How Can You Block Your MacBook Webcam Without External Covers?

Covering your webcam with tape certainly protects your privacy if you don’t mind a sticky residue on the camera during a video meeting. While aftermarket webcam covers have become a popular way to block unauthorized access, many are too thick and can damage the display when you close the laptop.

The team at Las Vegas’ Network Security Associates offers a better way to block your camera.

Why Do You Need to Block Your Camera?

Although Apple has a great reputation for security, hackers have exploited weaknesses in Apple’s Safari web browser in recent years. Unless you’re currently using your webcam, it’s a good idea to keep it covered. Unfortunately, the news is full of stories about hackers taking over webcams on unprotected MacBooks.

What Advice Does Apple Offer to Protect Your Privacy?

Apple warns customers that the low clearance between the keyboard and display makes it difficult to find a camera cover thin enough to prevent display damage. The excess pressure on the screen often causes cracks.

Instead, Apple advises users to check for the green light indicating the webcam is on. Camera covers, according to Apple, also interfere with features that rely on the camera, such as automatic brightness adjustments. MacBook Pro supposedly has a hardwired feature that disables the camera if the green light isn’t on.

However, cautious users may want a foolproof solution that doesn’t damage their laptops.

Is There Software That Protects the MacBook Camera Against Hackers?

Mac malware often records audio and video sessions and goes undetected. OverSight is a free app you can download for macOS devices. It monitors activity on your mic and camera, revealing what processes access these components. The app even monitors the intentional use of the camera or mic to detect background snooping.

OverSight lets you choose to block or allow the process to continue to prevent someone from hijacking your hardware. This prevents processes from piggybacking on your legitimate camera use. The app is free and simple to use, but it’s not perfect. More advanced malware may remain undetected.

You can download OverSight here. Be sure to review the information on the site to ensure you’re comfortable with giving a third-party process access to your hardware.

Can You Make Your Own MacBook Webcam Cover?

There’s one low-tech solution that won’t damage your MacBook or your budget. Instead of using tape alone, use a strip of thin tape with a small piece of paper to cover the camera. Accessories made of plastic and other hard material can damage your laptop. However, a piece of tape with a sliver of paper can block the camera without distracting you as you work.

For the really cautious, small sticky notes or paper can be bent over the laptop lid to cover the camera and removed after each use so they can’t interfere with closing your MacBook. If you’d like to take your chances on an external hardcover, there’s no need to buy one. There are plenty of hacks on YouTube for fashioning them out of everything from a paperclip to Washi tape.

Combining the software security of OverSight with a soft external cover can provide two layers of security to help you protect your privacy from the most dedicated hacker. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice, and many users choose to take their chances and leave their webcam unguarded. This isn’t the best strategy if you set your camera up anywhere your kids or spouse congregate and may end up on a hacker’s video feed.