photobooth ONLY sees my built-in iSight! Now what?

Photobooth can be VERY FINICKY about dealing with multiple cams on a MacBook, iMac or Cinema Display with built-in iSight. Newer versions of PhotoBoooth do allow selecting your camera input choice from the CAMERA menu. With older versions, you CAN use an external UVC cam as it's source *IF* you put the built in iSight 'In Use' first. Launch iChat, open your Video Preview window to put the iSight in-use. You may have to launch, relaunch Photoboth, un-plug, re-plug your external Mac web cam to get Photobooth to recognize it, but it's doable. Usually. Sometimes.

Why Can't I Video Chat In HD Hi-Def High-Resolution?
My Camera Supports More than 320x240 or 640x480 Pixels
Why Can't I Get 30 Frames Per Sec On Everything All The Time?

Simply Put: Your webcam may have a very very hi-res HD sensor. But it's the video capture or chat programs you use often can't take advantage of it. Or it's the fact that you simply CANNOT BLAST 30FPS of High-Definition 720p or 1080p HD image data over a slow DSL or Cable modem connection, Period. Other reasons: Your computer may not be fast enough. Your USB bus may be competing with other devices. You have inadequate, low lighting. Your expectations about webcam frame-rate may not be realistic. There's a reason why almost all video chat/conferencing programs send smaller frames of video at 1/8 or 1/4 screen size: It's all that current affordble consumer technology and home data bandwidth can handle. There's an old saying: You can't fit an elephant in your back pocket.

Can I Use Multiple Web Cameras?

Apple's built-in iSight HD on the iMac, MacBook and Cinema Display line have horribly limited camera angles, so adding an external Mac webcam gives alot more flexibility. Particularly for adult sex web conferencing you want and need moveable, adjustable cameras. Most QuickTime compatible apps allow selecting and switching between multiple video sources on the fly; Nice and Civil to Down 'n' Dirty. FireWire webcams can often be daisy-chained or be shared on a FireWire hub. Selecting which cam to use is done within the programs Video Settings... similar to switching audio input sources between a built-in, external, or a Bluetooth headset.

Can I run multiple Mac video chat apps at once?

It get's complicated. Trying to run PhotoBooth, Skype or iChat and perhaps another video app simultaneously - One app will put your webcam 'in use.' If And When you initiate a video call - the other app(s) can't share that. Sometimes just canceling one app's video call & switching works, sometimes you have to Quit competing video apps and relaunch. Worst case, you just HAVE to restart your Mac to reset everything and use the webcam app of your choice.

How can I find people to video chat with?

Start in your Apple Address Book: Family & friends with, say, or are good candidates for Apple Messages, iChat, for Yahoo Messenger, or for MSN Messenger buddies. Or try a video session with FaceBook friends online. They may or may not actively use chat programs, but at least this is a starting point. Many social networking and adult profile sites often have webcam chat rooms you can join if you so choose.
ISPQ VideoChat is unique in that 1. It's the most fully featured Mac/PC Cross-Platform webchat experience available. 2. It has both G-rated and X-rated rooms to visit, online member status and more. 3. It offers a built-in community you can browse & optionally connect with. Well worth the program's cost after the 21 day free trial. This is video chat done right.
Apple's Messages and iChat for Mac lacks this community. But in addition to the popular Mac video chat apps listed, many Social and Adult webcam chat websites feature video chat integrated into the webpage and list people online. These typically use Adobe's Flash Plug-In to talk to your webcam - so staying current with Adobe Flash Player is wise.

Flash Plug-In won't let me choose alternate USB video sources

If you have more than one USB-based camera, you may need to launch something like FaceTime, Skype or iChat to put a built-in iSight camera 'IN USE' - then launch your other application or video chat website to select your other web camera as it's video source. Flash plugin sees a FireWire DV cam completely separate from USB sources so switching between different TYPES of cameras attached to your Mac is easy within Flash settings.

How can I improve image quality when web camming?

Good webcam lighting is Rule #1 for reducing graininess, improving framerate and image clarity. Having adequate light is essential to a great webchat experience. Soft but adequate incandescent light, ideally from TWO front/side sources gives a far warmer color temp than flourescent. Also having a DIMMER CONTROL can help you fine tune lighting. Avoid bright backlight or windows behind you. Combining both a flourescent and incandescent or halogen light source may give better, more accurate colors. Halogen and incandescent emit alot of infrared light which may make your webcam image too 'warm' and reddish.

You Don't Really Mention Macam Open-Source Webcam Driver

Of the thousand of different old and obsolete webcams that have been manufactured, macamm works with, well, alot of some of them maybe. It has NEVER worked with a single camera I've tried. This site's about webcams that just-work, not those that might or might NOT.

Recommended Mac compatible USB Microphone-Headset Options?

Microphone feedback from a MacBook or iMac can be a real problem when audio conferencing. A good Macintosh option is a Logitech USB Headset - or alternately - the more portable, lightweight Plantronics Digitally-Enhanced USB Headset to have clear, echo-free voice and video chat sessions.

Does Anyone Make A Bluetooth Webcam for Mac or PC?

Years back, Ecamm brifly shipped their BT-1 wireless Bluetooth web camera. Just never seemed to catch on and now discontinued. There were also references to an OPTIeyes Bluetooth streaming webcam out on the internet in both a desktop and pocket mobile model - but only in prototype stage and not on the market. How, When and IF it could work with Mac video chat apps or the hacks required unknown. Bluetooth just lacks sufficient speed or bandwith to be really 'right' for video chat and capture anyways.

Can I use my DV Camcorder for videoconferencing instead?

YES! -- IF your DV camcorder uses FireWire, it will show up as totally separate "IIDC" video source. This can help alot if you run multiple video-capable apps at once; i.e. iChat w/a USB cam AND running ISPQ using FireWire as its cam source. Otherwise many newer camcorders are using USB 2.0 (which is unfortunate in some aspects) and cannot be used as a webcam. Two caveats: 1. Unless you're actively recording to tape - many DV cams want to shut down after a few minutes to go into sleep mode! If so, try this:
1. Remove any videotapes in camcorder.
2. Remove memory sticks, cards, other media.
3. Power off the camcorder.
4. Remove the battery.
5. Plug in the camcorder AC adapter.
6. Power on the camcorder.
You may or may not be able to override this setting via the camcorder's menus. Also Motorized auto-focus may be problematic. If you're overly active & animated during a video chat, at close-range it may have a hard time keeping up with focus. Sometimes the simple fixed-focus or adjustable lens of most USB chat cams can be an advantage.

Can I Use My Mac For WiFi Security-Surveillance Camera Use?

Surviellence security systems for Mac OSX can be as simple as using any built-in, USB webcam, ethernet networked camera, or Wireless IP webcam along with great software like Evocam, SecuritySpy, or ImageCaster. An interesting iPhone - iPod Touch - iPad webcam app available at the iTunes app store is the Senstic Air Cam live video remote webcam monitoring iOS app. Use any known recommended webcam for Mac running Mojave, Sierra, OSX Yosemite, Mavericks, Lion, Tiger, or Leopard - or Windows - and Air Cam lets you view live video feeds from your computer's built-in or external webcam directly on your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch using your home Wi-Fi networks. Need a pet, security or baby monitor? Set up your iSight or external Mac webcam in the area and remotely check up on your baby or pets with your iPhone/iPod Touch without stepping into the room. You can even turn Air Cam into a low-cost, affordable Mac security camera solution. Simply point your webcam to the location you want to monitor, and receive the live video feed remotely on your iPad, iPhone, or video iPod Touch.

Can an A/B Box Switch Multiple USB Cameras On The Fly?

No. Apps and Mac OSX just couldn't deal with real-time hardware switching. Better to have multiple USB cams on a hub, and use the video program to change camera input sources if possible. Some XXX adult sex-cam folk would love the option of multiple webcam, uh, positions. But the need to do this is useful for Security-Monitoring systems. Often multi-web-cam surveilance setups use WiFi Wireless 802.11 cameras - switching video cams is easy and painless thru software because each camera has a unique IP address. is the place to look for Mac surveillance and wireless cam info. Their EvoCam Mac software is well written and even supports Pan-Tilt-Zoom for, say Panasonic's great line of WiFi and Ethernet security cams.