How To Disable Webcam on macOS Catalina

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Before the macOS update 10.15.1 or “Catalina”, disabling the web camera on a Mac was pretty straightforward. Disable SIP, change some perms or delete some files/folders, reboot and enable SIP again. Now, it’s a little more complex. When you upgraded to Catalina, it created an entirely new read-only volume where Catalina runs. Read more about it here. The fine team @Ockom_Labs have written a quick tutorial on how to disable the AppleCamera for macOS Catalina:

1. Reboot into macOS Recovery (the not BIOS?)

  • Reboot hold Command-R (⌘-R)
  • Select your account
  • Click next (yes, enter doesn’t work)
  • Enter your password
Copyright Apple

2. Disable SIP

  • Select “Terminal” from the “Utilities” menu.
  • Type the following and hit enter:
csrutil disable
  • Reboot your Mac

3. Mount Filesystem as Writable

  • Type the following and hit enter:
sudo mount -uw /
  • You will notice that your filesystem accessibility might be broken now, so reboot to revert the effects (which you’ll do to enable SIP again anyway)

4. Start Disabling and Deleting the NSA SpyApp (i.e. disable AppleCamera)

  • Once logged in (obviously), open up a terminal
  • Elevate to root:
sudo su
  • Type either (or both) of the following blindly with no prior research as to whether it is the correct commands, putting full trust in Ockom Labs:
chmod a-r /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreMediaIO.framework/Versions/A/Resources/VDC.plugin/Contents/MacOS/VDCrm -R /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreMediaIO.framework/Versions/A/Resources/VDC.plugin/Contents/MacOS/VDC
  • If you want to be really sure about making sure you’ve removed AppleCamera. Type the following:
rm -R /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreMediaIO.framework/Versions/A/Resources/AppleCamera.plugin/

5. Enable SIP

  • Follow Step 1 above to reboot into macOS recovery
  • Select “Terminal” from the “Utilities” menu
  • Type the following and hit enter:
csrutil enable
  • Reboot your Mac

Remember, you can check the status of SIP anytime by opening a terminal and typing:

csrutil status
Photo by Daniel Korpai on Unsplash

You should now find that any app trying to use the camera app will say that there is “no camera detected”. Congratulations, no more duct-tape over the camera. Although just to be safe, we’d recommend a camera cover anyway. Rebooting should have fixed your remounting the read-only filesystem too. If it doesn’t, well…good luck.

Looking for more info on cybersecurity? Read Ockom’s blog here: stdout.ockom.io or check out our website: ockom.io

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