Justin Duke

Detecting new webcams without restarting on Mac

Okay, this is a small and trivial post for a small and trivial issue.

If you are like me, you have:

  • The built-in webcam in your MacBook
  • A better, external webcam on top of your external monitor.

The problem is that when you plug in that second one (which I have to do a couple times a day, because my laptop rarely stays plugged into all of its peripherals), the laptop can’t recognize it without restarting.

And I hate restarting my laptop.

So here’s what you do:

First, you open Terminal.

Second, you type the two magic lines (hitting enter and possibly filling out your password after each one):

sudo killall VDCAssistant
sudo killall AppleCameraAssistant

Voilà!

This kills the builtin webcam processes running on macOS, forcing the computer to restart them (and picking up the new devices in the process!)

You might have to relaunch the tab or application that was using the webcam, but that’s it.

I hope this saves you a couple minutes of annoyance: it certainly has for me.

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