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Old Sep 12, 2009, 05:00 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: New York, NY (Chelsea)
How to activate iSight Camera Stealth


I have a somewhat controversial question: I just purchased a new MacBook Air and I would like to know if there is anyway I can activate the iSight Camera in stealth without the user knowing?

The reason i am asking is in the event of my MBA getting stolen, I can snap a shot of the thief. I know I can activate Screen Sharing on the MBA but in this scenario, it seems rather limited and obvious if I am taking over the MBA.

Thank you.
Work: MacBook Air
Work: Mac Pro 2.8
Antique: iBook G3 Graphite :
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Old Sep 12, 2009, 05:20 PM   #2
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Location: Europe

I had troubles setting this up though
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Old Sep 12, 2009, 05:51 PM   #3
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An option would be to get Orbicule's Undercover app. (They have two versions; one for MacOS X and one for the iPhone.)

I have and use both apps. Seems solid. No affiliation with them other than as a satisfied customer. I first read about them when seeing them mentioned in a comment at another site so I investigated further.

Of course, this costs $49 so if you can make free alternatives work, that's cool, too. The app automatically sends out IP address whenever connecting to the Internet to their servers so if you report it stolen, they have IPs and date/times ready -- and also can then use that info to connect to the Mac and have it grab screenshots that it uploads without needing you to risk scaring them off during a Sharing session.

Hopefully I won't ever actually need it.
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Old Jan 4, 2010, 09:52 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Due to security Mac has put into place, the only way to capture images is from the process ID of the person logged in. Here is a script I put together to accomplish it through an ssh connection. Of course you can tie it to cron, or even an -exec() statement, but you get the point.

Just copy and paste it as capture.sh, and run 'chmod 700 capture.sh' to make the script executable in a terminal, then run ./capture.sh. WaLa, you can capture images from a remote login.


# Get process ID of current logged in user and pass it 
# to the variable ${psID}.

psID=`ps -ax | grep loginwindow -m1 | cut -d" " -f4`

# Now we execute isightcapture using their process ID and save the images
# in png file format.

sudo launchctl bsexec ${psID} /bin/isightcapture -t png image`date +\%s`.png

Yes, I know this is an old thread, but thought I would share anyway

Last edited by UnixNut; Jan 4, 2010 at 10:02 PM.
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