Saturday, October 1

How to fix “No camera available” error on MacOS

Fortunately, it’s rare to get a fatal error on macOS without the user doing something to cause it. macOS has been polished and refined to leave such trivia behind most of the time. However, it is not without its small weaknesses and the “No camera available” error seems like a common error in macOS. This tutorial will show you how to fix it.

Most of the time you see the “No camera available” error during or at the end of a video or FaceTime call. One minute the camera is working normally and the next you get an error telling you that the camera you were using just fine a second ago is suddenly unavailable. So what can you do about it?

You have a few options.

Basic Troubleshooting

Before we delve into more complex solutions, let’s first review some of the basic troubleshooting steps you can take to quickly fix the most common problems.

Restart your Mac

To get started, you need to restart your computer. A simple reboot fixes most glitches, so we’ll start there. In the upper left corner of your Mac, click the apple icon. Then click on ‘Restart’.

You can also restart the app, of course.

Exit other applications

If a restart didn’t fix the problem, you can quit other apps. The reason we take this step below is that your camera may be in use with another app (or so you think). Of course, if you don’t know what program is running, follow these steps first:

Use the keyboard command Command + Space to open your Mac’s Spotlight feature. Then type ‘Activity Monitor’. This will take you directly to Activity Monitor where you will see a list of all available programs.

Scroll through the list under the ‘Energy’ tab. Any program with a small arrow to the left is currently running.

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For example, if your camera isn’t working with Zoom but you see FaceTime running, that may be your problem. Of course, you can just click the ‘X’ in the top left corner of the app to close it. But you may need to force close the app. To force quit an app, click the Apple icon and click ‘Force Quit’.

Select the app from the list and click ‘Force Quit’ again.

Check your camera permissions on Mac

Lastly, you need to verify that the camera has permission to operate with the app you are trying to use. Of course, these instructions only apply to those who have camera problems with a single app.

Open System Preferences on your Mac (click the Apple icon followed by ‘System Preferences’). Then click on ‘Security and Privacy’.

Click on the ‘Privacy’ tab and then click on ‘Camera’ in the menu on the left side. Check that the app you are trying to use has a blue checkmark next to it. Otherwise, click the lock icon in the lower left corner, enter your Mac password, then click the checkbox next to the app you’re trying to use.

If you’re still having trouble, keep reading. In the next section, we’ll cover more detailed solutions to your camera problems.

Fix “No camera available” error on MacOS

The first thing to try with any computer problem is to restart. It works on Windows, macOS, and Linux and should always be the first thing you try when you run into a problem. You don’t have to do anything special, just restart your computer in the usual way and see if the camera works.

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A reboot forces the computer to remove cached instructions and reload the default operating system code. If there’s a corruption with that cached code, like a changed configuration that isn’t supported, a memory leak that registered an instruction incorrectly, or something else entirely, a reset updates that cache with system defaults. This is usually enough to correct an error.

If that doesn’t work, there are a couple of specific fixes for this bug.

Force close AppleCameraAssistant and VDCAssistant

AppleCameraAssistant and VDCAssistant are processes that support the camera within MacOS. If you can’t restart or you’ve already tried and you’re still seeing the “No Camera Available” error, here’s what to try next.

  1. Close any app that uses the camera.
  2. Open Terminal on your Mac.
  3. Type or paste ‘sudo killall AppleCameraAssistant’ and press enter.
  4. Type or paste ‘sudo killall VDCAssistant’ and press Enter.

Once that’s done, you can reload FaceTime, Skype, or whatever you use to make a video call and retest. While both of these processes are reset by a reboot, for some reason forcing them to quit works when rebooting doesn’t always work. It’s a strange situation, but there you have it.

According to Apple, if the VDCAssistant process does not fully release the application that last used the camera, neither AppleCameraAssistant nor VDCAssistant will be able to use the camera the next time. Force closing both processes frees them to grab the camera again and it should work normally.

Apparently you can use ‘sudo killall AppleCameraAssistant;sudo killall VDCAssistant’ in a single command to accomplish the same thing.

Run an update to avoid the “No camera available” error

At the time of writing, there is no specific fix for this bug, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future. If stopping the two processes does not fix the problem or it continues to appear, check for OS or application updates regularly in hopes of finding a solution.

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Apple devices update themselves, but that system isn’t always foolproof. Occasionally, there will be App Store updates waiting to be installed, so make a habit of checking for them regularly. Select the Apple menu icon at the top left of macOS and select App Store. There may or may not already be an update notification.


Resetting NVRAM is the nuclear option and should only be used as a last resort. If your camera keeps crashing and getting troublesome, you can try this reset to get it back on track.

NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory) is like the BIOS in Windows. It’s a place where the system stores many-core settings that are read when your Mac starts up. That will include screen resolution, startup disk location, time zone, audio settings, and many others.

Resetting NVRAM will erase any settings you’ve made on your Mac, so only do this if you can’t live with the error.

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Turn it on and immediately hold down Open, Command, P and R.
  3. Hold down these four keys for about 20 seconds or until you hear the startup sound, then release.
  4. Navigate to System Preferences to reset any of your customizations.

Your Mac should start normally after resetting NVRAM, but you may need to reset your time zone or other things that have changed. That is why this process is the last resort!

Do you know of any other ways to fix “No camera available” error on MacOS? Let us know below if you do!

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