How to completely disable iSight / camera sensor

Discussion in 'macOS' started by fessen, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. fessen macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    #1
    How can you completely disable the camera sensor, short of painting over the lens area or covering it with tape?

    I have a MacBook Pro running OS X Snow Leopard, but I imagine similar techniques should apply with other Mac laptops and other versions of OS X.

    I tried the following
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=17847693#post17847693

    And I thought it worked, as it is no longer possible to take pictures with the camera.

    However, the camera sensor is still active -- since the keyboard backlight still turns on when the room is dark and turns off when ambient lighting is high.

    Is there a way to reversibly turn the sensor completely off?
     
  2. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #2
    In some situations, the easier answer may be the best answer.

    Would black electrical tape do the trick?
     
  3. revbarabbas macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    #3
    The light sensor is not the same as the camera, it's located in a similar spot and part of the same device unit though. May I ask what you are trying to accomplish?

    Keep the keyboard dark/illuminated?

    Make sure the camera cannot be accessed remotely?

    To completely remove power from the device you would need to remove the glass, remove the camera/sensor array, and replace the glass...but this is not the best of ideas without specific tools, and the circuit path to the bluetooth module would be disrupted and you'd lose that functionality.
     
  4. Ragnar-Kon macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    #4
    This.

    Unless Apple has changed that recently.
     
  5. fessen thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    #5
    Ah, yes. Now I see. The ambient light sensor is just to the left of the camera lens opening. Thanks for the info.

    Yes, I am paranoid and don't like the idea of the camera being used by a hacker or someone else up to no good.
     
  6. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    #6
    I seem to recall an interlock where the camera can't be on without the green LED also being on.
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    If you want to keep the NSA out, use some black tape.

    Simple, quick, easy.
     
  8. fessen thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    #8
    I'd rather not get the adhesive on the screen.

    ----------

    Seems too iffy.
    And what if, for whatever reason, the LED burns out or otherwise fails -- would the camera be forced out of commission as well?
     
  9. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #9
    It's glass, any adhesive would come off easily.

    You might also consider a drop or two of black paint. That will hang onto the glass quite well but also scrape right off if/when you no longer want it.
     
  10. Linuxpro, May 13, 2015
    Last edited: May 14, 2015

    Linuxpro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Singapore
    #10
    Problem solved! (Smile, and permanent) Any more questions? :D
     

    Attached Files:

  11. ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2014
    #11
    If the government really wanted to spy on you, they would use more than one means to obtain data (gps locator on your car, public view, tracking phone records, friends, relatives, employers, etc.).
     
  12. Linuxpro, May 13, 2015
    Last edited: May 15, 2015

    Linuxpro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Singapore
    #12
    Realistically it is 1000% more likely that anyone hacking the camera is a guy working from his home. I am not a person of interest to the government. Only a person with a guiltily conscious would think that way.

    I am not leaving a potential "window" open for some overweight 17 year old to enjoy watching my wife get dressed. She is thin, brown and Asian. She looks 28. Such is "candy" to young men in America who have to look at overweight women every day.

    I do not use the camera, and never will have a need for it. Why leave the "window" open, when I can close it for the cost of a silver color paint marker? Integrated cameras are the proverbial solution looking for a problem to solve. :eek:
     
  13. osxsecurity.org macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    #13
    OP check out iSightDefender. It's a github program that's works for 2007 or 2008 MacBooks. Maybe that might work on yours.
     
  14. Linuxpro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Singapore
    #14
    I found that the paint pen also can cover over the two microphone holes on the 11" MacBook Air. I can turn up th mic gain all the way, and it picks up almost nothing at all. It does hear me tapping on the case.

    I tested a USB camera with a microphone. It works as expected.

    I am now have a safely "neutered" MacBook Air.
     
  15. saudor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    #15
    You should do the same to your iPhone and iPad just in case haha
     
  16. Linuxpro, May 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015

    Linuxpro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2015
    Location:
    Singapore
    #16
    What a cute idea. Not! :eek:

    Actually, I did so on my iPad because I have no need for a camera, or for Siri.

    I actually use the forward facing camera on my iPhone.

    I own three phones. My iPhone 6 has my Singapore SIM. My Samsung GN has a USA SIM. My cheap o Samsung, I use in Malaysia, and China. A lot of the facilities do not allow cameras. I neutered phone, and filled in the holes with clear epoxi. That way I can still get email, and calls when needed.

    Furthermore the painted over lens meets ISO 27001.

    :apple:
     
  17. fessen thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    #17
    Hmm. Seems plenty of the folks who ought to know a thing or two about this kind of stuff do use tape.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/23/t...laptop-camera-you-should-consider-it-too.html
     

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