We have iMacs that we use as industrial control computers, and we connect FireWire cameras into them via Thunderbolt adapters. On previous OS X versions, we would have to go into the preferences for iChat / Messages and prevent them from automatically launching when these cameras were connected, to make sure those applications didn't mess with our own video software.

However, on Mavericks these preferences have disappeared, apparently because now FaceTime is the application that automatically launches when an external FireWire camera is plugged in.

FaceTime seems to lack any formal exposed preferences, so is there another way to disable the automatic launching of this application on the connection of an external camera (a preference setting written at the terminal, etc.)? If so, how would we do this?

  • Can you just turn FaceTime off? Launch FaceTime and go to FaceTime > Turn FaceTime Off. I'd imagine if it's not on, then it wouldn't launch automatically then either...
    – daGUY
    Mar 8, 2014 at 1:24
  • @daGUY - FaceTime is off, which appears to be the default, and I have no user account assigned to the computer. It seems to launch anyways once a FireWire camera is plugged in. Mar 10, 2014 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


You can control which applications automatically open after attaching a camera to your Mac using the native Mac application, Image Capture. Try plugging in you camera and then launching Image Capture. If the camera is recognized by the app, there will be a drop down menu visible in the bottom left-hand corner of the app. Click the drop down menu to choose which application to automatically open when the camera is attached (in your case, choose "No Application").

If for some reason Image Capture does not recognize your camera, the drop down menu will not be visible. In that case, I'm not sure how to fix your problem. enter image description here

  • 2
    Unfortunately, FireWire video cameras are not recognized as imaging sources, so Image Capture doesn't pick them up. As a result, you can't use Image Capture to prevent FaceTime from accessing this video camera. Mar 10, 2014 at 14:23
  • brad did you find an solution to this problem. i have the same problem.
    – Alaska Man
    Sep 19, 2016 at 13:50

The only solution that I found is to backup and then remove Facetime.app completely

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